I suppose as an upper-income, white, middle-aged male that primarily makes his money off of corporate America I should be a bit giddy over the results of the recent election. While I could not be further in philosophy from most of the Tea Party, I do agree that it is probably time to cleanse Congress of some of the do-nothing career politicians that give us more of the same. Also, while I believe government intervention is needed to spur the economy, I am concerned about our massive debt loads. But more importantly, this could be great news for me personally. Consider the following:
- In my home state of Washington, an income tax on the wealthy that would have cost me tens of thousands of dollars per year was soundly rejected. There is also every indication that the new (and one very tan) faces in Washington will do everything in their power to maintain tax cuts that primarily benefit me and a few thousand of my privileged brethren.
- Since I don’t have children, and live in a region that will be among the last to suffer massive environmental damage, I need not be concerned about the long-term impact of global warming. I’ll probably be dead before it gets really bad – or have enough money to buy as much comfort as commercially available.
- I’m not really into a return to 1950’s style male domination, but if I were I might be excited by the fact that for the first time in three decades the percentage of female representation in government has dropped, perhaps because the most vocal women seeking political office were witches, momma’ grizzly bears, or so “right wing” they scared even the right wing.
- Ditto the return of the white tight American guy. Less competition from anyone with a less privileged background or pasty skin tone makes my life easier.
- My sexual inclination favors women, which is in agreement (at least in public) with the new power structure.
- Ninety years ago my grandfather battled irrational fear of immigrants and discrimination against my heritage, so at this point I’m not the target of racists and fear mongers, and as long as someone is willing to clean my house at a reasonable rate I’m a happy guy.
- The Republican’s unfettered devotion and service to corporate America will probably only mean more profits for me. Less regulation and accountability makes stuff easier to sell, which makes my job easier.
- I’m too old to ever have to serve in the military (and again I have no kids), so what does it matter to me if we occasionally invade countries based on bad intelligence or religious paranoia, or spend massive amounts of our national budget to build a military infrastructure constructed to feed major corporations? In all likelihood I own stock in those companies, so it might be good for my pocketbook.
- If all goes as planned, I won’t need to depend on Social Security, Medicare, or any kind of publically subsidized healthcare.
- If I want to ride on really modern transportation systems, see futuristic airports, witness wonderful new innovations in technology and green energy, experience progressive social systems that seek to make society more just, or drive on smooth modern highways I can afford to visit another country.
So I wondered, if this election was so good for me, why do I feel so bad? Perhaps it is the fear that within a few years I might go from living in the most progressive and open society in the world, into being a resident of a big and blundering has-been of a country, governed by angry people that look forward to Armageddon and want to rule from a playbook written two thousand years ago.
I like being on the winning team, and experience has taught me that the winners are usually the smartest people in the room. I’m not sure we have our best brain trust in Washington right now in either party.
I also don’t like bullies, racists, and homophobes, and when I see large men stomping on the heads of small women, yelling at handicapped people because they don’t agree politically, or advocating death to people that choose an alternative orifice for sex, I will always side with the little guy.
And finally, speaking from a purely capitalist position, I fear protecting guys like me at all costs will ultimately cost me more money and is a bad business decision. The one thing history has taught us is that societies prosper when there is a reasonably even distribution of income, combined with the opportunity and incentive to create wealth. I know…. that sounds a bit like the dreaded “socialism” word, but the fact is that when too much income goes to too few it leads to economic and social collapse. It’s what led to the collapse of much of many European societies, the Depression, and our most recent economic downturn. A happy, healthy middle-class spends a lot more money than an unemployed, under-educated, unhealthy population, and there is much less social tubulence. So while it may seem like a convoluted path to making the rich richer – I believe that spreading the wealth is good for my pocketbook. And even if it isn’t, I really want to live in a country that prides itself on opportunity and commitment to take care of its least fortunate souls.