This afternoon I had a passing thought that struck me about the paradox of American democracy as we go through the melodrama of red and blue states. It is how identity politics and class warfare, two social phenomenon that I find particularly nauseating, are both the inevitable result of democracy and inimical to American exceptionalism.
What I perceive about class in America is that it is moving from the uncomfortable zone of the Obama rhetoric towards something more entrenched. Not me. I have too much class to go in for that class warfare stuff. I'm more about class prerogatives and measured expectations. The way I've described it before is that class is the thing we really want when we finally realize how unforgiving a true meritocracy is.
The problem with class warfare in America is not that America is a classless society. It is not a classless society and never was. But America has been a transparent and open society with some shared sense of destiny. Americans still have that sense, but it is being tried. I am watching with interest as the truth of class differences and interests keeps getting reiterated for the purposes of warfare in our public life. I look at America as the place where you can take your family to Morton's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills for Dad's birthday and hey look that's Ben Stein over there at the bar. And on any day there are probably a couple millionaires right there at Morton's and everybody is cool with that. They're not trying to hide away from you and you're not trying to hide away from them. America is ideally like that restaurant. No matter how rich you are, you can trust the waiter with your credit card.
But is that continuing to be the case? Have we really started to bend that sociability to the breaking point? I think that in the main, we have. And I think it is the fault of nasty self-righteous new money bastards. In other words, an improper elite who have taken a bit too much upon themselves. But here's the thing. The more that certain opportunists exploit class differences, the more it accellerates the bastardization of the elites. It's getting to the point at which the upper middle class has to ask itself seriously if putting up with the abuse is worth it. It is also the fault of shameless lazy chav bastards. And you can witness all of their Snoop Dogg shenanigans on any cable network because the cable networks are owned by nasty self-righteous new money bastards. In other words, one set of bastards is pissing off another set, and they're all taking our society down the tubes because genuine ambition is getting a bad name. Sellouts and shoppers. Everybody has an exit strategy.
I think I have depressed myself by writing this and I don't want to any longer. I'll take up the balance on another day.