To be honest, I needed to refresh my memory about the specifics of classism for this post. I did grow up mid to lower middle class, although that has changed over the years. Technically, my wife and I would be considered in the upper professional middle class, at least on paper.
However, we live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and specifically in Silicon Valley. The lines between the classes here, especially if you make under a million, are blurred. My wife’s income, which would afford us a very nice living in other areas of the country, is just enough to survive here. Seriously, a guy is renting out a tent to live in near Google for $1000 per month, In my home state of NH, near where my parents live, $1000 a month could afford us a really nice duplex.
While the US doesn’t have the same kind of class divisions that other countries have, we do have it in subtle ways. The biggest areas where I think it shows up is in how we look and what we have. If you’re poor and using government assistance (and please don’t call these “entitlements”), you are not allowed to have nice clothes, or a phone, or a car (even a junker). Yet, in order to get a job, you need clothes, a phone, and a car to get there. Our media is rife with stories that tell us that if we only look the right way and do the right things, we, too, can get into the (supposedly) super awesome rich people places. This is the so-called “American Dream”: one day you’ll make it and be able to do all the things that they do.
But, this is destroying our country. Whatever you may think of Bernie Sanders (and for that matter Elisabeth Warren), I think in this area he’s spot on. Basically the American Dream has become a road to death in our country. There are so many ways we could make things much better, but we don’t do them. The reasons we don’t are because of so many reasons that will be described in this series of posts, and the people in charge are quite happy where they are.
Some people, even in progressive communities, wonder why people don’t rise up against this? Well, most people are just too damn tired trying to stay alive and can’t afford to lose everything.
This is part of a series of writings on social justice for 30 days. You’re welcome to join me.