Monday, March 20, 2006

Class Warfare

In a new column, E.J. Dionne takes note of an interesting new study on the nature of "class warfare" in modern politics. Worth a look.


Smitty said...

Ideological differences, and the vehemence people put into those differences, I think is no different now than it was between Adams and Jefferson. They not only hated each others ideas, they pretty much hated each other. The difference in ideological differences between now and then is that less people heard them then. None of the damned blogs were around for every schmoe to read and make uneducated retorts about.

I don't think a lot has changed in participation in government; what I mean here is that those who choose to run are more well-off than not. Our government was built by and for rich, white landowners....and not a ton has changed despite a civil rights movement and suffrage (which, by the way...anybody remember the Man SHow's little piece on "Ending the Suffrage of Women....hysterical).

What I don't know is if the average voter's wealth is any different than it was when we first started this Grand Experiment. This study shows that there are rich people on both siddes of the ideological fence, and I content there always have been.

I just don't think this is new. It just seems more vehement (the argument between the political ideologies) than the past. But again, I think that's because we see the arguments mroe. We have 24-hour news channels, the internet, televsiion, radio, etc. But if you look at the correspondence between the Jefferson and Adams is just as full of insults, half-truths, context twists and an overall mindset among both that there is much more at stake than personal pride; the very continuation of the country is at stake.

Smitty said...

So maybe my point is that regardless of the issue or the time, the poor are always, and have always been, left out of the debate. That is true class warfare.

Otto Man said...

Good points, Smitty. We've had class warfarfe from the beginning, to the point where those who didn't own land were left out at the start and other measures (poll tax) kept most poor folks out of it for centuries after.

S.W. Anderson said...

Dionne's column provides some good insights and is a good read. But it's not groundbreaking news.

What would be helpful to get a much better grip on his how and why so many middle middle class and poverty folks either don't vote or let themselves be sucked into voting Republican against their own best interests.

Yeah, I know some of them get hooked through religion and social wedge issues. But even those don't explain all of it.

After four years of Bush, there should've been a turnout by not-so-well off voters of historic proportions in '04.

I think really reaching those people, mobilizing them and earning their ongoing allegiance by coming through for them consistently over time is the key to rebuilding a progressive, Democratic majority.

And lest this be misread by anyone as simply my cynical desire for political domination, I'll add that I favor coming through for relatively have-not people because doing so is key to preserving our democracy, strengthening our economy and generally making things better for all Americans, well off Republicans included.