Just recently, ‘Bookworm’ at Bookworm Roomwrote a very interesting piece about elite mindset, which can be found here: Hillary’s Sheeple Revel in Their Mindless Ignorance. It is a really well written piece, which also got me to thinking, and the following is a take-off from her points.
Many years ago, I remember sitting at a very nice cafe in Berlin after attending an opera with my political science instructor and other students on the study-abroad program I was on. After awhile, a couple of the lead performers in the opera came to sit at the table next to us. Our program wasn’t based in Berlin, but this instructor had accompanied us there, and at this cafe she was meeting with a friend. She and the friend were definitely people who “belonged” in this type of setting.
I, on the other hand, had a very hard time even comprehending how I came to be in this place at all. After all, here I was, an American, and a midwesterner to boot, child of a broken home who had lived in places known primarily for drugs, gangs, and violence. Even more shocking, though, was a comment by the instructor to her friend when she came to introducing me, noting that I was a very ‘cultured’ person.
For me, this was mindblowing, as I had never thought of myself in that way, nor would I ever had said that about myself in a million years. I struggled to understand why she would say this at all, and eventually came to realize a few things. First of all, I have a curious mind, and as a child read voraciously. Secondly, I had grown up in a large city, where ‘exposure’ to different peoples and cultures is just normal. Between the two, I knew a lot of things and was familiar with a lot of things that I’d guess that a lot of other students on the trip had no idea about. Besides this, for many of the students on the trip, a study-abroad program was regarded as party time, with minimal attention paid to studies. I, on the other hand, had paid dearly to go on this trip, and I was determined to make the most of it. Furthermore, although I had never leared the manners and mannerisms of the upper classes, I certainly tried to be polite wherever I happened to be. And so maybe, just maybe, I was pulling off a little bit of the act of being ‘cultured’.
However, short of becoming rich and famous, I knew I would never inhabit the circles of the elite. Although with my background, it would have been difficult in the first place, not having connections to the ‘right people’ or having gone to the ‘right schools’, with my knowledge and skills, I don’t think it would have been impossible to do some breaking into the more elite classes.
The problem is, I never thought that time and energy was worth it. I have travelled extensively. I have lived abroad (and am even decent at foreign languages). I continue to be interested in all kinds of things. However, at this point in my life, I am a wife and homeschooling mom, involved in church, the epitome of the kind of person that so many of the elite rail against for not being progressive enough in my thoughts and actions.
My attitude has changed, too, from seeing elite status as something that I was just unlucky enough not to be born into, to being something that I actively reject. On one hand, my rejection may seem like it’s meaningless, being as elite status was nothing offered me, but consider it like the pretty girl that absolutely needs everyone to like her, regardless of whether the boys had any chance for a relationship with her at not. Although she wouldn’t have considered the ‘yokel’ for anything except derision, it drives her crazy that he doesn’t want her in the first place, and so she has to keep working at trying to get his attention. He, on the other hand, just wants her to leave him alone.
I believe the vast majority of the American people have rejected the elite. Whether that is an out-and-out rejection based on religious or philosophical reasons or the idea that we just want to be left in peace, it drives the elite classes crazy. And so, they cannot help but try to inject their values into places that one could reasonably assume would be ideologically neutral. Hence, politics in football or in shopping. This year alone, we see the effects of this rejection in the falling ratings of the NFL and in the fortunes of Target. It baffles and angers the elite, but they do not understand that for the majority of us, our lives are full, happy, and vibrant without them. Of course, even though these are the people who chide others to ‘coexist’, shunning the self-importance of the elites and their values absolutely cannot be tolerated, resulting in the constant pushes toward silencing those differing opinions, by whatever means necessary.