Burch: The curious collusion between the rich and poor

Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Here in Tennessee and all around the United States, but particularly in the South, there is a very curious collusion between the rich and poor. An unfortunate result of this endlessly strange relationship is that the poor end up voting against their own interests, particularly their economic interests.

Since the working classes are increasingly poor and/or disadvantaged in relation to the rich and super-rich, one might suggest that anyone who votes for a Republican politician is, in effect, siding with the top 5 percent of American wage earners against the other 95 percent. It’s a bizarre form of economic warfare in which the vast majority shoot themselves in the foot, ensuring their own defeat.

The Tea Party, while it professes to uphold Christian and family values, is actually resorting to what I call “Darwinian economics” (i.e., survival of the strongest and most ruthless, at the expense of the poor, children, the elderly, the sick, the unemployed and people struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck). Who can possibly imagine that Jesus Christ, his apostles or the Hebrew prophets would have ever sided with the sharks against their defenseless prey?

Every thinking person understands that big business in pursuit of profits often acts like a shark swimming through a school of dolphins. Predators are by nature heartless and ruthless when they have their prey in sight. Modern civilization is, to a large degree, a compact that protects its weakest citizens from people who would take advantage of them. The Tea Party undermines that compact with its Tarzan-like mantra: “Business good. Government bad.”

Why would someone who isn’t rich vote for Republican politicians who, as lackey-like agents for the rich and their “special interests,” demonize what they call “entitlements,” making it clear that they intend to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to the bone, rather than repealing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?

There is a simple solution. We live in a democracy, and if voters cast their ballots for politicians who vote with their own economic interests in mind, the GOP will be forced  to change its tactics. 

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com

58 Comments on this post:

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 1:39

I'm just curious judy, if Tennessee is such a great place for everyone, why is it that the state is third in the nation in terms of poverty.... just behind Arkansas(2) and Mississippi(1)?

By: Captain Nemo on 9/30/11 at 3:40

That is something we don’t talk about in Tennessee, brrrrk. ;-)

By: brrrrk on 9/30/11 at 3:57

Captain Nemo said

"That is something we don’t talk about in Tennessee, brrrrk. ;-)"

I suppose so..... all I've heard from judy on this is crickets...... chirp, chirp... :-)

By: dargent7 on 9/30/11 at 4:35

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes:
GM, from Detroit (you all love to hate) built you hillbillies a car manufacturing plant.
You idiots couldn't build anything remotely possible, and you know it.
Yet, still, disparage the north.
How's John Derre's doing?

By: dargent7 on 10/1/11 at 4:58

Sat, Oct. 1st
I never in my life heard of the word, "masser".

By: pswindle on 10/1/11 at 2:45

The poor GOP will vote republican and hope that a Democrat gets elected so they can be taken care of . It is part of their DNA to vote republican even if they know that they wil fall into the toliet.

By: Loner on 10/2/11 at 7:30

Thank you, Brrrrk, for the lesson in comparative vertebrate morphology.

The Tea Party-GOP, the party with the reptilian brain...I agree with that assessment. It could explain a lot.

Reptilian-brainers can be rich, or poor....and reptilian-brainers are more apt to be believers, as opposed to being rational reasoning types.

All I can say is, "thanks a million, crocodilian."

By: Mike Burch on 10/4/11 at 8:47


I believe wisdom is the fusion of compassion and reason. Interestingly, thousands of years ago the Hebrew prophets said that human beings need to act out of compassion and establish social justice. Compassion is a function of the human heart and emotions. Justice, of course, requires rational thought.

But it seems to me that the GOP has abandoned both compassion and rational thought (in favor of voodoo). I was a Reagan Republican, but I saw the party being driven by bad economics, bad religion and macho warmongering, so I changed sides. Any party whose "stars" are people like GWB, Palin, Bachmann and Perry has obviously lost its marbles.

I think you may be right about the reptilian brain. It seems the GOP's remaining smarts are like those of a viper that sits around waiting to lash out at anything warm-blooded that moves.

Mike Burch