Of Tribes and Respect

Sarah Hoyt has a good, discursive piece on culture groups and related matters which ends as follows:

I’ve never introduced myself as Portuguese-American.  I renounced previous allegiances when I naturalized.  Yes, of course, my origins are Portuguese, and it shaped a lot of my thought.  So it’s not like I hide that I grew up in Portugal.

But when the chips are down, I know who my tribe is.

My name is Sarah A. Hoyt, and I’m an American.

I’m increasingly impressed by the reality that first-generation Americans are far more appreciative of what we have–and what we have to lose–than those whose ancestors came across the big pond in wooden boats. Perhaps it is just that we have spent too long in the pot, so have difficulty stating whether the temperature has risen or not.  In any case, read the entire article.

Speaking of what we have to lose, Ace calls out the aristocracy, as is right, after reading the following from former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers’ jobs.

“I don’t think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I think it’s necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded.” [emphasis added by Ace]

Here is part of his response:

“Respect.” She insists, straight off, on respect. Respect is, in a democratic, egalitarian system, not demanded and not owed due to status, but rather freely conferred due to achievement. Lady Pelosi demands “respect” not for Congress’ performance — the threat of a pay cut arises entirely due to its failure to perform — but simply because the Status of Congressmen grants it.

It doesn’t. Not in America.

Exactly. I have no difficulty paying people for (what used to be called “honest work”). What was the saw? “An honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work” or something like that. Here’s the thing.  Ms. Pelosi helped to lead one of the “most honest, most open, most ethical” Congresses in history, by her own statement. Of course, facts bear out a rather different interpretation, but let’s not get hung up on data, shall we?

There’s much more in Ace’s piece, so go and enjoy.


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