Everyone should be familiar with that tired line: two countries divided by a common language. Another way in which the United States and United Kingdom differ is the way in which their societies are divided. Class rules in the UK, whereas money defines the pecking order in their former colony. The revolution was meant to throw off class divisions, but we’re dealing with human nature here. People must know where they stand vis-à-vis their fellow man. If the aristocracy is destroyed, then the only measure can be monetary.
But, the founders were clever: they knew the danger of revolution. After all, they had just managed to pull one off. They defined the fledging nation’s key value as self-reliance. Optimism in a land of opportunity and individual choice would reign. If you are a failure, it is your own fault, because this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. And, failure did not mean debtors’ prison, as it had in England. Some of the country’s biggest success stories started with at least one miserable failure. Debt can be easily written off, can’t it? Even the poor have recognized the ingenuity of this scheme. But, the average citizen has not noticed...or does not complain about...the way the wealthy have co-opted the system to benefit themselves even more than any aristocrat ever did.
Americans see class based upon birth as unfair, but a money-based system is strangely equitable. After all, anyone can run up credit card debt. Most have swallowed the line about self-reliance and equal opportunity. Anyone not believing the cant is branded a communist, even after that has proven to be a straw dog. After all, anyone can become President of the United States, whereas only the first-born male child of some old lady can become King of England. All school children are taught this myth is school. Of course, no one mentions the cost in terms of money, dishonesty, and character sacrifices. Or that anyone can question your birth certificate. Or that many have not learned the fifty states and thus might claim your birth to be foreign. Or that most voters are just plain stupid, might not recognize your significant qualities, and will believe whatever lie your opponent throws at them.
The English fawn over anyone with a hereditary title, no matter how worthless or impoverished; Americans worship self-made billionaires, regardless of from whom they have swindled their fortune. Unfortunately, both groups display many of the same traits: arrogance, snobbery, and lack of empathy. Often, the female of the species is the worst, especially if they enjoy the spoils of their husband’s wealth and have never accomplished anything (besides netting a rich spouse). None are familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s line: “The colonel’s lady and Mary O’Grady are sisters under the skin”.
Then again, all people are the same regardless of class or tax bracket...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.