Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Rich Are Different

Fitzgerald: You know, it's true: The rich are different.
Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.

Let us now praise Donald Trump.  He is God's gift to the Democratic Party and to the great huddled masses yearning to breathe free. He is the crystal through which we can see what makes the rich so different.  Visible through him is that arrogance of the elect. 

At it's most elemental, it is the sense of entitlement, that conviction which has sustained generations of royalty and aristocracy that they are blessed because they deserve to be blessed. "God is my right." Or, maybe, in the 21st century: "God is the Right!"

Rush Limbaugh has it. Trump excels at it. Anyone can make it in America, if only he works hard enough. The corollary to that is: Anyone who does not make it, simply has not worked hard enough, so don't pity the slackers: They deserve their hard lives.

In feudal society, you needed a gilded church to tell the squalid masses the reason they lived in huts while the kings and barons lived in palaces was God wanted it that way. In America today, there is the myth of "deserving" rich. We put them through various non life threatening but demanding gauntlets (college, law school, medical school) and they get the sense they've struggled to earn their places among the elite and so they feel entitled to the glittering prizes they've won.  Of course, what they are blind to is although they worked hard to get rich, they were placed on third base and thought they'd hit a triple. I love that image. 

So, smugness reigns among the deserving elite.  And the Donald epitomizes all that.

My grand parents lived in what would now be considered poverty, but everyone around them was in the same state and they did not feel diminished, ashamed, or really much deprived.  They caught the occasional glimpse of the passing limousine, but that was not a problem for them. The world of speak easy's and flappers and the roaring 20's was simply beyond their imagination; their children could read about it in Fitzgerald and Hemingway, but it was not a world which beckoned or seemed possible. They were simply happy to be living in peace with nobody shooting at them or shelling their homes, to have work and to have enough to raise their kids. 

How would they have reacted to a Donald smirking at them from the television, telling them they were losers and deserved to be?

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