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I am not Elite

April 12th, 2005 Posted in Politics

A phrase you hear everywhere these days is "liberal elite". Conservatives have successfully used the upper middle class’s visible disdain for the great unwashed to convince red america that liberals are, as the Club for Growth put it, a "latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving… Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show". Lemme clear this up:

  • Blue america is largely working class. See those little black dots in the center of the blue counties? They’re cities, and they’re filled with housekeepers, waiters, janitors, bus drivers, factory workers, security guards, and teachers.
  • Hollywood, which conservatives often claim is a bastion of liberal elitism scowling at the back-asswardsness of middle america, is in fact owned by big business. The TV networks spouting punditry lamenting America’s ongoing moral decay are owned by conglomerates consisting of not just (multiple) television networks, but movie studios and record companies as well. Richard Gere and Alec Baldwin may be liberals, but the real core of Hollywood is the studios. Rupert Murdock owns not only Fox News, but also "fox attitude": remember who released Kinsey next time you’re watching Bill O’Reilly rant about Janet Jackson’s boobies. Republicans shake their fist at sex, drugs and violence in order to get your blood up, then quietly turn around and offer tax benefits to the large companies that push those things on their billboards and tv commercials.
  • And here is the last and most important reason I know there is no liberal elite: I’m not elite. Let me explain.

By all rights, I am the epitome of a latte liberal. Those of you who know me know I don’t like coffee, and that I drive an Infiniti instead of a Volvo, but other than that, I have it nailed. Jewish, upper middle class, coastal, semi-metrosexual, and exceedingly liberal: one of my parents was actively communist, for christ’s sake. I live in San Francisco, consort with known homosexuals, generally dislike organized religion, and really really love sushi. And here’s the kicker: I’m not part of some liberal conspiracy. I don’t meet with a kabal of other liberals and plot the demise of this country. I’m not rich. My clout goes about as far as is needed to get a home equity loan. I wait in line at the dmv like everybody else. I’m not a mason; I wasn’t even in a fraternity. I didn’t go to an ivy league school, because my grades weren’t good enough, I’m not a legacy, and no one knows my last name. I go about my daily business like anyone else, making a living, enjoying my hobbies, and trying to find someone to start a family with. When it comes to music, I may be elitist, but when it comes to running this country, I certainly am not an elite.

Now, it’s quite possible that somewhere, the little liberal elite club is meeting right now, without me. Maybe I just didn’t make their cut. But let’s ponder another possibility. Who do we know who is rich, is a skull-and-bones, had bad grades but still went to Yale, does meet weekly with others of political influence to plan the course of the world, and has a powerful family that has been involved in politics for decades? Who is the real elite? Is Bush really a good ol’ boy from Midland because you’d like to have a beer with him? And am I elite because sometimes I drink wine instead?

So, middle america, I do disagree with many of your social and religious views. But we have more in common than you think; we both want to level the playing field for the working man or woman. We both have compassion and strong moral convictions. And consider that someone like Sam Brownback — who uses your religious views to divide and polarize us but then accepts money from pornographers and flip-flops on issues like the death penalty to suit the latest polls — might not care about your views at all. Maybe he just wants to separate you from me so he can remain a senator, and, well… elite.

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  • no, i really wouldn't. "Dubya" is a haughty, ivy-league cokehead snob turned evangelist. who wants to hang out with that?

  • Oh c'mon, tell me you wouldn't want to shotgun a beer with Dubya.

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