Just got a little reminder that I have a deadline to publish something political here, and it just so happens I coincidentally got an email from a friend containing the following dissertation. So I think this little bit of journalism is going to work out just fine, bereft as I am for the time to compose an insightful original column on the current no-contest race for California’s Congressional District 33 for instance.
I would however take exception that this phenomenon, if it exists, is unique to America. Other big countries, like Russia for instance, often seem about the same.
Maybe it got a little traction back in the 1950’s when the USSR’s KGB and the CIA deployed programs to undermine the morality and fabric of each other’s countries. Or maybe it’s got something to do with overpopulation, or the expanse of information technology.
At any rate, the following is what he perceives is going on…
“Here's something to distract you for a few minutes on the day our country pauses to celebrate the work ethic which built America. I'm also sending it to a series of publications claiming bicoastal readership. Let's see which one, if any, have the nerve to publish it.
C L A S S
What I so intensely dislike about what's happened to LA's Westside since I grew up there is it's lack of Class. Like a plague, its everywhere, permeating everything and infecting everyone from the 'to the manner born' nouveau riche, and trickling down through the food chain to even parking lot attendants.
People walk around with a supercilious attitude, their noses in the air and their heads up their ass. And that ain't nothin' compared to when they have a steering wheel in their hands! They pay little heed to the rules of the road and have no earthly idea what common courtesy means...or much care.
Class isn't something you can write a check for, anymore than knowing how to drive a Ferrari comes with the keys. Nor is Class holding a teacup with an extended pinky. That's for gently waving at a young child along with a wink and a smile in a market checkout line. He or she already knows what wagging an index finger means from the lady dragged along to go shopping.
Class is a byproduct, not an end unto itself. It comes first from an appreciation of who did what to get us here and respect for those no longer around. It is understanding that we are part of the world they created. We owe them; no one owes us anything. That's the source of our sense of self, or should be. It's from where venture out into the world, not where our mail is delivered.
Class is a calmness of purpose, all the while doubting one's own capacities, yet never trampling on the dignity of others. Class is being the parent your kids want you to be, and the citizen democracy demands for its survival.
Class is saying grace before meals, even without saying grace. Class is stopping to smell the roses, marveling at the beauty of the butterfly, the translucence of the dragonfly's wings, the purposefulness of the honey bee, and the purpose for which we were given the power of reason.
Class is all these things and more. What so concerns me is the vacuum created by its increasing scarcity well beyond the confines of West LA, and reaching all the way to our nation's capital.
I am reminded that the Plague was followed by the Black Death. And it need not be a biological calamity to destroy a whole society.
San Pedro, CA