It’s been a terrible week, news-wise. The Libya situation is bad enough, but having Romney gleefully exploit it to push racist buttons with his base was even more terrible. Not because I think it hurts Obama—probably the opposite—but because that’s how ugly and low modern conservatism really is. There’s the way that so many prominent “liberals” have pushed back against the Chicago teachers’ strike, and the existence of Rahm Emanuel generally. If Obama does lose this election, this will be why, because support from labor, uh, matters to Democrats. I find the entire situation baffling, but Corey Robin spelled it out nicely how the upper middle class, including the liberals easily fall into the trap of waging class war on government workers. Basically, it’s a way for them to express lurking contempt for the striving lower middle class. I immediately glommed onto what he’s talking about. I’m a member of the striving lower middle class born and bred—my dad was a firefighter, my stepmother a schoolteacher, and my mother worked in banking (but not the sexy investment kind, but the unsexy kind where actually make the loans that actually make the money). When I enter social spaces that are mostly populated by the kind of people Robin describes, I stick out in some way that’s hard to put my finger on, but causes me to try to minimize my time there before someone mistakes me for a waiter. Or I give into my frequent urge to put already ill-at-ease people more so by making a sex joke. If leaving isn’t an option, I turn the volume up on “Texan” to confuse them about what it is that seems foreign about me. Anyway.
What’s funny is all these upper middle class Democrats pinching their noses in the direction of teachers—and disingenuously using “the children” as an excuse, thereby proving that “the children” are cared for most rhetorically when it can be used as an excuse to devalue women—is that they end up reinforcing the “liberal elite” stereotype, which lower middle class strivers of the whiter variety use to rationalize voting Republican. Believe me. I’ve seen the phenomenon up close.
All of this means that you should join the Panda Party! Because if there was ever a time when we needed to play some songs while we work to ease us into the weekend, it’s this week. It’s been overwhelming.