I thought that, after the election of 2004, it would end. I thought that, with control of the White House, the Congress, the judicial branch of government, and ownership of the largest and most powerful media corporations ever to exist, the Republicans would finally stop whining, complaining, fussing about the liberal elites.
I was wrong. In spite of the fact that Republicans control the entire federal government, control the business world, and control the media, they're still running on at the mouth about some mysterious cabal of liberals that controls everything, and won't let the poor, poor Republicans have their way.
What's the evidence the Republicans have that there is a big, bad, dangerous liberal elite that controls society? Lattes. That's right: The Republicans say that lattes prove that liberals are the elites.
What's a latte? Well, it's coffee, plus a little cream and sugar. They serve lattes at Starbucks, and at gas stations, and in grocery stores.
Somehow, the Republicans have whipped themselves up into a frenzy of outrage because Americans are drinking lattes. They say that it proves that liberals secretly control everything.
To be fair, there's also Volvo. And sushi. Republicans say that anyone who drives a Volvo, even if it's got over one hundred thousand miles on it, must be an elite. The same goes for sushi. If you've ever been to a Japanese restaurant, the Republican Party has you marked as a dangerous elitist.
Consider the backside implications of the Republicans' model of liberal elitism, and you'll see how ridiculous their whining about liberal elites really is. What the Republicans really mean to imply is this: Anyone who doesn't drive a Volvo and prefers to drink their coffee black must be a powerless outsider. In the Republican model of elitism, people who prefer to eat steak are the victims of liberal elites. It doesn't matter if these people drive Lexus luxury sedans, or eat at five star restaurants, or have thousand-dollar coffee machines at home -- Republicans insist that these people as persecuted dissidents, raging against the powers that be. They say that liberals have it lucky, because liberals eat sushi, and Republicans have it tough, because they eat filet mignon.
Who are the real elitists?
Two can play that game. If we are to decide who the elites are according to the artifacts of people have in their lives, what can we say about members of the Republican Party? Well, if one web site we recently found is any representation of the real power behind the Republican Party, it's the GOP that is the center of snobbish elitism. Here's what the Republican set is buying to celebrate defeating the Democrats at the polls: Precision-rolled, handcrafted cigars from a private stock, with rich Havana seed, wrapped in gold foil and placed in a handmade "rich" heirloom oak case adorned by a special etched plaque, surrounded by royal blue satin.
The advertisements for this GOP victory heirloom cigar set encourage Republicans to "blow smoke in the face" of Democrats "as a reminder" of who won control of the federal government in the 2004 elections. That hardly seems like the kind of thing a group of powerless victims would do. No, instead, blowing smoke in the faces of one's vanquished opponents seems quite... elitist.
The same company is making a big profit selling Republicans a "classy" pocketwatch on a thirteen inch-long gold chain with a "W" watermark and swirled etching to commemorate the victory of George W. Bush.
Well, lah-de-dah! Pulling a pocketwatch on a long gold chain from one's waistcoat and flipping open the cover with swirled etching in order to check the time doesn't seem like the sort of thing a lot of hard-working Americans would do, does it? It seems much more like the behavior one would expect from a rich, upper-class snob.
Let's compare, now: On the one hand, there are people who like to put milk and sugar in their coffee. On the other hand, we have people who are smoking heirloom, hand-made cigars from a private stock in gold foil, while playing with their precision-etched gold pocketwatches. Who's the elite here? It sure isn't the average American who just wants some caffeine in the morning to prepare for a day of hard work.
The real source of elitism
Of course, it isn't really the little material objects of a political party's supporters that determine who the real group of elites is in a society. Material objects are mere signs of power, not the power itself. To determine who the elites in American society really are, we need to look at who has the power.
The conclusions are obvious. Republicans control the government, they own the mass media, they are the executives of the largest business powers ever to exist, and they even control the centers of power in American religion.
What's more, the Republicans have been found to use their power in one area to buy even more power in the other areas. For example, the Bush Administration has been caught illegally paying hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to Republican "journalists" like Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus - just to get these columnists to do what they were already doing, using their power in the American media to promote partisan Republican policies during election campaigns. There's no liberal media in evidence in this news - just the purchase of once-independent media by the Republican federal government.
What do liberals have control over? Well, they still get to make their own coffee in the morning, and they might go out to a local Japanese restaurant every now and then. But, that's about it. Liberal elitism is restricted to the liberals' persnickety habit of always insisting that the government allow them to exercise their constitutional freedoms. Of course, the Republicans in government have increasingly refused to comply with those demands.
Today's Republicans are the most powerful political group ever to exist in the history of humanity. They control the largest collection of wealth every known. They possess the most far-reaching networks of communication media ever created. They are the masters of the most devastating military forces ever assembled, including thousands of nuclear weapons ready to be unleashed at their orders.
Republicans are the clear power elites, and any other kind of elite is a mere fantasy.
So, the next time you hear Republicans fussing and whining about liberal elites, you know what to do: Tell them to take their GOP victory cigars and stuff it.
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