Currently there is an immensely successful book creating a phenomena across the nation called "50 Shades of Gray" that literally, not metaphorically fetishes wealth. In it a young woman gives herself over to the Sadomasochistic fantasies of a wealthy millionaire in return for his largesse and attention. This is not merely a passing cultural phenomena, it as an expression of the continuing American zeitgeist which is playing itself out in Presidential politics.
There has always been a voyeuristic obsession in American culture with the habits and idiosyncrasies of the very rich. One need only look at the eighties when "Dynasty" and "Dallas" ruled the Nielson ratings. Nowadays, we watch Kardashians and various Real Housewives with the same levels of projection and disapproval. We simultaneously see ourselves in their shoes while dwelling on the comfort that we would somehow behave differently. We need look no further than Donald Trump, a man whose continued celebrity and political aspirations result from nothing other than his mostly inherited wealth and his arrogance, whose only coherent political statement is "birtherism". But this obsession has entered a new phase wherein we do not merely obsess about the behavior of the very rich, we elect them to high office. Both FDR and JFK came from wealth but enacted policies that benefitted the poor. We have entered a new era. We need look no further than the gubenatorial elections of Snider in Michigan and Scott in Florida to see there is a new emphasis on wealth being the de facto qualification for governess. There is a creeping sense that in amassing tremendous wealth is a distinguishing quality that entitles an individual to higher office.
I would call this the "Sugar Daddy Phenomena" in which wealth is equated with wisdom. As long as we do not displease the said individual, he will perhaps share his largesse as does the title character in "50 Shades of Gray". This is not metaphorical. It is a political creed. When multimillionaire Mitt Romney is criticized for the practices that allowed him to accumulate his massive wealth, the cry is "envy". Those who criticize are simply whining about the fairness of capitalism when they are too inadequate or lacking in ingenuity to accumulate similar amounts of wealth. Nevermind the fact that his business career is held as the prevailing reason for voting for him. The implicit argument is that we are somehow inferior and in spite of huge policy disagreements, we should embrace him because of his success. What is the remedy for this in the Citizens United era where millionaires enjoy an unprecedented level of influence? Well, the first step is to understand the otherness of these individuals. While many of us would love to have the problems of the rich, would we really like to be Sheldon Aldeson or Foster Friess? These are some very odd individuals. Even using the "have a beer with them" criteria that has become such a litmus test in presidential contests, in this case forget about it. Romney doesn't drink. In fact he would not even share a cup of coffee with you. That is not in itself a discrediting distinction. But one has to ask oneself, if I had all that money would I never want to have a sip of alcohol or coffee? What is perhaps more relevant is the fact that the job of these millionaires and billionaires is to maintain and preserve their wealth. What we need to educate the mass of American people is that they have no such wealth. Rather those wealthy mens' wealth would be preserved at the expense of the very programs and services that most of us need to survive. It is all well and good to fantasize about having unlimited resources. What we have to realize is that we are not those people. All we can ask for is a chance to make ends meet and be given the opportunity to ever so gradually improve our lot, and maybe watch those people on tv.