I spent my afternoon watching my roommate’s cat, Jules, while she was in her room writing. I, for my part was mostly goofing off, enjoying some well-earned time to myself after electoral work followed by fundraiser training. As I watched the energetic feline attack her toy rabbit, something occurred to me.I realized one could draw a pretty decent analogy between Jules’s relationship with her toy and the moneyed elite’s relationship with the rest of us. The cat was blissfully unaware that the rabbit was anything other than an object for her amusement. She could tear into with abandon without a moment’s thought as to what it meant for the fuzzy plaything. I honestly believe this is how the .1% sees those of us in the bottom four quintiles, and probably a good many of those in the top one as well.
I have a hard time thinking of any reason they make so many of the decisions they do. So much of the policy they endorse is ultimately bad for them as well, not just for us. They stand to make less money if we do not keep the poorest of spending through safety net programs. The more desperate people are the more likely they are to at least break the law, making everyone’s world less safe, and possibly decide enough is enough and rise up in popular revolt. Why else, other than some odd, detached, sense of amusement and status would they do this?
I am sure they are not all short-sighted monsters willing to inflict harm on others just to entertain themselves in such a way that inflates their importance. I would be willing to lay down odds that many of them do not think of “the little people” at all, and that’s too bad.
Despite the fact that they would like to think they are so removed from us they are not. Aside from the aforementioned consequences, none of them is immune to a fall. Who will catch them when that happens? Their peers? People who have proven their tendency to behave like sociopaths? No, to them the fallen are just one more fuzzy, rabbit toy. They will be torn to shreds like the rest of us.
Being decent, being concerned, being aware of other human beings may be the morally right thing to do. I believe it is. That said, ultimately that is not why we should do so. Morality is confused and confusing. It is best to avoid using it as a compass for society. What we can know, however, is we all do better off individually and as a group when we look out for one another. When you treat others as playthings, you cut yourself off from that and risk harm not just to them, but yourself.
Which is why we, the rabbits, have to start looking to each other, and not them. They do not believe they have to rely on anyone else, so they are a danger to themselves, as well as us. We need to take the steps, ones we have been conditioned to think are bad, because it does not benefit the cats, to cut our ties from them, as much as we can, so they become irrelevant in our lives. We do not have to be passive balls of fluff anymore. We can do better, and deserve better, than to be batted about without thought for our well-being.