Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Middle Class only country

For those of us who are unfortunate enough to subscribe to the White House email updates, a certain trend may have become apparent. The repetitive emails drill into the minds of a few of us, driving us a little insane by the constant single message that seem to represent everything that the Obama administration stands for. This is the focus on the middle classes, with a constant stream of emails telling me about how the greatest man alive, Barack Obama, is single handedly creating a middle class America, full of respectable professionals.

He wants change, as everything may have noticed, but, in reality, is determined to focus that change on forcing everyone into his favourite class range, and then making everything really easy for those who do make it there. It is almost as if he wants to create a middle class utopia, standing tall as a final fulfillment of the American dream.

The middle class is the comfortable class, with not too much and not too little. They have good mortgages, hold down professional jobs like teaching or practicing medicine, and from what Barack would regard as the foundations of the economy.

In fact, it is the class that people really want to enter into, or at least be part of. People dream of being really rich, but know that they best that they can hope to achieve is a house in the suburbs with 2 and a half children, so this is the real American dream. Although, to be honest, this is a dream shared by people all over the world, as the American dream has really spread all over the world, even if we don't call it by that name.

The question, really, is why I am I getting so annoyed at this continued focus on something that is actually a good idea? Why do I care about getting emails about a frankly nice man trying to create a rather lovely country in which to live? Supporting the middle class, and creating the opportunity for everyone to enter the middle class, seems like pragmatic, common sense approach to doing things, and we really should be standing in awe at another brilliant idea from the mouth of America's greatest President.

The reason that this message really grates on me is because of how it bares no resemblance to reality. Politicians are not known for being the most down to earth people, with American politicians particularly known for thinking life is one policy away from a fairytale, and trying to create a middle class utopia is a clear example of it. No matter how much you think about endless miles of beautifully kept suburban lawns, full of college graduates who are building a life for themselves, it does not mean that it makes an ounce of sense.

You see, people are too diverse, too brilliantly strange and unique, to all fall into the category of middle class. Not everyone will go to college, because college is completely useless to some people, and not everyone will work as a lawyer or salesman, because that is not a sustainable country. To only focus on the middle class would be to ignore people who valuable workers in industries that don't really fit into the stereotypical category.

This is not to say that everyone should not share in a country's prosperity, but simply that everyone is meant to live a very different life to the man who is living next door, and Obama dream seems a little too uniform, a little too top-down, to be something that could ever work. It doesn't seem like something that is even desirable. Even the notion of class seems a little old fashioned, if we are meant to be a world that accepts people for who they are. Lets stop lumping everyone together into a group, and get over boundaries that we set ourselves.

Obama, a man who was elected on the promise of change, has yet to make the one change that will really make a difference. He is yet to make the change in mindset that the US government needs, and pretty much every other government in the west could also do with a does of. He needs to realise that the government is not a tool of social engineering, it is not the thing that is going to sort out all of man's problems. National government's certainly have a poor record to date.

Instead he needs to learn some humility, and stop talking about a dream that will never be a reality. Instead he should pursue a message and a hope that people can understand, a dream of honesty and integrity in government, combined with an honest effort to help people. That is the best that government can ever hope to do, and is the most they should ever try to do. And, if I get one more email saying something about building a big and bold middle class, I might just explode.

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