Monday, April 14, 2008

Define "Elite"

You could look up a dictionary definition. But the oddest thing about the way American politics uses the world "elite" is that it attacks those who would like to change the current elitist system, even if very subtly. Thus, Barack Obama is now labeled as a snob by the wingnuts and even by some Democrats who are working for Hillary Clinton.

Why isn't George Bush an elitist? He was born into money, after all, and he has always had it. He went to a boarding school and Ivy League universities. But somehow that is not being a member of the elites in this country. The definition has been carefully modified so that being wealthy does not, in itself, give you elite membership.

Even a very poor person can be an elitist, from this point of view, as long as that person is not voting for the Republicans. Anyone drinking lattes is risking being called an elitist. But having eight houses does not make you an elitist, unless you are a Democrat. Actually belonging to the ruling elite does not make you an elitist, either.

This is bizarre.