“I don’t think the common person is getting it…”

…it has nothing to do with class.

 

Yes, the title is part of a direct quote. No, the subtitle is satire, not a continuation of the quote. However, the theme of class has never been more evident and more blatant than during the Koch Brother’s Mitt Romney Fund Raiser in the Hamptons as described by the Los Angeles Times (LAT). Remember, in the United States, talk about class is bad form. America is a meritocratic land of opportunity. If you do not have wealth, power and influence, it is your own fault. Any suggestion to the contrary is pandering to class warfare.

Yet class talk rolls from the mouths of the so-called “VIPs” waiting in line for entrance to the aforementioned Romney fundraiser. This article makes it clear that the wealthy are very conscious of class and the benefits that higher class offers. It is also clear that the attendees feel that they are entitled to their status and that their position is threatened.

So let’s return to the full quote used in redacted form for the title of this essay. According to the LAT reporter, the woman quoted above actually said, “I don’t think the common person is getting it…Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them…We’ve got the message…But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

See. It has nothing to do with class at all. It’s just that lower income people are ignorant and uninformed about how the system works. Not to worry. The wealthy have the message. They understand why Obama is hurting them. Nails ladies and baby sitters and everyone else who has the right to vote (read unfortunately has the right to vote?) just “don’t understand what’s going on.” Nothing elitist about that observation.

It’s clear that these folks, paying as much as $75,000 to scarf food off of the Koch’s fine china, feel that they are entitled to their position. After all, they are the “engines of the economy” while the working class are “the people who rely on that engine.” Working people—everybody who’s got the right to vote–should just do what they are told, accept what pittance they get from the caviar class and shut up. After all, they are the ones with the education to know how the system works.

And clearly Romney is one of them. A man who can spend $77,000 on 1/3 of a dancing horse (of course, of course), who has a Swiss bank account[s], and a demonstrated talent for private equity, is certainly cut from the same cloth as those attending the Koch hosted fundraiser. He clearly understands how the system works. There’s some logic to this. He certainly does know how the system works. Specifically, he’s the man whom the 1% knows will perpetuate the system and even tilt the inequalities even further on the side of the VIPs.

The problem is that the system sucks. Oh, the system is awesome if you happen to be among those in attendance in the Hamptons. However, if you are among the other 99% (eh, 80% to correct the meme), the system simply sucks. The system is stacked against any progress on your part. What’s more, the “common people”, despite their presumed lack of education, understand the system very well. They know that it is not designed to work for them.

The bottom line is that people like the Kochs and the their Hamptons guests are not the “engine of the economy.” They are passengers, and they are trying to ride for free. They know it. They know that the true engines of any economy are the workers and employees who actually turn the screws and set the stone, and push the pencils and file the papers. Ultimately, the common people support the system on which their wealth is based. Their risks are guaranteed by us. They need us to keep the engine running, on minimal fuel, zero maintenance and no repairs, and (at the risk of over-extending this metaphor) they are more than willing to drive us into the ground. After all, they can always jump on a Chinese vehicle.

Their hope is that Mitt Romney is the guy who will best protect their class interests.

At the same time, they are hoping that we ignorant common people stop all of that class warfare talk. Of course they do. Unfortunately, a $75,000 a plate fundraiser is not the best venue for trying to convince the “common people” that class privilege isn’t an issue.


 

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