Monday, November 06, 2006

tomorrow is a big day

Voting day. This weekend I was out on yet another student cross country, eight flights in four days, so I missed a lot of the election coverage, but I got a chance to read some today. This election is particularly important to me because it could have a dramatic effect on my profession and those I know and love. Stay or go in Iraq? Tax cuts gone? Medicare, social security.... the list goes on, and it never seems to get any shorter. I found an interesting article from the Telegraph in the UK. It is always good to see a critical view of yourself from another perspective.

Until very recently, the term "working-class" was never used in American political discourse: everybody was middle-class except the "poor", who were usually unemployed and regarded as having special problems. So the advent of a wealthy liberal elite that holds middle-class concerns and values in contempt is quite a new phenomenon. Even the old Democrat aristocrats – the Franklin Roosevelts and the John Kennedys – would not have spoken with the undisguised disdain for the Middle-America, Bible-belt constituency that the contemporary liberal establishment uses now.

The change must have come in the 1960s, I suppose, when moral outrage became the common currency of political life, and a general licence was issued to every educated person to detest openly all those who did not subscribe to the unimpeachable world view that was handed down at university.

In effect, what America has now is a social divide that is more like Britain's, in which the "enlightened" class is frankly contemptuous of what it regards as populist politics.


At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Thursday said...

Makes sense.
Hence all the "redneck" comments from my ever-so-tolerant friends every time an election doesn't go their way.

Any interesting (un)specific student stories?


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