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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Obama's Acquired Elitism

My father went the University of Virginia and his father before him. He was not a stellar student and had the loafers no socks sport coat attitude of all Virginians. If you have to sum up his attitude it is one of blase entitlement that is so embedded it comes across like an aristocrat who is comfortable with all people. This comes from birth and a white power structure that put you in the best schools even if you wern't the best student.

Not so for his son or anyone of my generation who had to prove themselves to get into college. I didn't and went to a State School where I didn't learn to study until Graduate school. So much for Virginia entitlement. But there were other men of my age who did not take life for granted and busted it out very early. Barack Obama being one of them. And he did go to the very best schools and he did work his way up to the Harvard Law Review and he did become President of the United States. And along the way he developed an acquired elitism.

F. Scott Fitzgerald used to say there was a difference between a person and a personage. A person was the coat rack while a personage was the hats that hung on the  coat rack. It was much better to be a person than a personage. And I would say that a sense of entitlement can come from birth or it can be acquired. The difference is that one may know or suspect that entitlement at birth is so deeply rooted nothing can rock it's foundations .While a sense of entitlement that is acquired or an acquired elitism has to vigilantly guarded lest it develop cracks and the masses come pouring in.

My father never doubted for a moment who he was or is. While the President seems to be holding out against the mosh pit that is now Washington like some kind of Prep School graduate who really doesn't want to go that VFW hall fish fry. An acquired elitism is dangerous because it seems to keep people at bay. My father has been a salesman all his life and very much at home with all sorts of people who are very far away from his FFV roots (First Family of Virginia) but President Obama seems a prisoner of his own education.

I don't say his upbringing, because I think the President had a very real childhood. But like the boy or Gatsby character who goes East to the rich schools and wants to keep his humble roots hidden away, the President cannot seem to let his guard down and get down in the mud. Maybe that is why he cannot fight. Maybe the bridge he pulled up years ago that kept others from following him and kept himself on the straight path to the stars; is also his strait jacket.

It would seem an acquired elitism is something the President cannot shed even if he wants too. Even when it has outlived it's purpose.
Rocket Man A novel

Books by William Hazelgrove