War of the Classes

The GOP outlined American Exceptionalism while destroying the myth of class warfare.

One of the unsung stories of the Republican Convention was the common thread amongst it minority speakers dispelling the myth that the United States is class-based society.  Unlike other nations of the world where the class system has existed within their country as a remnant of the feudal system they left behind, the United States lacks that history.  Since the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock, this land has been the place were success is not based on birth, but rather on life.  We are all blessed with the same opportunity for advancement and, individually, we are responsible for our life’s progression. 

On Tuesday, Mia Love came to the podium to tell the country how her “parents immigrated to the U.S. with ten dollars in their pocket, believing that the America they had heard about really did exist.” Ted Cruz told the story of his father, “imprisoned and tortured in Cuba, beaten nearly to death.  He fled to Texas in 1957, not speaking English, with $100 sewn into his underwear. He washed dishes making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas, and to start a small business in the oil and gas industry.”  Nikki Haley followed that with a story of her parents.  Immigrants from India, they instilled this into their children, “my parents loved that when they came to America, if you worked hard, the only things that could stop you were the limits you placed on yourself.”  Her parents then went on to start “a business out of the living room of our home and, 30-plus years later, it was a multimillion dollar company.” 

On Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice gave her impassioned speech about American leadership and prosperity including this personal story about “a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America - her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State.”  After Ms. Rice, Gov. Susana Martinez told America her story of “Growing up I never imagined a little girl from a border town could one day become a governor.  But this is America.  In America algo es possible.”  A second generation immigrant, her parents taught her “to never give up and to always believe that my future could be whatever I dreamt it to be.  Success, they taught me is built on the foundation of courage, hard work and individual responsibility.”

On the final night of the Convention, Marco Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants addressed the nation.  He began talking about his Grandfather’s life in Cuba and how “the dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve” because of the Cuba government.  Rubio went on to discuss the life of his parents.  “My mother was one of seven girls who parents often went to bed hungry so their children wouldn't.  My father lost his mother when he was nine.  He had to leave school and to go to work, and he would work for the next 70 years of his life.  They immigrated to America with little more than the hope of a better life.  My dad was a bartender. My mom was a cashier, a hotel maid, a stock clerk at Kmart.  They never made it big.  They were never rich, and yet they were successful, because just a few decades removed from hopelessness, they made possible for us all the things that have been impossible for them.”…”My dad used to tell us -- (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) -- in this country, you'll be able to accomplish all the things we never could.” 

These stories are a not just a part of the lives of immigrants, they are the lives of many United States citizens.  I myself remember the sacrifices my parents made for my siblings and I.  We were by no means rich.  Living in a duplex owned by my grandfather on the near Southside of Milwaukee, our neighborhood was solidly blue collar.  It was a far cry from upper class suburbs.  Our community was plagued by a poor performing public school.  To ensure that we recieved a quality education, they made the significant financial commiment to send us to a private high school (this is prior to the freedom the choice program offers).  Not unlike Marco Rubio, my parents were successful because they instilled in me the knowledge that I was not locked into my station in life, that I was only held down by my own desire to succeed. 

The stories that each of these speakers presented to the nation are contrary to the story being told by the Democrats.  The Obama Campaign wants you to believe that the American story is one of class divisions, one of unequal opportunity based on your birth and one of aristocratic control of wealth to the detriment of the poor.  In order to accomplish this, quoting Ted Cruz, “They’re going to try to separate us into little groups, and try to scare everybody”, in order to usher in a new era of class warfare.  Not to be mistaken, the citizens of the United States have always had there individual struggles and there has from time to time been wealthy individuals with malicious intent; however, on the broad national scale, class designation has been absent from our history.  When inequality reared its ugly head, our country made changes, we fought wars and amended our constitution to ensure that all men and women were given equal opportunity. 

Mia Love warned us all that “President Obama's version of America is a divided one — pitting us against each other based on our income level, gender, and social status.”  This is evident with Obama’s own campaign.  Obama will fight for the middle class, as if they are unable to succeed without him.  African Americans for Obama has it own page on the Obama website, segregating them out from the rest of the population.  Julia is the story of US women being granted success through government intervention, rather then personal determination.  In each case, you are identified for your birth rather than your life as an American.  This designation takes us back to a time before the existence of this new world when equal opportunity didn’t exist; instead, you were identified as the class you were born into.  It is not the forward looking vision of a unifier.  Class warfare looks behind us to a time of monarchs and peasants.  Class designation in the US is not something we are born with, it is something that one must accept.  In believing the premise that our country is divided into classes you relinquish your freedoms to an overreaching government.  

While many excellent ideas came out of the GOP Convention, the strong desire for every American to prosper was the central theme.  Not through some half baked ideal of government dependence, but through your own blood and sweat.  Recently in a blog thread a commenter said that home ownership was the best way to ensure the success of a neighborhood because people took responsibility for what was theirs.  The same can be said for success.  When you create your own success through the work of your own mind and hands, the rewards extend far beyond the hope and change a political official can give you. 

Let me part with the conclusion of Mia Love’s speech at the convention, as she says it better then I. 

“The American Dream is our story. It is a story of human struggle, standing up and striving for more. It's been told for over 200 years with small steps and giant leaps; from a woman on a bus to a man with a dream; and the bravery of the greatest generation, to the entrepreneurs of today.  

This is our story. This is the America we know because we built it.”


Romney/Ryan 2012

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James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 01:55 AM
@JB - Excellent blog - nicely done my friend! Bren, Lyle, Michael, and the other libs commenting on your blog are proving Ted Cruz 100% wherein he said “They’re going to try to separate us into little groups, and try to scare everybody.” And Schmitzy hasn't even seen the blog yet! In the very first comment on this board, Bren right away separated into groups by referencing the NAACP and tried to scare everybody about Ayn Rand! Yes, the liberals have become quite predictable indeed, and they're playing their role just as we thought they would - classic! Will they ever wake up and realize that they are the ones who are truly playing the dividing game?
Michael McClusky September 03, 2012 at 04:09 AM
@Hoffa You state that you would denounce any corruption that goes on between a candidate and special interests. Well then, if donations are secret then there is no way of knowing who is influencing who. In other words, how can you connect the dots when everything is under the table? It is not just democrats who are corrupt. By the way, I am not a liberal, I am a conservative who is worried about the state of the economy. It was caused by corporate interests- see banks.
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 04:23 AM
@Michael - What was caused by corporate interests? The housing crash was caused by people who didn't live up to the promises they made to lenders to pay back the loans they were given. Had all those people not defaulted, there never would have been a financial collapse. Economics 101 says that demand is a much stronger force than supply. The drug addicts here (supplying the demand for product) were the greedy people that sought loans for houses that they could not realistically afford. The drug dealers here (supplying the loans) were the banks and Wall Street. If people had been honest and not gotten in over their heads in the first place, or had paid back the loans they promised to pay back, no problems - right? The biggest blame lies at the hands of our neighbors - not corporate interests. Blame the addicts for being junkies, not the drug dealers for supplying them with what they want. Without the demand, the drug dealer has no power, regardless of the amount of supply, correct? But for some reason, you prefer to point the finger first at the drug dealers, corporate interests. I'll never understand that. And you still didn't address any of the question that Hoffa posited to you, despite Hoffa responding to all of your questions of him.
Michael McClusky September 03, 2012 at 04:36 AM
@Hoffa Watch Frontline's Money, Power and Wall Street on PBS. You might realize what really happened with that fiasco. On another point, you suggest that corruption only resides with Obama and the Democrats. You cannot be that much of a fool. The whole game is rigged for those who have the means to benefit from it. How old are you?
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 04:51 AM
@Michael - Hoffa's already seen the Frontline special to which you refer, as well as a countless bunch of other 'documentaries' purporting to expose the financial crisis. Hoffa has a pretty good grip on what went down, and the fact of the matter is that you can't dispute Hoffa's assertions that if everyone had repaid the loans that they promised they would, this never would have happened - that's the bottom line. And Hoffa never said that corruption only resides with Obama and the Dems, did he? But in this election, we have records that we can look at. Romney's stint as Governor of MA was fairly corruption free. The same cannot be said for the Obama administration. What does Hoffa's age have to do with his ability to recognize corruption? Don't tell me that you believe all the crap about Walker being owned by the Koch Bros! Again, you fail to address Hoffa's questions to you while Hoffa has always directly answered your questions of him. By answering questions, Hoffa demonstrates a superior understanding than yours.
Michael McClusky September 03, 2012 at 05:04 AM
@Hoffa You are not being truthful. Had the banks not sold worthless derivative products to the public and each other, then certainly they would have had the resources to weather the storm. These deals {which were shady at best} were deemed legal only because they were not public transactions. There were no prosecutions made by the federal government on these sordid individuals mainly because it was the banks who financed the Obama campaign to begin with. These banks, especially Goldman Sachs, are without ethical standards. I don't know how you can defend them.
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 05:30 AM
@Michael - Again, you do not answer any of the questions posited to you by Hoffa. Had everyone who took out a loan actually repaid their loan as promised, would there have been a problem - yes or no? Conservatives believe in personal responsibility. People should not take out loans that they cannot repay, period. That responsibility is on the individual - not the loan officer, not the mortgage broker, not the banker, not the CDO bundler, not the investment salesperson, not the ratings agencies, etc. Loans are not rocket science. Honestly, what is so difficult to understand about the terms 'adjustable rate,' 'interest only,' and 'balloon payment?' If people are really that STUPID and need to be protected against their own stupidity by their government, as you seem to suggest, then this society has gotten really pathetic. It's no wonder this country is falling down the toilet. But you're blaming the wrong people! Blame the douche bags who made promises to repay loans and then defaulted/LIED - they are the true criminals!
J. B. Schmidt September 03, 2012 at 05:38 AM
@Bren You never answered my question that has now been posed to you repeated times. Instead, the "concepts that counter what has been ingested are deflected, or ignored. " I will ask again. If the Democratic platform is not one of division but of unity, why are the separate races, ages, income levels and faiths segregated in to various rooms rather then bring them together as Americans?
J. B. Schmidt September 03, 2012 at 06:08 AM
@Lyle You are trying to promoting false assumptions. Wealth has always been an identifier of your current social position. However, until the progressive movement entered the US in full swing during the earlier 1900's, the citizens of the US never thought their station of life was received at birth. That was something a person had to accept the burden of and it was sold to them under the false premise that the rich put them their. That is a completely contrived premise. For it usually assumes a small portion of the upper class is responsible; when in truth, wouldn't any person of an income greater then yours be equally evil? Aside from my employer, which rich person is keeping middle class? Moreover, I can freely change employers, so which rich person is keeping locked in my class? If conservatives condemn those at the bottom, why did we allow them on stage? More importantly, why did they come on stage? If you are so confident that they all required assistance, please provide proof for that fact. Oddly enough it is ACA that is one of the biggest attacks on lower income individuals in a while.
J. B. Schmidt September 03, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Thanks Hoffa. I find it astounding that in the face of these great American's standing up as shining examples of American Exceptionalism, Lyle and Bren would rather divide us into separate groups based on brain formation and attack conservatives as having a malformed brain or some sort of PTSD. Not unlike a blog by Brian Carlson where liberals are attempting to coin 'empathy' as their territory. As if the sole possible path for empathy is via some government entity. I have bit my tongue to a long time, because on some level I actually respected Lyle. That comment makes him nothing more then an elitist thumbing his nose at the proletariat.
J. B. Schmidt September 03, 2012 at 06:22 AM
@GearHead All the old white guys go to the Ethnic Council, while the other race groups are in their own meeting, and determine how those races can best be used as pawns.
J. B. Schmidt September 03, 2012 at 06:29 AM
@Lyle Isn't the main reason social mobility appears better in Europe because that have less to distance to go? Since socialism has deteriorated the wealth generation ability of the individual, they have a lower top end to wealth. This can easily proven since the UK has a lower median income then the US. Thus if you cannot go as high in the UK as in the US; yet, the lower ends are the same, it only makes sense that the UK would appear to have greater social mobility since the gap between high and low is smaller.
Michael McClusky September 03, 2012 at 12:34 PM
@Hoffa Boy, are you blind to the fact that limitless corporate greed can be a detriment to the overall economy. The banks not only sold worthless securities to one another, they also sold them to their European and Chinese counterparts. We are talking about hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of dollars in transactions. The world was filled with toxic assets. When Lehman Brothers fell, it threatened to bring down all of those rotten banks with it. They were all filled with putrid assets. It was one big ponzi scheme. Hank Paulson, the US Secretary of the Treasury, certainly did not want to be involved with any bailouts. He warned them all that he wanted no part in their criminal activities. He eventually gave in because he felt it was for the good of the country. So did Bernanke. As regulators Paulson, Bernanke, and Geitner were complete failures because neither one of them saw this coming. The whole enterprise began because of deregulation and the repeal of the Glass-Steigal Act under Clinton. Without restraints, sometimes people do go over the edge for their own self-interest.
Lyle Ruble September 03, 2012 at 12:53 PM
@Luke...What precisely is "socialized failure"? If you are claiming that we have a structured society that promotes failure of certain people and groups, I would agree. This phenomena is contrary to the notion that anyone can succeed if the will is strong enough. I also agree that the message received from home is a powerful nurturing element. Much of the perception that is taught to the young comes from the direct experience of the caregivers and family. If that message is discouraging, then the young receive the message of the inescapably of social conditions prevails. You and I both have acknowledged that proper education of the young from birth to age 7 or 8 is critical to breaking long standing social dysfunction. The question rests with how to accomplish this task. Concerning the claims made by Bren and myself as to what neuroscience is adding to the knowledge of human perception and understanding is well documented. The study of PTSD has lead to new understanding and as the research continues, I am sure that much more will be revealed. We are beginning to answer the fundamental questions between nurture and nature. In my opinion, this is a good thing.
Jason Patzfahl September 03, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Condoleezza Rice and Mia Love were not allowed to speak during prime time so that it could be seen by millions of people because the GOP, while not inherently racist itself, is trying to cater to the bigoted, less-educated blue collar, middle/lower class white male who has yet to accept that our President is a (half) black man. The truth is that these people who will not vote for Obama simply because of the color of his skin are voting against their own interests by increasing their own taxes by $2,000 per year in order to give millionaires a $250,000 per year tax break, in hopes that they will then create jobs. Problem is we tried that before and it failed us, miserably.
Jason Patzfahl September 03, 2012 at 01:06 PM
And when the GOP tax plan calls for millionaires to pay half the tax rate of waitresses and construction workers, THEY are the ones creating a "war of the classes". And as far as I'm concerned, anyone willing to take away medical coverage for old people and the poor in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% has no "class"...
Lyle Ruble September 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
@J.B. Schmidt...Upward social mobility is judged on many variables. It is not just wealth generated, but it is living standard also. Although wealth and living standard are linked, they are two separate issues. Education plays a critical role in both wealth achievement and living standard. The northern European nations I cited, do a much better job at educating their populations and providing needed services such as healthcare. You have indicated that the upward mobility phenomena can be explained in the U.K. by a narrowing of the gap between economic classes. I think there is truth in that but it also is a clear indication that they have been able to equalize the living standard from lowest to highest, which we haven't been able to accomplish.
Lyle Ruble September 03, 2012 at 01:18 PM
@J.B. Schmidt....You're promoting the myth of American Exceptionalism. As far as the evidence that neuroscience is providing contributes to a greater understanding of why people do what they do and the positions they take. Is it the end all to answering all the questions, no it isn't. It does help delineate between the effective of nurture and nature.
Lyle Ruble September 03, 2012 at 01:31 PM
@J.B. Schmidt...What false assumptions am I promoting? Your time line and understanding of the Progressive Movement is certainly off. At the turn of the 19th century, 90% of the nation was involved in agricultural production. Most were born to the farm and expected to spend their lives as farmers. It is time to consider SES and who controls social mobility. Access to wealth is controlled by the wealthy. Those that become wealthy from a condition of lower class or middle class, is the ability to access education and capital. Who controls the capital? It's one thing working for someone else and working for oneself. Real wealth is gained through working for oneself. ACA impacts all and not just the lower classes. You must not read what people are writing about the lower classes if you don't think the conservatives are constantly scapegoating the poor and lower classes.
Nick Poulos September 03, 2012 at 02:35 PM
@JB: you miss Reagan!? well , we know that trickle-down didn't work, so why would you miss him? Further, today's Republican Party is in no way aligned with the Republicans from Reagan's time and prior. In fact, Reagan today might have to be a Democrat. As to the class warfare: please! the obviousness of that societal fact belies all the wasted time and ink spent on trying to prove it isn't true. Partisanship makes these posts frustrating, since very few people try to be constructive: it appears as tho' that insulting others is what most Patchers think this is all about. Now as to Ayn Rand: I came across this and thought I would share it: "The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are beguiling works of fiction.... which discard the ethical concepts that make life bearable. They make it seem so natural, so easy, so moral, to be utterly self-centered and greedy. Our most fundamental religious teachings - OUT. Service to the Nation - OUT. Aid to the poor and elderly, whether they are "worthy" or not - OUT. Selflessness-OUT. Altruism - OUT. By any reasonable ethical standard... taken as a whole these novels, and Rand's teachings, are staggeringly immoral books, presenting and ideology that appeals to American values but is simply NOT AMERICAN." "The consequences for America of an Ayn Rand victory should bring to mind the dystopian hell of Fritz Lang's Metropolis: w/ dull-eyed masses slaving away in the underworld to support the privileged classes."
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM
@Michael - As Hoffa has told you before, he's well aware of what happened and doesn't need a history lesson, thank you. Hoffa has researched the topic far beyond a single source PBS mocumentary, and probably knows far more than you. How about you try answering some of the questions that Hoffa posited to you for a change of pace! Don't worry, I won't be holding my breath, as Hoffa understands how the brainwashed are resistant to independent thought. What made those assets "putrid" / "toxic?" Gee, probably the FACT that people weren't making good on the promises that they made to others and were defaulting/LYING!!! Take off the blinders and wake up!
TaterSalad September 03, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Ask any, I mean any liberal if they are better off than they were four years ago! Ask for a simple yes or no, not a rambling spin answer that they will try to give you to "deflect" the question and answer. They can not and will not answer your question because they know, deep down that Barack Obama, their hero, has failed them.
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Jason = racist! All he apparently sees as being worthy of comment is the color of people's skin. And his assessment isn't even true! The GOP had one convention for ALL, irregardless of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, income level, etc. Unlike the Dems who like to divide/segregate their delegations into caucuses premised upon highly discriminatory characteristics - that's just plain SICK!!! And several people of color were given prime time speaking spots over the course of the GOP convention. I think that Jason was clearly watching a re-run of 2008's Dem convention!
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 03:12 PM
This is the epitome of exemplified ignorance and what liberal brainwashing does to a person - in all honesty, it's worse than what hard narcotic abuse does to a person.
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 03:15 PM
And there goes Nick, right on cue proving Cruz right once again - “They’re going to try to separate us into little groups, and try to scare everybody.”
Michael McClusky September 03, 2012 at 04:15 PM
@Hoffa These 'toxic' assets were bundled together in such a bizarre and incomprehensible fashion that the buyers and sellers had no idea what they were worth. The ratings agencies gave AAA scores to very dubious commodities, which was an important part of the scam. Furthermore, these practices were based on the belief that home values would forever increase in value- not decline. Wake up, the Wall Street wizards did not foresee the plunge.. Their models were based on past performances. Also, a very few of the wizards did see an inevitable disaster and tried to pull out before cataclysm. The whole thing was not just based on mortgages either. There were all sorts of other games being played, too.
James R Hoffa September 03, 2012 at 04:22 PM
@Michael - As I stated before, Hoffa doesn't need a finance or history lesson - he's well aware of what went on. But for some reason, you continue to ignore the FACT that irregardless of whatever Wall Street was doing, if people had made good on their promises and repaid the loans that they had taken out, there wouldn't have been any problems. Your unwillingness to accept this reality displays your preconceived bias in this matter in wanting to point the finger solely at Wall Street. Sorry, but that assessments flies in the face of basic economic principles - that demand is more powerful than supply and that the drug addicts will always be more culpable than the drug dealers. Take off the popular blame game blinders and wake up to reality!
Randy1949 September 03, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Oh heck, Nick, even I miss Reagan just a little bit. At least he was willing to raise taxes if the situation warranted it. He couldn't get elected by the GOP today -- too moderate.
Luke September 04, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Lyle, ""What precisely is "socialized failure"? If you are claiming that we have a structured society that promotes failure of certain people and groups, I would agree."" Then we agree. ""This phenomena is contrary to the notion that anyone can succeed if the will is strong enough."" That's where you drop the ball, Lyle. No individual is a mindless victim of fate. No one is labeled as a failure at birth, contrary to your perspective. Don't you see, Lyle, that you JUST MADE J.B. Schmidt's point? Lyle, the liberal message is that YOU ARE stuck where you are. Ironically, too much of the black population of the US had ingested that Kool-Aide, as I pointed out by turning your contrast of UK mobility as it compares to US mobility. Whole groups of people are now socialized to fail because they agree with you, Lyle. They believe your narrative. 50 years from now we will be struggling with the same problems in the black community, yet during that same period wave after wave of racial minorities will have come to the US, adapted, been integrated and become financially successful.
Luke September 04, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Lyle, ""This phenomena is contrary to the notion that anyone can succeed if the will is strong enough."" Lyle, I think you are conflating "will" and "desire." Everyone desires things, and often desires are in conflict. However, "will" is found where action takes place. A person who desires to better themselves but takes no action is not someone who had the will to do so. Perhaps someone took away his hope and confidence. ""I also agree that the message received from home is a powerful nurturing element. Much of the perception that is taught to the young comes from the direct experience of the caregivers and family. If that message is discouraging, then the young receive the message of the inescapably of social conditions prevails. You and I both have acknowledged that proper education of the young from birth to age 7 or 8 is critical to breaking long standing social dysfunction. The question rests with how to accomplish this task."" We pretty much agree. My point is that we go a long way towards accomplishing the task by providing a different narrative, The narrative is the one that blacks experience in some parts of the world outside our boarders. It is a message that enables.


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