Monday, December 06, 2004

On Middle Class

A recent article about the rapidly thinning middle class in the United States got me thinking about the importance of the middle class in general. Then Al Franken on my radio happens to chime in about the creativity of the country being in its middle class, and I remembered how the Kerry campaing was telling how he would fight for the middle class. All this coming together is like magic, isn't it? Especially as I want to vituperate about the idea of the poor, oppressed middle class.

Now, I'm a card-carrying member of the upper middle class, though I don't have the money to be there. Of course I'm really a member of the upper class as a goddess and an intellectual, but given that I'm dirt-poor (well, I can't afford a new BMW), I've decided to accept the upper middle membership package. You'd think that I'd be happy to hear how concerned the Democrats are about the middle class people like me, wouldn't you?

Actually, I find most of that concern to be manufactured and unethical. We should be concerned about the poor. They have it much worse. Only after that will I allow some concern for the fact that I can't afford a new BMW, yet again. Politicians who vow to fight for the middle class do so because that's where the votes are. But this doesn't make it ethical as long as we still have the class of the poor, sick and oppressed firmly among us.

It's not that the middle class isn't important. It is. Without a middle class societies become unstable and end up being called banana republics by historians and some uppity blog goddesses. And the middle class is indeed where most of the professionals come from. But this doesn't mean that we should regard the woes of the middle class as more important than those of the poor, especially as the latter are much more devastating.

In short, this is one campaign of playing the victim in which I will not participate. The middle class is called that because its members are not going hungry or untreated when they are sick. The thinning of the middle class is indeed a problem, but not because the middle class is getting thinner; rather, because the class of the poor and powerless is growing. Not that I expect any politician to support my argument. The poor don't vote.