John Edwards was right. There are two Americas.

The dividing line could be Ferguson. It could be hunger, poverty or literacy. The line could also be the crazy escalation in executive compensation.

I see the dividing line at the airport.

* I see the America that is stuck in an airport line for two hours, and the America that doesn’t deal with that nonsense.
* I see price gouging and Americans who are forced to buy $4.00 bottles of water, and the Americans who sit in executive lounges and drink free gin & tonics.
* I see the America that runs its own business using credit cards that offer points and enables vacations and excellent work-life balance, and I see the America that purchases goods and services from an unregulated system that enables price-fixing.
* I see the America that gets seated in first class, and I see the rest of America — black, white, brown, female, disabled — that sits in the back of the sky bus.

Maybe I’m a fool. Maybe the real division happens at birth, when you’re either born with money or you are not.

Perhaps there is one America that flies commercial and another that flies on private jets. It’s possible that I might be seeing multiple versions of the American narrative when I travel for work. Whatever I witness at airports like JFK and ORD, it’s humbling. It informs my behavior. It gives me a sense of empathy that I might not otherwise have from sitting in my cubicle in a human resources department and reading articles about Ferguson on Facebook all day long.

So before you join the chorus of voices out there and express an opinion about how people should or shouldn’t behave, maybe you ought to consider the institutions that create a marketplace of unfairness.

Look around you as you shop and travel, this holiday season. Does the world look just and right to you?

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  1. If you really want a look at unfairness try living in Saudi Arabia, especially as a woman. Even with the divide between rich and not so rich in this country, we still have it pretty darn good.

  2. Laurie;

    That is not the only dividing line.

    The other may between those that work hard and succeed despite their lower caste birth. We infrequently indulge ourselves in first class treatment. Heck, somehow or another, we’ve qualified for preTSA bypassing the huddled masses.

    And I agree that pricing beyond the security screening is absolutely obscene. The real dividing line is not in the airport. It is well beyond the airport, out in the America that cannot even afford cattle car coach.

  3. Thank you for this, Laurie.
    Between Brian’s hand waving and Robert’s Randian laser focus on personal responsibility, it is easy to see why nothing is being done. It’s sad.

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