Dear Middle Class:
Perhaps I should back up a bit and try that again.
One of the most frustrating things for me on those occasions when I get suckered into listening to the mainstream media is the lamentation and hand wringing over the shrinking middle class.
While I don’t have any money in the bank and the only assets I have are a computer a video camera and a rusty old mountain bike, most people would look at where I live and where my children go to school and label me squarely in the middle class.
I usually accept that label.
It is easier than telling the whole world that am in my mid forties with no savings, no retirement plan, no 401K- and I live the life of a new media freelancer; check to every increasingly small check. These facts would make my middle class friends uncomfortable.
But I digress. The reason I say “fuck you” to the middle class is that holding onto the status of middle class requires a poor class.
There would be no middle, without the poor. That 1 in 5 kids in the United States live below the poverty line is both immoral and a requirement of our system. This system holds as its very center, heartbeat and myth of the American Dream the cherished “middle class.”
George Carlin frames it this way:
“The upper class keeps all of the money and pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes (and) does all of the work. The poor are there just to scare the shit out of the middle class… keep ‘em showing up at those jobs.”
So what is to be done? We hoist ourselves on our own petard when we allow the Koch brother fueled narrative that Wal-Mart and Fast Food workers who are struggling to attain a living wage should be grateful to have a job, any job, in this climate.
We know our elected officials are not responsive to the people, but to the ruling elite and yet we still argue over Obama or Romney or Pelosi or Boehner as if these politicians are even listening to us.
We cling, no worse, we teach our children to invest in the false American Dream that if we only work a little harder, or go into more educational debt that we would be able to grasp the brass ring and wear proudly the label of American Middle class.
That label would be made in Bangladesh, mind you, by a child working six days a week 16 hours a day and making 30 bucks a month but you would be proud to wear that middle class label just the same, and in doing so do you- we, I- not only endorse the conditions of poverty that, because of its very existence, defines the middle class, we insure that poverty will continue.
We need new language, a new system based on equity and fairness and not on exploitation and oppression and until then I say fuck the middle class.
I quit it.