I had an experience yesterday that illustrated, for me, the way the affluent view those even slightly less fortunate. One of my customers referred me to a person who needed some computer work done. When I called him, he stated that he needed a fan replaced in his PC. I thought to myself, "Fine. If this guy wants to pay me 50 bucks for a 10-minute job involving 4 screws, who am I to argue?" I began to question him about the symptoms his computer was displaying in order to eliminate any other problems he might have. Aside from being a little, well, stupid, his answers were short, abrupt, and a bit rude. Maybe he was just having a bad day, I thought. I told him that I'd be at his house when I got off work, and took down his address.
When I googled the directions, I found that he lived on the outskirts of town, in a very affluent area. The bus services that area, but just barely. I don't own a car. I could probably afford to buy one, but I couldn't afford to maintain one (gas, insurance, maintenance, etc). I try not to live beyond my means because rich conservatives hate it when us poor folk do that. After all, it is we, not greedy, immoral bankers and brokers, that are the root of our economic troubles.
Anyway, as it would take longer than I anticipated to get to his house via public transport, I called him back to let him know that. As soon as I used the word "bus", his demeanor changed from rude, to rude and condescending. He stated that he decided that my services weren't required.
As much as I could have used the money, I was a bit relieved. An hour long bus ride, and a pretentious, rude customer isn't my idea of a good time after working a 10-hour day. It does bother me, however, that he made certain assumptions about my use of public transport.
Since I was young, I've always wondered why the affluent tend to exhibit characteristics that my mother would have slapped me for. The lack of compassion, and common courtesy, the sense of entitlement, the shallowness, and, of course, the stupidity.
It's simple. Greed makes people stupid.
The American mythology is a twofold fantasy. The first is the myth of social mobility, i.e., that anyone with drive, determination and a modicum of intelligence can "make it" -- that is, become rich. That is the Horatio Alger Myth. The other is that America is a middle class country. The truth is that most Americans are working class, dependent on receiving a paycheck from an employer for their livelihoods. The use of the term "working class" is practically unknown. However, there has been an assault on the American working class for a long time now, but because so many Americans, under the illusion that they are middle class, cannot see that it is they that are under attack by the upper class until it is too late. At that point, they are encouraged by the rightwing media to blame immigrants and racial minorities for their misfortunes. So far it has worked very effectively.
I wonder if Americans will wake up from their American Dream as it becomes more and more of a nightmare.