#187 Watch Out for the Elites

Elites, what are they? It seems easy to figure out, but the Midwest has a terrible time defining the word in a rational manner. Barack Obama seems to have hit a nerve with his comments about small town bitterness, "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

I've been hearing people say exactly the same thing for most of my life. Most of the people who say those things are educated, have a sense of humor, have skills and careers, and take religion on an individual basis, rather than swallowing crap whole from fundamentalist evangelists. I'm beginning to think the definition of elite people who "are educated, have a sense of humor, have skills and careers, and take religion on an individual basis, rather than swallowing crap whole from fundamentalist evangelists."

The actual definition, per Webster's is: "1 asingular or plural in construction : the choice part : cream bsingular or plural in construction : the best of a class csingular or plural in construction : the socially superior part of society d: a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence e: a member of such an elite —usually used in plural 2: a typewriter type providing 12 characters to the linear inch"

So, the rednecks and right-wingnuts are throwing the word around as an insult, when what it means is "the best of a class?" Damn, that's terrible. We've been "led" by the worst of a class for the last 8 years and, off and on, for the last 45 years: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and, now, Little George were all class idiots and academic failures. The radical right would like to attach the tag of a "socially superior part of society" on anyone they think might cost them money and power. As long as Americans want to elect morons, this tactic will work. The question is, why do we want to elect people we know are near the bottom of the class?

I first wondered about this when Richard Nixon was elected in 1968. Contrary to the weird interpretation the media promoted during the debates, Nixon lost the debates because he turned every question into an opportunity to pontificate rather than answer the questions. Kennedy's answers were direct, clear, and to the point. If you listen to the debates, I think you will still come away believing Kennedy won. Obviously, interpreting Nixon's body language on the tube adds to that impression. At his heart, Nixon was a corrupt fool put in place by the California political power structure and there was no more to him than what there appeared to be at that moment. U.S. voters were so intent on electing an idiot at that time, they elected Nixon and Agnew to a second term when it was clear that they would be criminally impeached almost immediately after the election.

Ford was very much a national laughing stock outside of his group of cronies and proved to be no more than that when he pardoned Nixon and 408 other criminals. His justification for the Nixon pardon was so lame that few accept it for anything more than spin. Ford was the nation's first football scholarship President, which saved him from having to learn anything from college classes.

Reagan, another football-playing, classroom-avoiding politician, set new low standards for Presidential expectations, and lowered the bar for White House intellectual achievement so that an ant could step over the pole without stretching. Reagan is the cynic who said, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." And followed that by increasing the size and government exponentially. When Reagan took office, the national debt was $1 trillion. When he left, it was $2.6 trillion (more than 200%). " . . . .For every dollar a Democratic President has raised the national debt in the past 30 years, Republican presidents have raised the debt by $2.52."Conservative" Reagan reversed every Carter imitative to make the nation energy independent, in his first term of office.

The two Bushes kept blowing cash like a hooker with a stolen credit card, only mildly interrupted by 8 years of Clinton's actual conservative economic policies. Bush has taken what could have been a balanced budget in 2001 and turned it into massive debt, which will plague the nation for generations. The damage this character has done to the nation's technological base, the education system, and national security is immeasurable.

Still, many voters are desperately looking for a fool of equal character to replace Little George. The fact that Sarah Palin hasn't been laughed off of the national stage is solid evidence that voters are ready and willing to dip further into the muck of our gene pool for their next "leader." No, we aren't likely to vote for elites until the economic and social system is damaged beyond repair. Like lemmings heading for a watery death, we're hell bent to elect a moron and a senile has-been to lead the nation into bankruptcy. If that sounds elitist, you don't know me very well.

September 2008

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