The most important reason to worry about the America’s growing inequality, the gap between rich and poor, is that it is likely to undermine the solidarity that democratic citizenship requires. To have a Representative Democracy, it is important to have its citizen’s live similar lives.
—–Consider this: The sky-box seating is recent history. The Dallas Cowboys introduced it in the 1980 and now those boxes are everywhere. Now with that,
Next time you are at a game, look to the brim of the stadium where the skybox floats and see the magnesium burn reflect back to you. You see no human being as far as you can tell in that box. Moreover, as you eat your greasy mustard hot dog with your Pepsi or coke among a crowd, cheering and screaming. You notice something, everyone there is on very similar social-economic statues. There is no great degree of variation. Before the 1980’s, rich and poor alike, for once, in the mist of rain-snow-sleet-heat-cold-shine, for one moment those classes came together– shoulder to shoulder– cheering, clapping, starting or continuing a crowd wave. In those moments, they talk. Talk about work, family, and struggles. Mutual understanding happens as well as some commonality forms (They already have one bond of commonality: their team). I think, skyboxes take away from this– You eat different foods talk to similar people, have differ vantage point, and no longer share in the delight or misery of the elements (rain, snow, shine) together.
— (You cannot tell me those high seats are worth it, can’t see anything!).
The same logic applies to city pools, city gyms, and public schools.
Private schools, gated communities, private security firms- all add to the upper classes reluctance to pay tax on services they no longer use. In addition, those who have little or modest incomes are left without and fall behind in qualified teachers, public facilities, and police departments.
I like to look at old pictures of Arkansas as well as the old houses here. Something struck me about the houses. All the houses prior to modern times had it focus at the front. Specifically, the porch was at the front. Arkansasians faced their neighbors. Now the porches are at the back– that includes a fence, hidden away. This may take away an opportunity for us to really get to know our neighbors and possibly be expose to ideas and opinions differ from ours and have to live around it (builds practitioners of compromise).–And greater mobility may add to this–
With the sky-box, back porches, private clubs, and private schools our neighborhoods and towns are just occupied space rather than a common community. Therefore, I think, all these small and insignificant things are contributing to the polarization we are seeing. We only talk to like-minded people–while villainize those who do not have to experience. At the same time, exacerbate our misunderstanding of each other’s logic and experiences– thus pushing society into more gridlock.