As we trudge back to campus and into our regularly scheduled programming after a summer of either hazy debauchery and soul-sucking selling out or of getting a pre-graduation look at one’s impending impoverishment from a high horse, I have a few things to say in response to a certain Record piece and in general about the attitude pervading America this election season.
What is so wrong with being rich? I’m sure by writing this column, I will be inviting ad hominem accusations that my article-cum-viewpoint is worth less (or worthless) because I’m clearly biased and just another poor little rich girl living large on Papa Wang’s dollar and how could I possibly know what it’s like to be anything but upper-middle class. Well, the majority of the poor in the United States don’t know anything about what it’s like to be poverty-stricken in a developing country either, but no one goes around yelling at them about it. (As an example, the little boy I sponsor in the Philippines sleeps on a mat in his one-room aluminum shack and has to borrow water from his neighbor.) This isn’t to say that the poor should not be rightfully concerned about the current distribution of wealth in this country or that they should not be rightfully concerned with getting more assistance and a better standard of living. But doesn’t anyone else think that a column title of “Class Denial at HLS: Poor People Defending Poor People” would seem ridiculous?
As everyone seems to acknowledge, and our hallowed institution is insistent on drilling into us, people are self-interested. Those who are near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder wish they had more. Those who are near the top also wish they had more. I don’t see the benefit or even the point of blaming one group for feeling the way that everyone does. There are some ridiculous characters among the super-wealthy who squander and flaunt their riches, but there are also plenty of crummy poor people. To make a judgment about someone based on what is in their bank account is prejudice, regardless if you think it’s too much or too little. Let’s dislike Ann Romney because she’s a vicious, bird-shirt wearing, horse-riding idiot, not because her husband happens to make it rain. This disdain for rich people that is now so easy and popular is probably one of the reasons for what Mr. Hamidi interprets as class denial. Apparently, a certain amount of scorn will be directed at you if you admit to coming from a wealthy background or if you are presumed to be unable to feel the pain of those in the lower class.
Class warfare is one of those talking points this year, but let’s not assume that it’s only about rich people grinding poor people under their diamond-studded boots. There’s also a palpable hostility against those with means that is dangerous and divisive. Let’s go back to a time where we hated people because they were short or Asian or Lou Dobbs instead of because they were rich.
Unrelated to this column, I would also like to take the space to remember those who fell on 9/11, and those who have fallen the decade after it.
Lisa Wang is a 3L. Her column runs every other Thursday.
The views in opinion editorials, columns, and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Record.