The Politics of Privilege

The almost daily revelations of private conversations between the political elite in this country have one common quality:  a sense of privilege, the notion that the rules simply don’t apply when you are special, when you are wealthy, when you are famous.  This shouldn’t surprise us but seeing it revealed in this way is a bit jarring.  

Maybe the most jarring thing is the matter-of-fact way in which it is discussed.  It isn’t even that Donald Trump thinks it is just fine to grope women or that Hillary Clinton thinks it is OK to mix private convenience with the public interest.  No, it is the way in which it is taken for granted that they can and should get away with it.

Sadly, I don’t think they are unique or even particularly reprehensible examples of the political animal in America today.  Maybe it is good that we can finally see the political and economic elites in this country as they really are.  I don’t think we can put the toothpaste back in the tube.  This is what we can expect going forward.

And do any of us even imagine that this is unique to national politics or even to government.  Is it particularly surprising that unpleasant and corrupt people often make their way to the top of powerful organizations?  Maybe the opposite would be more surprising?

But is there a way to change this?  Can we have a system in which the best and brightest rise to the top?  Maybe…but not under the current system.  We’ll discuss the idea of reform next time.


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