Five very rich people die during a recreational outing to see the Titanic. The world wrings its hands.
Hundreds die in the Mediterranean while trying to escape crushing poverty. The world shrugs.
Both happened in the same week, maybe on the same day. But only the billionaires merited sustained news coverage and endless analysis. The lesson is that rich folks seeking adventure are interesting, and poor people seeking sustenance are not.
Most Republicans would say the world is better off without immigrants. If the Rio Grande were an ocean, they’d be lustily cheering for rough seas every day of the year, rejoicing at every life lost. Because that is the GOP brand: fetuses matter, people already born not so much.
I would say the world might not miss a couple of billionaires – the sort of people who come to believe that extreme wealth confers immunity to extreme bad judgment. Billionaires think themselves gods. Gods think themselves immortal, and are always surprised when events prove otherwise.
I don’t rejoice in anyone’s death. But maybe we should reflect on the disparate motives that doomed a few of the very rich, and hundreds of the very poor in the same week. When I’m doling out sympathy, it’s not a hard choice.