Understanding Elitism for non-Elites

An “elite,” by definition, is a select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities, and “elitism” is the behavior or attitude of people who think that they are elites.

I’ve been trying to get my head around how Donald Trump was elected President this past Tuesday and filmmaker Michael Moore has had the strongest influence on my thinking.   He predicted prior to November 8th that upper Midwest blue collar Democrats would abandon their party and vote for Trump because they were rebelling against elitism in our culture and especially in our government.   While the media elites want me to believe that “uneducated white men” motivated by racism, or a weak candidate in Hillary Clinton are responsible, Moore’s words ring the truest to me.   Here are the numbers.

When Obama defeated Romney in 2012, whites without college degrees voted 61% to 36% in favor of Romney.  These people are the white working class.  In 2016, that same group voted 67% to 28% in favor of Trump over Clinton, an increase of +6% and the greatest margin since 1980 when another populist candidate, Ronald Reagan, shocked the world.  The media’s narrative that racism had anything to do with Trump’s victory makes absolutely no sense based on the data.  Media elites are asking you and I to believe that a significant American demographic was more motivated by racism in an election featuring two white candidates than they were when a white Romney ran against our nation’s first black president.  Sorry, but THAT DOG DOES NOT HUNT.

So, what does this mean?  It means that the Democratic Party, the party that heralds itself as the party of the working class is no longer that party, at least in terms of the white working class.  White working class people are now Republicans, 67% to 28%, and Donald Trump is their new champion.   So, which is the party of the elites?  Well, frankly speaking, both parties are chock full of elites and especially in the upper echelons but with Trump’s election, the non-elites have seized control of the Republican Party, at least for the moment.

Do you remember the Saturday Night Live sketch “White Like Me”?  In that skit, Eddy Murphy goes undercover as a white man and discovers that he is treated entirely differently.  I have had the exact same experience with elites.  I have spent most of my life as a working blue collar stiff and I have been proud of it.  In 2012, at the age of 48 I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree and became a teacher.  In 2016, I earned my first master’s degree in mathematics education and like Eddie Murphy I have experienced a different reality since then because elites have made the mistake of thinking that I am one of them.  Like the bank executive in the SNL sketch, one elite, a former principal of mine, sat me down and in an attempt to curry favor with me, told me that they thought I was one of the smartest people in the math department.  They wanted me to know that my blue collar personality wasn’t good enough to hide the truth from their eyes, that I was highly intelligent and part of the elite class in the school implying that most of my fellow math teachers were not.   They were hoping to win my favor through flattery but what they actually did was destroy every last ounce of respect that I had for them.  That exchange taught me a few things about elites that I never fully realized before.  1) They rank people based on perceived intellect and 2) They think that we crave their approval.   What unmitigated arrogance! Unfortunately the education field is full of these people.

Everybody needs to be judged fairly as a result of their own behavior but based purely on probability, the next time you sit down across the table from a school administrator or a teacher you are probably staring an elite right in the face.  If your child is in trouble or struggling in school they will be thinking that you aren’t a very good parent.  Of course this wouldn’t be happening to little Johnny if they were their parent, no, not a chance because they are an elite.  If you don’t have a college degree and you are white, they will be thinking that you are probably one of the poor ignorant people who voted for Donald Trump.  You were too stupid to realize that you were voting against your own best interests, “You poor thing, you.”  If you belong to a racial minority they will be looking at you with eyes full of pity because you have been the victim of “white privilege” and are in need of their help because, of course, minorities don’t earn things on their own, they only succeed when they get help from elites, “You poor dears.”  Upon finding out that you are college educated and a professional you will be treated to smug compliments like “Good for you!” as if being successful in that way is a complete surprise to them.  A non-elite of any ethnicity walks into an upper class clothing store, the next thing you know, clerks and security are keeping an eye on you because, of course, you are there to steal, you can’t possibly afford what they have to offer.   Do you need some information from an elite?  They talk to you like you are a child.  So thoughtful are they in their verbal presentation, dramatic pauses, lofty tones, the putting on of “airs.”  You get the impression that they are putting more effort into listening to themselves speak rather than talking to your face.  They are excited to hear their own voices because at any moment something historically brilliant might drip from their lips to water the ears of the ignorant.

In the end, I don’t know that the election of Donald Trump will have any positive impact on the lives of non-elites.  We will have to wait and see.  One thing I do know is that for at least one day in the lives of American non-elites they were able to lift the collective middle fingers on both of their hands and as Michael Moore said, give the entire system of elites the biggest blue collar F.U. the world has ever seen.

 


A friend of mine dubbed me “The voice of reason in a very unreasonable world” which I am flattered by because I am less than that.  Having said that, if you enjoyed my writing I invite you to scroll to the very bottom of this page where there is a button labeled “Follow”.   If you press that button you will receive a notification whenever this blog is updated with new posts.  Thank you for reading.  

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