America’s Caste System

On June 16, 1858, at the Republican State Convention in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln delivered his House Divided Speech: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  His message focused on the scourge of slavery, but the truth of his message is universal.

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.”  [Matthew 12:25]

It’s 150 years after the Civil War, and America again is a house divided against itself.  Not because of the scourge of slavery, but the scourge of “class”.  It’s what divided and brought down the house just before the Russian Revolution and the French Revolution.  It’s what’s dividing and bringing down America’s house.  It’s America’s caste system.

So-called elites have nothing but scorn for so-called deplorables.  Deep, visceral, honest-to-goodness scorn for people who they genuinely believe they’re better than.

In April 2008, during his first presidential campaign, Barak Obama preached about Americans who he thinks are beneath his “class”: “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations”.

In September 2016, during her second presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton preached about Americans who she thinks are beneath her “class”: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?  The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.  And unfortunately there are people like that.  And he has lifted them up.  He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million.  He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.  Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

In December 2021, Bette Midler preached about Senator Joe Manchin (after he opposed a multi-trillion-dollar spending bill) and about the residents of his State of West Virginia, who she thinks are beneath her “class”: “What Joe Manchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible.  He sold us out.  He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia.  Poor, illiterate and strung out.”

Society based on “class” is what led to the American Revolution.  It always leads to a house divided against itself that cannot stand.

May the clingers to religion, the deplorables and irredeemables, and the poor strung out illiterates be blessed with the courage and strength to bring America together.

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