Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Survival of the Fittest, and Other Political Stuff

WARNING WARNING: if you don't like reading about the election, if my progressive views bother you, go away right now.

I had a conversation the other day with a woman who is supporting McCain, and I wondered what about his platform appealed to her. Turns out, it's his economic policies. Or rather, it's Obama's economic policies that are so reprehensible to her that she is voting against him. This thing of helping the less fortunate, of the wealthiest sector of America taking a tad less so that the working middle classes could stay above the poverty line--this bothers her. Not that she was unsympathetic to the plight of the less fortunate, she was quick to tell me.

"But really," she said, "why should my husband and I have to give up anything that we've achieved? To help out these other people who haven't been able to achieve what we have?"

And then she smiled and said, "After all, it is survival of the fittest, isn't it?"

Yes, indeedy. Let's just flush all them there low achievers down the toilet where they belong, gutter scum that they are. Meanwhile, we lofty ones who had the wisdom to be born to parents of privilege, we get to assume our rightful place up there in the pantheon of the gods. And by parents of privilege, I don't mean those who were born well or wealthy. No, just your average mom and dad, like mine, who stressed education and fostered my dreams.

Survival of the fittest as an ideological stance: somehow I don't think that's what Darwin had in mind. It is, quite frankly, a nauseating concept to me. I don't think I betrayed that to her, because I wasn't interested in a debate. But perhaps I blinked. Or maybe some part of her heard herself and she quickly said, "If you talk to my friends, they'll tell you what a good person I am and how much I care about the less fortunate."

Yes, indeedy. As long as they're not in my backyard. Or at my front door. Or anywhere near my piggy banks.

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