07
Apr
09

Discontent Within America

state-of-discontent1

icon_digg4 Over the past eighteen years I have resided, as an expat, in a country where a modern unspoken “Class Society” as existed.  I use the word “modern” to empathize what is currently transpiring within the small social economic middle class and much larger segment of society, the lower income earners.

Recently, since 2002 these two aforementioned groups of individuals have experienced opportunities of social advancement in the country by its elected government, which understood; the uneducated, the economically disadvantaged and the hardcore unemployable would only compound this nation’s problems and bring the country more into an unfavorable focus within the international community, thus limiting foreign investment and international trade.

It is difficult for me to believe the country I departed eighteen years ago, America, has digressed to the standards of the country I came to live in and this new country is currently in the process of eliminating its former “class structure” policies and attitude towards its citizens.

America is my home country, my first and always will be the country I recognize as a loyal citizen of, but when I read and follow up on articles I’ve posted, such as, “Our American Society’s Shameless Crime”, I question where our country lost its meaning, to itself and the world community.

We are a huge land, a continental nation, rich in resources with a core belief that your talents and drive can take just about anyone anywhere.  “In America, at least, we don’t resent the rich … we want to be rich,” said President Barack Obama.

A recent article authored by Jeff Greenfield on CBS News online points out some interesting observations, which are worthy of note and a large amount of self reflection upon ourselves, here is one of many excerpts from his writing’s entitled “Drawing The Battle Lines Of Class Warfare

There is a powerful current of anger that runs from Main Street to the Halls of Congress. And it’s raised once again an argument that’s almost as old as the Republic: Is too much wealth and power concentrated at the top? Should the government try to redress that balance?

We see the excesses of wealth afforded to those on Wall Street, corporate executives, professional sports figures and entertainment celebrities.  I guess I have to paraphrase a saying somewhere spoken in a movie I once saw where I actor said “How much, is enough?”

My personal feelings are a person should not be limited by the money they earn for their respective talents, but more so, how our elected officials manage the taxes collected from their wages.

Or is that idea nothing but “class warfare”?

Two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson denounced “bankers and speculators” as the biggest danger to the Republic.

President Andrew Jackson waged war against the Second Bank of the United States, and the “elite circle” of financiers.

And Franklin Delano Roosevelt began his Presidency by indicting the “money changers” who he said had caused the Great Depression:

“The rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence,” FDR said in his first inaugural address in 1933.

“There was a great deal of cultural as well as political resentment at the rich, for having gotten away with murder in effect for too long,” said Princeton historian Sean Wilentz. “One certainly saw that in the 1930s. You can’t look at a popular movie from the early 1930s and feel that palpable sense that the rich, personified by a fat guy sitting on moneybags with a cigar clenched in his mouth … that they are the enemy.”

Ohio Democratic Senator  Sherrod Brown feels this way regarding corporate America and we the people:

“I think there’s no question that the government sings with an upper class accent,” he told workers in Ohio.

“The government has too often sided with the people with great advantage against the least privileged,” Brown said. “In the last three decades, the five percent at the top have done much, much better than the rest of society.”

Populists like Senator Brown argue that, according to recent data from the Economic Policy Institute, the top one percent of Americans have more than 22 percent of income, a number that hasn’t been matched since 1929.

“Those who have done very well under this system, those who have made huge, huge, huge profits, and not shared those profits with their workers, why should they not pay a higher tax rate?”

While Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona is a mirror opposite of Senator Brown:

“When you have the top one percent roughly 35 percent of all income taxes,” he said, “it’s tough to make the case that those at the top aren’t paying their share of income taxes.”

America may have a more unequal distribution of wealth than other nations, Flake says, but that misses the point:

“Look eastward to Europe: You have a so-called fairer distribution of income there,” he said. “But it’s a lower income, and it’s a lower quality of life than we have here. And I think it would be tough to argue otherwise.”

But Flake is no apologist for the Wall Street players who put the global economy in danger:

“They knew full well at some point, it would not last. They knew full well at some hint of a bubble bursting in the real estate market that they were gonna be in trouble. But they went ahead knowing they could get theirs and then go away, I guess. And so I think people were justifiably outraged, and still are.”

Again I insert my own personal feelings about the changes occurring in America and will continue to change until a more equal balance is achieved between “rich” and “poor”.  The following are my observations of how we as Americans have divided ourselves into classes:

  • Over the past thirty years we have accept homelessness on our streets and walk by the homeless as if they weren’t there.
  • Accept our elected political leaders as being corrupt by nature, which is acceptable.
  • Given our children hundred dollars bills, which in turn are given to their favorite sports stars for their autographs.
  • Accepted illegal immigrates into our society to perform the work we deem to degrading for us to do.
  • Became more interested individual interests instead of family interests or values.

These are but a few, but I do believe a change in coming and even if it might be difficult to accept, we will all be better off over time.

The following 1957 video represents our class system as it was before when we were a nation of people, not individuals.

1957 Social Classes in America

Social Class In America (1957)
Sponsor: McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc.
Producer: Knickerbocker Productions

Sociological discussion of ascribed status, achieved status, vertical mobility and horizontal mobility in America. We follow the lives of three men from high school on through their professional lives. Rather pessimistic conclusion on the possibilities of movement across class boundaries.

“These three babies are equal under the law, but they are not equal in terms of class…” This sociology lesson breaks educational film taboo by speaking directly about social class, shocking the ears with its frankness.

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