This is a nice image that’s going around, but I would like to repeat Chris’ point here. Clever as the image may be, it’s completely wrong.
Only Liberals see unfettered wealth as elitist. For Conservatives, wealth is the ultimate in non-elitism. As far as they’re concerned, everyone admires wealthy people, and everyone aspires to be wealthy. Owning seven houses isn’t elitist to them; it’s a goal to work towards.
Never forget the two Great Lies that run this country, as twinned and inseparable as Drizzt Do’Urden‘s magic scimitars.
1) Anyone can become rich and successful if they just put their mind to it. (Amended from becoming President because let’s face it, most people don’t want the grief of the office. It doesn’t pay; we just happen to always elect millionaires.)
Since this statement is demonstrably false, it has a companion Great Lie:
2) Money doesn’t buy you happiness. All those rich people you admire would trade it all in a heartbeat for the simple pleasures you now enjoy. They don’t, and they could, but trust me, they would. In a heartbeat.
So no, it’s not wealth that makes one elitist. Not for Republicans and those who would likely be swayed by the use of such a term.
The fact that Barack Obama is intelligent is what makes him “elitist”. See, he’s not like you and me, who never went to no fancy-pants college or if we did we got our General Studies degree and then that’s it. Elitists read books other than the Bible. Elitists listen to music what ain’t on the radio. Elitists drink coffee other than whatever their mama made. Elitists, in short, are curious — they explore the world, looking for ideas and experiences instead of just taking whatever is handed to them.
John McCain, with all his houses and cars and jet isn’t elitist because he’s not a big ol’ intellectual like our last great elitist, Al Gore. And God knows Sarah Palin isn’t curious about anything other than the Power and the Glory and Jesus.
So yeah, don’t worry about how wealthy McCain is. Americans LOVE money. They just hate intelligence. We take pride in lack of knowledge. We feel completely comfortable dismissing science and learning in favor of “heart” and “soul” which mean nothing except “I already know everything I need to know, thank you.” We create schools designed to make kids feel okay about not knowing things instead of trying to help them learn. (Well, except for those “elitist” Montessori schools, of course.)
There’s a reason that the Republicans will fan themselves and clutch their pearls if anyone suggests there may be a “class war” in America, but will happily talk about a “culture war”. A class war implies that there might be something about wealth that needs to be looked into. A culture war lets people be rich and instead poses intellectuals as the enemy. The other day I was thinking to myself, what is the one thing I would love for Democrats to be able to do, if nothing else, the one thing that they could concentrate on that would produce the most benefit and I decided on this: To bring the existing class war into sharp focus and quit letting the Republicans put the kibosh on any discussions around it. If we could talk about this realistically, then I think a lot of good would follow from it. And one of the benefits, I think, would be that we could move away from smart people being bad for our country.