Monday, February 04, 2002

I'm back in . . .

Posting problem solved, at least for now. After being unsuccessful yet again in trying to get to the posting page, I decided to try getting to it from BloggerPro, even though I'm not on that plan yet Then I took the link from there back to Blogger Home and, presto! I got this access for posting. Let's hope it's a permanent solution.

Since I"m in the middle of creating my blog, I probably should go ahead and sign up for Pro. I don't need all the bells and whistles at this point but, let's face it, Blogger is such a great service I"d probably pay $35 just to be able to read the great stuff you guys put out. So, bully, Janeane, for making the leap and providing some instructions.

Thoughts on Class
Interesting post from Tom M.-- and depressing. He asks a great question--one rarely if ever posed outside of academia: why and how it is that any view of class inequity remains mostly obliterated on the American radar.

One possible insight comes from the historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, who cites the decline of the influence of political parties. People may be Democrats or Republicans in terms of voting patterns, but they don't identify with the parties as organizations or as coherent philosophies for the country.

When I was growing up--which was a hell of a long time ago, I'm afraid--people tended to be Republicans and Democrats in much the same way they were Catholics or Protestants. It was who you were. Each party invoked the pride of its own tradition and principles--which were well-defined--and they went at each other more as My Party vs.Your Party rather than as Candidate A vs Candidate B--which is the modality today. Witness the rise of the independent voter which now stands at a solid third of the electorate.

So what the hell does this have to do with the absence of dialogue about class inequity? Each party used to be the avowed and unapologetic champion of its class interests and class identity. Class inequities were openly argued. When times were good, as in the 20's and 50's, the business party gained ascendancy. Nowadays, it's just personality contests and who can play the better game of "gotcha." When was the last time you heard an argument about class in a campaign?

Parties have become nearly irrelevant, except as fund-raising mechanisms. We may vote Republican or Democratic but we are no longer Republicans or Democrats in the old sense of the identification. I have no doubt that the rise of television is what made the change. Is this good or bad? I have no idea, but one thing is certain: the growing divergence between the rich and the rest of us just seems unstopppable (witness the latest tax cuts for the richest 1%). Thanks, loads, Tom, for bringing it to our attention.

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