Wednesday, April 17, 2013

There's nothing 'upper' about upper class.

With the foundations of racism crumbling however slowly, now the issues of class-based discrimination come into question.  Am I caught in it?  From an outside viewpoint, am I being an idiot?

Upper class tantrums ...
Told that the table she wanted wasn't
available, she threw what can only be
described as a tantrum and used the ace
up her sleeve, her daddy.
Andrea Benitez is the daughter of
Humberto Benitez Trevino, who happens
to be the federal attorney general for
consumer protection.
Faster than you can say "do you know
who I am?" Andrea had called her father's
department, which promptly turned up at
our local neighbourhood bistro and closed
it down on spurious administrative grounds.
There's nothing 'upper' about the upper class, by the way; nor 'low' about the lower class folks. Such distinctions are based on an economic culture that disproportionately supports the wealthy few at the expense of regular folks farther down the economic scale.

The 'rising tide' fiscal policies, all of them it turns out, don't raise all boats.  Our best attempts at a fair marketplace are perhaps 80% beneficial and not uniformly so across the population.  The marginalized and the disenfranchised are in every case left behind.  They're just as intelligent, just as creative, just as innovative, and often harder working.  Worthy in every way, but not included.

The 'classes' we so casually include in our thinking are categories based on wealth and influence.  The implied 'worth' and 'status' attending the classes are a discrimination point like 'race' has been.  Class is another way to put yourself above some and perhaps below others.  Walk it through, talk it through and see for yourself.

Then ask yourself some fun questions like:

Am I impressed by celebrity and wealth?
Do I care what the current 'A list' has to say?  
Do I aspire to a life of plenty and a well funded retirement?  Is my version of the American Dream defined by house, comfort, and income?
Do I interact with the 80% of the world that lives below what for me is the poverty line?

It's embarrassing to discover that we've given intellectual assent and we've chosen behaviors to fit the class game. Most of us in the developed world have.  It's part of the culture. It's difficult to shed the comfortable thinking and then choose a better, reasoned path. It's even difficult to hold on to the the issue. That's where you run across something like this and forget it even before you set the mirror down.

Now, what do we do with what we know?  Anything, literally anything at all, as opposed to nothing.

Tell the rich folks to quit being so full of themselves and so impressed with their own possessions, which are here today and gone tomorrow. It's not their merit that made them wealthy and others less so. Tell them to go after God who is generous to us all - and tell them to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasure that will last, gaining life that is truly life.
          1 Timothy 6:17-19