The Race to Second Class

There is much to admire about Europe.  Europeans enjoy public transportation that takes them almost everywhere for a reasonable amount. They have the best health care in the world (maybe Japan is better than some) and all residents are included. They live in clean and safe cities. They all remember their country’s proud pasts and try to forget the tyrannies and destructive wars that once raged.

Most of Europeans have made a choice about how they want to live their lives today, and everything else must fit into that mold. While these countries are tolerant of most visitors, they are picky about who gets to reside long term. Whether this is cause and effect or not, the growth rate of European economies has generally lagged the US for years.

Many American pundits gleefully point out how the American way and our form of democracy is so superior to any other country.  They pronounce that it is the basis for America’s wealth, power, and success.

This may not be the case. While the pluralism of America has undoubtedly played an important role, other factors like geographic separation, richness in raw materials, and a kind climate also have played an important role. But is that all?

What about education? What about the honor of work? What about the goal of property ownership for utility (or productivity) and not as an investment? What about public service as a duty and not a possibility for personal gain?

Our leaders once spoke of what could be (from hard work), and of a chance for all (mostly all, African Americans were not in this equation). Our leaders did not do the work for Americans but somehow they inspired Americans to do the work and reap the benefits later.

Today we seem to be in a race to become a second class nation. Our leaders are in it for what is good for them (their supporters and their friends) personally. Americans now believe what they see on television or the movie screen as reality and some how miss the message of hard work being involved. Universities graduate rather than teach. Students pay and then hang out rather than struggle to learn. Job seekers flit from one job to another if it will pay more, rather than work their way up. And when things go wrong, the blame spews forth so that it is clear “it’s not my fault”.

Is the Tea Party the answer? Will Republicans reform and assume prudent leadership? Is there any hope that Democrats can find the handle on fiscal responsible progressivism? I do not know but I do know all these groups are currently leading us to second class.

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6 Comments on “The Race to Second Class”

  1. hoboduke Says:

    We have never been focused on “class”. The genius of US is our acceptence of every legal citizen’s right to pursue their contributions and success. I don’t care if we are considered 2nd class or no class. What I do care, is the nonsense about it’s not fair some people win and some people lose. Nobody in our country is cast out to die. But some people do acquire wealth, and some just get by. Some people work harder and smarter than me. I don’t begrudge them success as if it steals from me. Let the people and future leaders be encouraged to dare to get ahead, and not wait for somebody to prop them up.

  2. Terrant Says:

    Good article. There is one point that I was wanting to make a comment.

    Job seekers flit from one job to another if it will pay more, rather than work their way up.

    This problem is just as much of the fault of the companies as it is of the employees. There is an overall mindset among both employers and employees that maximizing profits is the holy grail. When an employer can dump employees to make itself look good to the stock holders, employees do not feel they owe their employers any more than a 2 weeks notice when something better comes around. Unfortunately, loyalty between employers and employees is a thing of the past.


    • Terrant, You make a valid point. The lack of commitment does seem to be both ways and that is sad, and even more importantly, the lack of commitment robs both the company and the worker of the chance to build something. The company misses the chance to grow innovatively, for example, and the individual misses the chance for self development associated with doing.

      Thanks for commenting


  3. Hoboduke, thanks for your comment, although I do not agree with where you are going… This country was built on the “commonwealth” and those who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps did so by using the infrastructure paid for by everyone else.

    Second class in this posting is not about social classes but rather a more complex quality of life. If the tide rises, it can raise all boats…

  4. hoboduke Says:

    infrastructure or support for everyone starts with a family, a church, and local government. Government is not some abstract object, consider how far governments failed and how often in civilizations centureis ahead of our country. It is the value of our citizens as much as the so called commonwealth. The common wealth is that I raised my sons to be in the military to help defend our country, when some citizens could not. The common wealth is that I mentored some people to suceed in real life, not in seeking handouts from the commonwealth. There will be no commonwealth, if “fair” distribution is meted out by some failed college professor that needs tenure to survive like Prez B.O. and his fan club.


    • 1. I agree that support begins with family, local community, and often friends. Church may play a role for some, but throughout history, progress has been made IN SPITE OF RELIGION.

      2. The common wealth is far more than the military. Canals, roads, airports, and even the internet come to us via government’s efforts on projects too big for any one of us.

      3. I salute you for your sons and your mentoring.

      4. Redistribution of wealth is a fact of life in any society. During the Bush years, wealth was taken from the middle and poorer classes and redistributed to the rich while the country slowly was going bankrupt and the social and physical infrastructure crumbled. So far, President Obama and the Democratic Congress have decided upon a more ethical and moral direction but have not stepped up to telling how it will be paid for. It is a sad commentary if the answer is the middle class and the poor must go without basics while the very rich get richer.


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