Friday, October 24, 2008

Again with the elitism

Now, I live just outside the city, so I actually do get a voice, but I found this piece from Daily Kos to be quite compelling.

Elitists and Colonists

Citizens McCain and Palin on "elitism":

WILLIAMS: Who is a member of the elite?

PALIN: Oh, I guess just people who think that they're better than anyone else. And-- John McCain and I are so committed to serving every American. Hard-working, middle-class Americans who are so desiring of this economy getting put back on the right track. And winning these wars. And America's starting to reach her potential. And that is opportunity and hope provided everyone equally. So anyone who thinks that they are-- I guess-- better than anyone else, that's-- that's my definition of elitism.

WILLIAMS: So it's not education? It's not income-based? It's--

PALIN: Anyone who thinks that they're better than someone else.

WILLIAMS: --a state of mind? It's not geography?

PALIN: 'Course not.

WILLIAMS: Senator?

MCCAIN: I-- I know where a lot of 'em live. (LAUGH)

WILLIAMS: Where's that?

MCCAIN: Well, in our nation's capital and New York City. I've seen it. I've lived there. I know the town. I know-- I know what a lot of these elitists are. The ones that she never went to a cocktail party with in Georgetown. I'll be very frank with you. Who think that they can dictate what they believe to America rather than let Americans decide for themselves. [Emphasis added.]

See, that's funny (and no, I don't mean the fact that Palin and McCain disagree on whether elitism is geographically determined, though that's also funny; and no, I don't mean the idea of a guy with 8 houses and a gal who just dropped $150K at Neiman and Saks chiding others for elitism, though that's funny too). John McCain says that people in Washington, DC want to force their beliefs on America. That's hilarious. Hell, that's the definition of irony.

You see, the half-a-million residents of the District of Columbia -- I'm one of them -- pay taxes, register for selective service, and otherwise bear all the responsibilities required of citizens of the United States. But unlike Citizens McCain and Palin, we don't have representation in the US House of Representatives. We don't have representation in the US Senate, unlike those lucky Arizonans who elected John McCain. And perhaps worst of all, our city/state government doesn't have the ability to pass its own budget without the approval of Congress and the President.

In other words, the District of Columbia is a colony. And even the haughtiest elitists of Georgetown have less ability to dictate their own city's governance than do the hardiest, simplest patriots of Wasilla.

But what's truly ironic about McCain's statement is that as a US Senator, he routinely has played God with the colony that is the District of Columbia. Because our elected city government doesn't have the ability to spend our own tax money without approval by Congress and the President, we've had our budget held hostage by a number of Senators -- people who live outside of our city -- who nevertheless like to use our city as a petri dish for their pet causes. Like when Congress forced school vouchers on the city against our will. Or when Congress attempted to repeal our gun laws, against our will. No other city or town in the country is subject to that kind of legislation -- but John McCain co-sponsored both those bills, dictating what he believed to the District rather than letting the District decide for itself.

So while I'm not the biggest fan of Sally Quinn and the Georgetown cocktail party set, it's pretty clear to me that we colonial Americans in the District of Columbia aren't forcing our beliefs on the rest of America -- we're getting John McCain's forced on us. That's elitism we can believe in, I guess.

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