Monday, November 10, 2008

Now that this election is over, I feel a bit more free to expound on my thoughts that occurred during the campaigns. This is by no means the most important of the issues I heard, it is just the first one that popped into my thought process this morning.

In response to questions of why she had not received a passport until that year, and never been out of the country, Sarah Palin replied as such.

"I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world.

No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world."

-Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric - link

I wonder what she considers "that culture". Is this another underhanded attempt to bring in that nasty "e" word and say that only those who are elitist can travel the world? I, personally, find this rather repugnant.

Mrs. Palin, while in graduate school I was earning $900 per month at one job, and another $70 - $120 per month at a second job. I still managed to pay for my own schooling and all of my expenses, get myself a passport, purchase my own backpack, and send myself on minimalist expeditions for months at a time to Costa Rica, India, and Thailand.

Does that make me an elitist? Do I suddenly sip martinis over lunch and trade stock tips with my arms-dealer buddies?

Now here is the most important part of this whole process, get ready. Do you want to know what I did learn while I was in all of those places that applies to this situation?

I learned that, in fact, I was an elitist.

We in America who can eat every day, afford a car, drink water out of the faucet, purchase shoes, and live a life mostly free of parasitic diseases and water-borne illnesses, we are elitist.

We are elite among the world's population who subsist on $1 per day or less. That's 1.1 billion people according to the World Bank.

We are elite among those who consume less than $2 per day. That's 2.7 billion people.

Out of the 6.1 billion people alive at the time of this survey, that is 45% of the world living on $2 per day or less.

Two dollars? Really? I probably loose more than that down couch cushions every month.

That is how I know that I am an elitist.

I am an elitist, and anyone who has the capability to read this blog is too. I hope we can all recognize that fact, and work with the humble understanding of our true position in the world, and therefore our responsibility to that world.

Perhaps Mrs. Palin could have learned this as well.


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Jake and Jess said...

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Jake and Jess said...

jonathan -

i just sent you a message. excited to speak with you soon!

- Jess

Anonymous said...

amazing. Thank you for the light you shed on so many things!
Kate Reuther