Like forty-million others, last night we watched the presidential debate. We were an assorted bunch of native-born, immigrants, converts, and sceptics. Some always vote; some never vote; some wished they could vote. But in Orange County,CA (overwhelmingly Republican) in California (overwhelmingly Democrat) voting is a duty, but not a decisive act.
We sniped and sneered; cheered and despaired, as the occasion demanded and the debate unfolded.
Then on the TV screen appeared the numbers: anyone earning over about $69,000 is upper class. That brought silence—a pause to reflect. For up until that point we had been emoting about preservation of the middle class and its protection from venial others.
But as one of our team loudly pointed out: “As people working for the mining industry, we all make a lot more than that. Are we truly the upper class? Sure as hell does not feel like it.”
The ever-present Apple device was consulted. In particular, the numbers at this link: $69,000 is the median salary of an Engineer in Training according to their information.
The attitude of those watching the debate changed fast on this information. Suddenly all the debate seemed pointless: they are fighting about them, not us. We have good salaries, relatively secure jobs, health insurance (superb in most cases), and mobility. Most of the kids are in good schools. Although one mother noted the large classes, only to be shot down by the old Republicans who have consistently voted against initiatives to raise more money for schools.
So we drank some more, enjoyed the theatrics, marvelled at the Democrat peeping out from Romney, analyzed the double-talk, and agreed that it probably would not make much difference to us who won. Yet I wonder, and cannot help feeling a little uneasy about our luck, status, and comfort. Maybe that is just the Victorian Liberal, Beach Libertarian peeping out from me.