Go out for a drive to run any errand for an appointment, work or social function. Within a minute or two you may witness: Drivers riding your bumper when you are in the right lane going the speed limit (it’s illegal to also do it in the passing lane also) someone behind honking the horn at you for obeying traffic laws and stopping at yield signs, passengers throwing trash out of their window and a motorist or two with a sticker that says; F*%k YOUR FEELINGS! Over the past year I’ve taken it upon myself to start a personal science project of sorts. That being, to monitor aggressive and inconsiderate behavior by race, gender and socio economic status. Here is what I observed and heard testimony concerning second hand accounts: Bad motorist behavior ran fairly evenly across all of the above variables. The one common denominator I discovered was they were all lower educated and lower income drivers and passengers. As the lower income, Caucasian drivers were the ones with the hateful or passive aggressive decals. During this time, I never encountered drivers of cars like a Lexus or a Land Rover displaying aggressive or inconsiderate behavior on the road.
Wild news feeds, public outburst viral videos, public records mug shots display citizens with at a least a bachelor’s degree less than those without one. Hardly anyone tells a joke about a multi billion heir with a degree from an ‘ivy.’ No late night talk show references someone pulling up at a country club in a Rolls Royce. Those jokes and references are saved for those coming from the ‘ghetto’, trailer park, who’s home has exploded from another meth production gone wrong out in the countryside. No one ever witness a physical altercation at an upscale establishment in Beverly Hills. While it’s hard to count how many occur at Wal Marts all over America each year.
When it comes to paradigms like ethics, work ethic; it is the impoverished and lowly educated I’ve seen as the ones who stole, walked off jobs without notice or failed drug tests. There are a myriad of reasons there are stark behavioral differences which bear themselves out between social classes. We all know of the ‘nature vs. nurture’ argument presented decades ago. When it comes to the dichotomy between economic classes and their every day conduct, I believe it involves both variables. It’s a mode of upbringing where parents were not taught themselves proper protocol in sharing a world with other humans on a day to day basis. It’s a culture of resentment against those seen as having more, handed down by parents through generations. It’s a difference in biological, organic capacity to control emotions or intellect in a proper manner.
I once was a dogged advocate for taking the tax burden off of the poor. Of really ‘sticking it’ to the oligarchs who don’t pay their fair share in taxes, while using their wealth to influence policy that further enrich them. While also making the earnings gap between social classes the greatest in our nation’s history. I’d seethe at the thought of them using media to convince white, rural poverty they were on it’s side during elections. Only to install legislators who made those impoverished, that much more impoverished………………….and much more angry! With that anger being manifested in the most anti-establishment/government sentiment we’ve seen in generations. With that anger being stoked artificially against more upwardly mobile, educated whites, in some cases blacks, with intention.
Yet, this ‘science project’ of mine opened my perspective to the argument of perceiving society from a selfish oligarch’s view. A chilling thought floated into my mind over the past six months. What if these same selfish oligarchs had the same intentions I have involving treating humans……………humanely? Especially those less fortunate. What if somewhere along the way they observed the same behavior with the ‘lower rungs’ of society I had over the course of a year? No matter how much money or influence someone obtains they are still human and feel the same aggravations we experience in our day to day interaction with others. They have emotions and still form opinions off of those emotions. I’ve never gone out and interviewed members of the ‘Federalist Society.’ I don’t pretend to know what each individual billionaire thinks when they lie alone in the dark before bed. I do know what I think after my experience. I see a new perspective as to why some people could willfully neglect those seen as the most challenged among us. Even manipulate them to constantly vote against their interest. So my science project is over and I have no science fair at which to present it, save for the world at large…….where the stakes are much higher than a grade! They couldn’t be higher for me personally…………………as I determine how I use this observation, in weakness or strength. Here’s hoping I’ll choose the ‘most merciful man.