…Now, there is a particularly unique American problem I’d like to discuss. It’s at the heart of the current political climate and it’s hard to write about or talk about without making someone very upset.
We’re a fairly new country, here in the US. When you compare this country to many others it’s almost frightening actually how young we are. As such, we’re still growing into what I’ll call our “adulthood”. And, one of the things I believe we have yet to learn and become more self-aware of, as a people, is who we are in terms of class.
Many older countries have complex class structures that have evolved over hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. I believe it was the cultural hegemony of the last century, “The American Century” that created this rebellious, egalitarian push around the world that we see so often today. And we do believe in a level playing field here in the US for certain.
But, what I think we Americans seem to have failed to realize was that as a species, for better or worse, we may have an innate tendency to create inequality. And as much as we don’t have an acknowledged aristocracy here in the US we do have one. And it’s not the “urban elites” that are so often touted in some conservative media outlets that, I should hasten to add, I do not wish to disparage (I read, listen and watch those news sources occasionally myself). Instead, it’s a real aristocracy that resembles the ruling classes of many older cultures. And no, I don’t mean these often mentioned, scary “overlords” either. Think more of the sometimes whiny (sorry) but much more accurate descriptions of privilege you find on the current political left.
The thing is, too often, those on both sides of the fence don’t know who they are. And, since I don’t wish to upset the humble sensibilities of some or the arrogant delusions of others I’ll refrain from delving more into that. But suffice to say, too often social lines are divided along superficial, transient definitions or are based on some trendy nonsense when the truth of it is perhaps much more stark and old-fashioned.
Of course, it’s still possible to climb upwards here in the US but it’s not as easy as it used to be. And that’s partially due to our cultural development (in my opinion): The more populated and established a country becomes the more entrenched social classes become. Things get crowded…regardless of what those self-help “there’s always room at the top” wall plaques say. And, again, while it’s possible to fall into something or reach upwards it’s not simple. Of course, it never was even remotely painless, but now it’s even less attainable and with the shrinking middle class, it’s particularly less likely. …I’ll perhaps write more details later.