Mary Pitt: It Is SO About Class
It Is SO About Class
by Mary Pitt
Whenever our government sells us another abominable ripoff of the ill, the elderly, and the handicapped or increases the burden of the working people, they are prompt to tell us that "it is not about class". They lie. It is always about "class" and it has always been about "class". There is no other reason for ambition, for the never-ending struggle for control of whatever medium of exchange passes for wealth and the assumption that wealth equals power.
Whether man struggled upward from the primordial ooze or was created in all his glory, perfect in the eyes of God and himself, "class" has been the driving force of his primitive being. When human beings huddled together in caves, the strongest man with the most capable killing instrument, whether a sick or the leg-bone of an animal, assumed leadership of the clan. His superior hunting abilities enabled him to accumulate more food, more skins in which to wrap a chilled body and, thus, more "wealth" and prestige. This entitled him to the choicest bits of food and the most desirable female. Thus was "class" created. The small, the weak, the disabled were regarded as dependent and a waste of food and warmth and were valued only as slaves and dispensable when they had outlived their usefulness. Only when a contender arose who was stronger, more inventive, and more vicious would the holder of this "class distinction" lose his position in society and be forced to adapt a more servile attitude.
Even in the ancient tomes on which modern religion is based, the theme of "class" is a vital subject and history clearly delineates its importance. In Genesis, Abel was the son who was favored by his parents and by God. The reason? He made a "better offering" by offering meat rather than "the fruit of the ground". Thus was established for all time the higher value placed upon those who kill rather than upon the 'humble tillers of the soil". The Torah, the Old Testament, is full of tales of those who were "blessed" and given power over others even unto the destruction of other human beings. They were the ones who were entitled to the perquisites and the prerogatives inherent in the bestowal of "class". Most prominent of these tales is that of Isaac and Ishmael whose supposed enmity troubles the world even to this day. Ishmael, the first-born, who was conceived of a handmaiden because of Abraham's desperation for an heir, was banished for his illegitimacy in order to clear the path for Israel to inherent his father's riches, setting the stage for discriminatory practices against the "ill-born" to preserve the privileges of the "well-born". The history of the advancement of mankind is replete with examples of the rule by the rich and powerful at the cost of the poor, the un-schooled, and the handicapped. Slavery is the best example of this, the rich actually owning members of the underprivileged class and forcing them into unpaid labor, military service, and duels to the death for the entertainment of their masters.
The closest that mankind has come to the elimination of this practice has been in the history of the United States as it evolved from legal slavery toward true democracy, the culmination coming with the civil rights movement and the improvements in equality that resulted from it. However, when it seemed that we had almost attained true equality, we were suddenly thrust back into the old way of thinking and behaving as the "ultra-right" took control of our government. In the name of "conservatism", the social programs of a century were either ended or the budget tightened so severely that their purpose could no longer be achieved.
The war in which we find ourselves currently engaged was begun for the benefit of the privileged and has served as a smokescreen as the budget of the United States has been looted by the privileged class and the "underclass" has been condemned to poverty, illness, and homelessness as the "compassionate conservatives" ignore the conditions in our own nation. One of our major cities lies in ruins that can only be compared to the Iraqi city of Fallujah, its residents scattered to the four winds and dependent upon the charity of others and our government takes no action to correct the causes of their distress. We spend two billion dollars a week to make war upon a shattered nation in order to force "democracy" upon them while neglecting brutally the needs and the rights of our own people.
Now, our President tells us that he has "authorized" the National Security Agency to wiretap our telephones, monitor our computer communications, and otherwise spy upon law-abiding American citizens at will. Not only that but he blatantly stated that he intends to continue with these illegal and immoral acts, regardless of the terms of the law which specifically forbids it. While even the former supporters from his own party are aghast at this declaration that he considers himself to have the authority to do this under the War Powers Act as the Commander-In-Chief of the military he continues his campaign to establish the Presidency as a virtual dictatorship. Not only have the "sneak-and-peak" provisions of the hated Patriot Act nullified our Fourth Amendment Rights, but we now know that our precious First Amendment rights, the most important of all are under attack. We have written and forced Iraq to approve a "democratic constitution" while our own President off-handedly dismisses own Constitution, the very bedrock of our national governing system, as "just a goddam piece of paper" and beneath his consideration.
It would seem that in a very few years, mankind has done a reverse evolution and degenerated into the old cave-man mystique. While the President rants about "individual responsibilty" he is advocating the old "every man for himself" mentality. Here in Kansas, we are watching the power brokers as they struggle over the relative correctness of the Theory of Evolution or Intelligent Design. I would venture that, if the theory of evolution is correct, it has reversed itself and, if we are the product of design, it certainly has not been very intelligent. As mankind develops technology which makes possible a better standard of living, the greed of the ruling class is causing them to become more intent on keeping all the goodies for themselves regardless of the consequence to the poor. The agenda of the current administration appears to be to allow the poor, the ill, and the old to die and get out of the way while "guest workers" pour into the country to perform all the odious duties which the rich require in maintaining their elegant lifestyles.
It all absolutely is "about class"!