Is there an upcoming class war?

Listen to the rhetoric being spouted by both sides this midterm season, and you’d be forgiven for starting to think that there’s a revolution of some kind bubbling just under the surface.

According to the Republicans, the middle class will no longer stand for greedy Democrats spiking taxes, ruining our health care, and converting us to some kind of Communist dystopia that would have Karl Marx saying they’ve gone too far. According to Democrats, Republicans are just aiming for helping the top 1% at the expense of the bottom 99, and are blockading beneficial legislation (a long-term benefit for everyone) in the interest of winning an election (a short-term gain for Republican politicians).

Who’s right? Either of ’em?

To be honest, a full-on revolution of some kind would be pretty kickass. And it would show that there’s much less apathy going on than we’ve been told. Not to mention a revolution might be the only potential way to force some of the more radical changes that our political landscape so desperately needs. You can only do so much within the system before it’s time to get your hands dirty. Just ask the Founding Fathers.

That said, the odds of such a thing happening are pretty damn slim. Americans are a lazy bunch, and outrage is a lot more satisfying than action. Doubt me? Rush rose to true supremacy during the Clinton era, and Ann Coulter put herself on the map by writing a book about the various Clinton scandals. Olbermann exploded onto the scene by railing against Bush during Katrina, and it’s not like Al Franken got where he is by calmly explaining the virtues of Democratic policies.

An election won’t change the world. Obama’s done lots of amazing things, as has the party, but I’d be willing to bet most of our daily lives haven’t changed a whole hell of a lot. We still go to work, we still pay too much for gas, we still get pissed off when we have to get up an hour early for work so we can shovel our car out from under six feet of snow. It wasn’t like Obama got elected and suddenly we were all millionaires driving rocket cars that ran on liquid hope. Change is a gradual thing, not shaped by a single election.

Since we generally feel held down by our lives (who among us hasn’t thought about what great things we’d be doing if it weren’t for some external factor?), it’s immensely satisfying to look at the people in power as the bad guys, to scream and holler at them for making our lives so terrible. And not just our lives, but everyone’s lives! The world would be cinnamon and gravy if it weren’t for those damn people in power!

It’s catharsis.

Even if it were true that the middle class were overcome with a wave of outrage, we’ve seen outrage. It manifests in little more than marches, signs, and generally uninspiring voter turnout. Americans love a display, but hate getting down to the nitty gritty and doing the work. We’d rather put bumper stickers on our cars and yell into the phone on talk radio shows than write and call Congressmen or (god forbid) actually run ourselves. That’s too much work. We may or may not vote, but by god we’ll put on a good show.

There’s no class war happening, but you can bet your ass it’s going to look like one.

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3 responses to “Is there an upcoming class war?

  1. Saying a revolution would “kick ass” strikes me as pretty strange. Revolutions are bloody and violent, and they install regimes based on pretty shaky foundations.

    In no instance I can think of (and no, the first American Revolution doesn’t count) has a people risen up and violently overthrown their government, with the outcome resulting in a stable and providential state. Not to mention lots of people die.

    Is this really what you’re advocating?

    • I’m not talking about a “complete dismantling of the government” kind of revolution, with the guns and the wars and the placing of a shifty group in power. I’m a little surprised you’d think I’m advocating that kind of scenario, frankly.

      I like to think there are options in between “vote for candidate you like” and “start killing people”.

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