One of the most influential aspects in the American society is the idea of social classes. It determines almost everything in a family and an individual at the most basic level. It influences religion one belongs to, the type of college attended and level of education one receives as well as the type of goods purchased and consumed. In defining a class, aspects like level of education and income, wealth accumulated and occupation are the factors considered. Skin color also plays a minor role. The major classes that are widely spread and generally accepted are the lower, middle and high class or in terms of wealth, the poor, middle-income and the rich(Thomson et al, p. 92)
As the society and standards change, so has the media and as well the information technology in general. These social changes are evidenced by the evolving media. Media in one way or another affects the way people in a society view things and issues and thus influencing their behavior. Its influence which is majorly through the broadcast of information to the rest of the public. The impact of its influence is evidenced by the way the world is mounding up according to the information broadcast. This is more so in the western world which in turn influences the second and third world countries. Through this understanding, sociologist are able to derive and understand the certain norms and human behaviors in a society. This forms the basis of the subject of sociology.
In an article that was published on 14th April this year by the New York times, the issue of social clustering was an evident phenomenon in the American society. The article rated those who support Tea Party and who make up 18% of the population, as the wealthiest and among the well educated as far as the general public is concerned. However, they are constantly engulfed by the fear of falling into a lower class. This was reported by a resent New York/CBS News poll.
Majority of these supporters are the white married men. They are usually republicans and are at the age above forty five years. Unlike other republicans, they tend to take conservative views and describe themselves as conservatives. In fact in cases where other republicans describe their views in terms of being ‘dissatisfied’ they take an extreme view of being ‘angry’. For this reason they more often conflict president Obama’s views who they describe as being ‘very liberal’.
Due to their social standing they are able to influence major decisions made by the government. For instance, in the article in the New York times, these have protested the stimulus package. They claim that the officials of the party are not assertive enough to do that. This package whose implementation would affect the general public economically, in terms of the environment and in the health sector. As a result the whole society is affected. This makes the class more desirable so that majority desire to belong to such a class whose presence and influence can be felt. For this reason they will tend to behave in a certain way so that they are associated with such a class. Similarly those in that class will tend to engage in certain activities and professions that will maintain them. This incorporates the concepts of sociology of determining human behavior(Andersen, p 62).
However they are not completely exempted from the society. Some of their views tend to coincide with those of others. From the article ‘most describe the amount in their this year as being fair. Most send their children to public schools’. Additionally, they do not believe in Sarah Palin’s ability in being America’s president. A believe they share with majority of other fellow Americans in other republicans and those in lower classes. Other shared views are that the Medicare and Social Welfare programs deserve the tax allocation they get. They also must have returned the census forms despite the planned boycott by some conservatives. However, Their idea of a smaller government does not match with everyone else’s opinion.
In their pursuit to maintain their class and their fear of falling into a lower economic class, they push for policies that will favor them. On the same note, they fight policies that seem to stand against their pursuit. A reading from the text suggests that they have developed a ‘fierce animosity towards Washington and the president himself’. They believe that the current administration’s policies have favored the poor and ignored the rest. For this reason they have developed a ‘deep pessimism’ towards the administration.
They have further supported their claims that the president, by saying that being an African-American he cannot understand the problems people of their class face. That a good portion of the policies ‘favor blacks over whites’ and that ‘too much has been of the problems facing the black people’. This is not the republicans or the public’s view. But because it directly affects them negatively (since the party is composed of a majority of whites), they feel threatened as well as their social standing. The policies that favor the blacks and the poor is a blow to the foundation of this class. The worry is that they may eventually be overcome by these people and thus confirming their fear of getting into a lower class(Mclntyre, p 48).
In their continued fight for their ‘welfare’ and in their anger, they assert that the government expenditure(50% of it goes to Medicare, Medicaid and social welfare policy) is not equitably shared among the tax payers. That their views are not considered or even ‘represented in Washington’. Their effortless defense for their class includes a plan ‘ to have a revolt on their hands’. Moreover their fear has led them into developing a rebellious attitude towards everyone’s views. Due to this, unlike majority of the Americans who believe ‘Americas best years are behind’, they strongly stand on the believe that America ’is headed on the wrong direction.’(New York Times).
They are afraid that the country is headed for socialism, a type of economy where all resources are publicly owned. This, they argue is through the government funded and controlled health sector and the government expenditure distribution. The feeling is that resources are taken away from the working class through taxes and given to the poor’s the health and social welfare programs. Socialism would kill the social structure that they defend and if it remains, its impact will not be as effective as it is currently. Kathy Mayhugh, One of the supporters said the president ‘is getting away from what America is.’
Religion is an aspect that is determined by the class structure. Majority of Tea Party supporters are Christians (or so it seems).A supporter Kathy Mayhugh is afraid that another aspect of their class may be affected noting that president Obama is a Muslim and that he is taking the country to being a Muslim state. ’He’s been in office for over a year and can’t find a church to go’ is what she said to drive her point home.
In addition to the fear that the help given to the poor will intimidate their class, that the socialism which Obamas administration seem to advocate for is likely to kill the social structure and the embracing of Muslim religion which they believe the president belongs to, they feel that economic situation will also be attacked. According to Kate and Megan, the writers of this article, Tea Party supporters if asked will have a tendency to say that their ‘personal financial’ position is good if not very good ‘over the general public’. This describes their economic situation which they feel is also on attack by the Obama’s administration due the predicted loss of jobs by some family members. This will be caused by the prevailing economic conditions .Their view is that the current administration is to be blamed for these conditions. This is against everyone’s (general public) believe that the blame is on the previous regime. This has further increased their hatred for the president and his administration(Kendall, p 82).
Many of them have disguised their pursuit for social security into advocacy for smaller government, reduced deficit and tax cuts or lowering them and rebelling against the administration and supporting the previous one that advocated for their interests. Inline with this one of the party supporters said ’Maybe I don’t want a smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my social security.’
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