How does wealth affect attitude?
Smileycreek and I were talking about a ton of subjects this weekend...just like every weekend. Interestingly, for a number of different reasons, the subjects of society, cultures and entitlement came up over and over in various ways. I won't go into details, however one thing we discussed was wealth and attitude.
Where we live we are in the minority in terms of our political and social...and just plain how to be in the world...attitude compared to the majority. This difference shows up all the time in so many ways. One of these ways, I would swear, is I can tell the political bent of someone by the way they drive...or so I think. It's all in the way they are affecting others.
When a person driving a car won't yield the right of way to me when I'm in a crosswalk, I think to myself "Republican" knowing full well there is no way I could actually know that. When a person who isn't pretty darned old drives 5-10 miles under the speed limit thus forcing a line of cars behind them to do the same, I think to myself "Republican."
Why do I do this? Because this style of driving clearly is controlling and forces others to capitulate to the driver. It seems to all be about being in control of others...or maybe just plain disregard for how others are affected. I dunno.
However, where we live the majority of wealthy and influential people are Republican. Is there a correlation at all...or is my silly internal game of assigning the attitudes and behaviors of car drivers to followers of a political party as totally ridiculous as I believe it to be?
Even so, I still think "Republican" when I'm pushing a shopping cart full of groceries across the Safeway parking lot and I have to come to a sudden halt to let a car pass whose driver I can tell has no intention of letting me pass. They clearly feel more important than me and drive accordingly. It is so obvious they feel entitled to move along completely unfettered while simultaneously expecting me to alter what I'm doing to accommodate them. Even in a parking lot, I can tell this easily by the way they are driving and the fact they won't even look at me. It's a very palpable attitude.
I bring up our Safeway parking lot as an example for another reason. Just two days ago I was starting to park my car in a parking space I'd waited to let traffic pass. Suddenly a SUV just swooped in and took it. I parked elsewhere. I then walked up to the window of that SUV and asked, "did you become selfish or were you born that way." The guy was pissed of course. He asked why I'd asked him that. I told him it was clear what I was getting ready to do and that he selfishly took the parking spot. He said he never saw me. A person that happened to witness it said, "yes you saw him, I watched you look at him and then take that spot." The guy then admitted it was true and said, "well I don't care, I got it."
This man lied about not seeing me and then could care less that he was busted. All he cared about is that he got his way...tough shit if he lied about it. I thought to myself, "Republican." The car he was driving happened to be a Lexus SUV. Obviously I have no idea if he was a Republican.
I have definitely experienced people of wealth feeling entitled to getting their way. I've also definitely experienced wealthy people being less trustworthy and far more deceptive and manipulative than regular salt of the earth folks. It truly seems to me wealthy people consider lying to merely be a tool...a tactic to use to get what they want rather than something that's unethical or plain wrong.
I've become friends with younger people who've come from wealthy families growing up with privilege that have an attitude of entitlement simply because of that fact, though they haven't accomplished anything of real intrinsic worth yet themselves. One of these friends from my past noticed how generous, caring and helpful I am by nature and literally told me it was a deficit and the wrong way to be.
I always wonder if my experiences are legitimate or happening just because I attract them into my life. I'm not kidding! I always ponder this. I do absolutely know that what I think and conclusions I make are suspect because I know I'm just making it all up anyway. I don't really believe my experiences are likely to be much more than just that...what I experience. I don't know if they have any relevance to others at all...or if others have similar experiences for that matter.
Well smileycreek found this fascinating video by way of Andrew Sullivan's blog...The Dish. I think you'll all agree it's worth a look...it's just a tad under 9 minutes long. The results of a series of some 30 research studies do explain my experience in the real world regarding drivers.
You'll also see my little game of assigning those with entitled driving habits to Republicans is in fact just that...a silly game. I really boils down more to feeling like you're on top and in the drivers seat (pun intended)...primarily due to wealth, no matter what political bent you have.
But I do have a far better than even chance of being right when I think "Republican" regarding the driving habits of individuals where I live simply due to the fact there are more of them and they are wealthier than the bulk of local Democrats.