Before readers roll their eyes at this off-topic and unabashed jingoism, consider the mysterious case of the alleged 11 Russian "deep cover" agents. If the charges are correct, Moscow's intent was to penetrate U.S. policymaking circles with deep cover agents feigning middle class suburbanism. While the whole affair is enough to make one ask if le Carré's Karla never left us, the point is that foreign governments believe persons of modest means in the U.S. can influence elected officials, regulators, government appointees and politicians.
The surprising thing is that they are correct. It's even more surprising that we haven't noticed how significant that is.
Contrast American middle class political "access" with the powerful elitist, class-driven, connected, aristocratic, monied or familial undercurrents present in other democracies. Of course, the U.S. has its Camelots, legacy college admissions and gazillionaire politicians but where else could a person of color win the U.S. Presidency, a Latino scrape her way to the U.S. Supreme Court or a Jew armed with nothing but chutzpah, charm and intellect become a Harvard Dean and then navigate through the toxic partisan rancor of the U.S. Senate? In the meantime, the Brits' current Prime Minister is of royal descent, the French President not only insufferably acts like member of European nobility, he is one, and the Italian Prime Minister's privileged status is in no small measure helped by his considerable media empire.
And on this July 4th, the anniversary of our Declaration of Independence, this is something to be grateful for.