The Underclass

I just got a taste of my own medicine. Now, I’m not saying I’ve not had a great deal of privilege in my life, because I have. I’m male. I’m white. I live in one of the more developed and progressive countries in the world. I’ve had a relatively comfortable life that has included more than it’s share of education and opportunities. And I have a lot to be grateful and hopeful for. But I’m also not a member of the ruling class, the 1%, the royalty of yesterday and, if history is any guide, the foreseeable future. Today, however, I was talked down to by someone who is a member of that exclusive club. And it wasn’t pleasant, I’ll say that much. If nothing else, I might understand now, better than ever, the vitriol people have long felt for the elite. Orders so often come from on high, an ivory tower bellowing out what one should and shouldn’t do, say, feel, react, believe in, etc. The fact that these orders make perfect sense, are backed up by facts and norms, and have the intent of making the world a better place, wears thin, if and when, time after time, one feels they are being talked down to. I get it now.

As a well educated, well-intentioned, well-to-do, person, the media and news loudspeakers of the coastal elites have long been a welcome salve for some of the more regressive movements sprouting up over the last six or so years. But what of those people who may not be so well-to-do or well educated? What about those who don’t share in my good fortune? Might they’ve been feeling what I felt today when day after day after day, most MSM news outlets call out their leaders for their falsehoods or mistakes, while championing movements that run counter to the world they seek to preserve? These people, the ones not like me, are probably sick of being told how to feel, think, and act. And can anyone blame them?

Let’s just think about how we’ve been feeling over the past three months. It’s like twenty flamethrowers filled with whatever substance resides at the center of the sun have been unleashed on us from all angles. It’s almost so hot that you fail to acknowledge it’s real. But as the skin peels away, we’re revealed to be more vulnerable that we’d ever imagined. This is likely akin to the feelings of people who would prefer to not listen to the thoughtful reflection of a constitutional law professor elucidate his policies and how they would benefit the majority. It’s like the feeling they get when they see shows about same sex couples gaining in popularity but they can’t even say that they are uncomfortable with Muslims in public without being socially ridiculed for it. It’s likely the way they felt, however subconsciously, when a woman, despite her modest upbringing and centrist ideology, had the audacity to assume she was next in line for the thrown to lead the free world, because of her connection to all that irked them…the most salient of which being that she, herself, was the definition of the elite. Can we really blame them for feeling this way?

Sure, such feelings makes little sense when considered rationally. But feelings often don’t. And it is emotion that drives people’s decisions, vastly more than their thoughts. So, for as much as we have trouble understanding why people hate the elites, or discount science or facts, or are determined to take huge steps backwards in social policy making, consider how we feel now, given all that’s occurred over the last three months. Now do you understand? The boiling over of our contempt for the new government and their unhinged rhetoric and actions, we can only hope, will energize a mass rebellion in the opposite direction.

If only it were that simple. Consider this: If “didn’t vote” was a candidate, they would have won in a historic landslide the likes of which the country has never seen. So, who is really to blame for where we find ourselves – those who chose to kick dust in the eyes of the prevailing powers that be – the status quo, as it were, or those who sat by and let it all play out in the most disastrous way possible?

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