A little political pontification
I like to keep my blog focused on feminism, particularly the theoretical parts of the movement, simply because current events depress me too much.
As time goes on, and the economy worsens, I’m full of this rage. It makes no sense, generally, and it’s completely directionless. But it’s there. And I catch myself, frequently, wanting to hit someone who bemoans how much it costs to fill up their new Accord.
I guess it is related to feminism, in a way, because I have little pity for those unwilling to look past their own privilege. Sometimes, I think that my anger with gender relations is so tied up with my rage at classism that I have a hard time pinpointing exactly why I am angry.
With more and more people falling out of the middle class, I’m filled with anything but pity. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been here, in the lower classes, ever since that day my father walked out and fought tooth and nail over every last penny with my ex-homemaker mother. So when someone remarks how much their life sucks because they cannot take their kids to Disneyland this year, I just want to say, “so what? I haven’t been out of state since the 90s” But I keep my mouth shut.
That’s what we do, the working classes, we keep our mouths shut. We’re told that it can always be worse. That tomorrow we might not have a house. And it’s true, really. My family has lived beyond it’s means for years, and something as simple as me losing my scholarships, loans, or job would make my mother unable to pay the mortgage.
But please, don’t talk to me about new cars and gas mileage. I just don’t give a flying fuck. I’ve had the same car since I was 16 (which I bought to get to work on time, to be able to drive myself to my out-of-district school I tested into, and to be able to go for tutoring that I paid for myself) and it’s never had good gas mileage. The first thing I look at when I buy something is price. It always comes down to money. Everything in my life is ruled by the dollar, simply because I don’t have enough and I never really did.
And so when others, the middle class families that come to my cash register, make small talk about how it’s hard to “make ends meet” with keys in their hands for Hondas and Cadillacs and Lexus, I want to sneer.But I keep it inside, and I smile.
As the economy worsens, I take some sort of sick glee in the fact that maybe those with agency, the middle classes and above, will finally know what’s its like to have to budget. Maybe they’ll think about how it feels to grow up without piano lessons, gated neighborhoods, and labeled clothing. Maybe they’ll just stop being so fucking smug about how the lower classes are poor and stupid and bigots, and that’s why we never get ahead.
Because, you see, it’s never enough. I’ll never be the top of my class in so long as I have to work and live in a house that is more like a boxing ring. I’m not always on time to job interviews and things because my car is ten years old. I don’t have nice shoes and straight creases in my pants and I can’t gush about my new Coach purse.
And the lack of such things makes me bad, makes me wrong, makes me stupid. Nobody really gives a shit about how and why the girl who sits in the front and gets the highest grades on tests gets B+s because she can’t get the points for regular attendance. Nobody thinks that maybe my shirts don’t fit well because I can’t afford ones that do. Nobody cares that the reason my health is bad, I’m out of shape, and I eat greasy shit is because I can’t afford doctor’s fees, gym memberships and fresh produce. Nobody thinks that when I can’t make it to so and so’s party it’s because I don’t have the time for anything but survival some days. Nobody thinks that anything I do and say and think is rational, because I’m just another faceless member of the lower class, and I’ve always been like this.
When the politicians take their pulpit, and preach about change, I’m the spoilsport. They say that I should be happy for compromise. Bullshit. I know good and well that when compromise happens, it’s always me and mine that are left behind. I never had power, and if I ever do, it will be because I’ve worked fifteen times harder than anyone else to get it.
Then those same politicians sell out. Their slogans are empty, like always, but nobody looks at me and mine and says that we were right. They bemoan that they should have known things that we knew all along. We’ve always known that our purpose in life is to be used and discarded. Empty faces on cash registers, in cubicles, shuffling from job to job (never a career) in the futile search for someone that gives a shit about the children we have to go home to watch, the doctors we have to see for our stress-induced ulcers, and the houses we clean ourselves.
And the middle-class campaigners on campus will ask me to vote for their beloved Democrat. They’ll call me stupid when I say I won’t. I was told never to settle for second best, so I’m not going to. And if McCain wins, well, that’s your politician’s damn fault. You have all the time in the world to understand the lower class, to reach out to us, to comprehend this repressed rage, and you won’t. You haven’t for decades, so it’s not like you’re doing anything other than what I expect of you, which is nothing.
We, well, we just live. We don’t have time for politics and campaigns and taking off time to vote. I’m thankful for mail-in ballots, otherwise I’d miss my next deadline for a paper, I’d arrive late to work, or I’d have to drag myself away from the couple of times a month I have enough money and time to act like I have a life.
Yeah, it could be a lot worse. It could also be a lot better. Don’t expect me to kiss your fucking righteous ass when you begin to understand the conditions that I’ve lived my entire life in.