Friday, February 19, 2010

The Dangers of Class Warfare

I am patiently waiting, flipping through channels, and watching Olberman or Maddow closely. I squirm uncomfortably as their guest talks about how the offered government health care program isn't big enough. I sit through this in anticipation of one thing: The Blame Game. How long before Joe Stack's attack on the IRS building in Austin is blamed on the Tea Party movement, conservatives, or Republicans? Somehow, it didn't trickle through last night, but I don't expect it to be long.

If you actually read Stack's note, which admittedly gives him more attention than he is due, you'll see that there is an entirely different psychological issue going on here. Joe Stack embodies the dangers of class warfare that are so easily stoked by populist rhetoric from politicians who are from the very class they seek to vilify.

Rich is bad. Poor is good. The wealthy must have committed evil deeds to reach their comfort. The poor are blameless and have been victimized. This is harmful talk. It guts the very "American Spirit" that used to be valued above all things. The "rags to riches" story is no longer the "American Story." Instead, the poor are told that they will always be poor unless the government helps them by tearing down the rich.

Joe Stack rails against the wealthy CEOs that get the tax breaks that he thought he deserved. He is bitter that the government that promised to go after the rich goons is instead helping them rebound from a market disaster. I have no doubt that Stack was insane from the start, but what happened here is he developed a motive.

I do not "blame" the populist talk for what Joe Stack did. Joe Stack is an embodiment of a danger that we all need to recognize, but there is little reason to say that rhetoric caused violence in and of itself. I just hope that the next time millionaire Obama puts on his Robin Hood cap, he knows that he is building an artificial wall between the haves and the have-nots. I think he does.


  1. This post evokes so many comments that I was unable to respond when I first read it. Hope you post again on this topic when more time avails. Schedules, the snow, and all.

    Active times of year on political blogs seem to be July, Sept-early Nov, and Jan. Not sure how March - May fares, but June is pretty absymal with school letting out. Heavy snow has added tasks to everyone's schedules.

  2. Hmm, comments attacking me or just "on the subject"? Ha ha.

    I have an unwritten contract with you the readers of one post a day, even if it is just to say what's on my mind. Some times I'm more riled up than others, and you'll get more posts during those periods. Thanks for reading!