Am I an elite?

Two & Out
By James Peters
April 14, 2017 - 2:54pm

KAMLOOPS — It's hard to recall a political movement that has come complete with its own rewrite of the English dictionary.

But the so-called alt-right that propelled Donald Trump to victory in the United States and has sprouted shoots in Canada has its own language.

In order to fully understand what these people are talking about, it's essential to learn that language.

The words used don't necessarily correlate with their traditionally-understood meanings.

'Multiculturalism,' for example, something long identified as a hallmark of Canadian virtue, is often described as a failed experiment by the alt-right.

With that codified language, alt-right supporters tell each other about their white supremacist sympathies without actually saying the words.

Both Trump's most voracious backers and Trump himself are obsessed with the language of strength, and spew accusations of weakness and lack of fortitude with the zeal of any insecure schoolyard bully.

Words like 'cuck,' 'beta' and 'snowflake' take the place of logical debate.

They are spat out with alarming frequency and vile.

Increasing suspicion of the media has accompanied the rise of the alt-right as well.

'Mainstream media' — or 'MSM' — was once simply a descriptor, but now denotes a reporting class controlled by corporate agendas.

The misuse of 'fake news' as a term describing any news report not favoured by the current president or his supporters has been well-documented.

News is fake if it is damaging to the alt-right, prying open a cavernous cleavage between reality and spin.

Scrutiny of media can be positive for the industry and for the broader society, but most of that scrutiny has turned into baseless bashing of any individual piece or entire institution that attempts objective reporting.

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The alt-right term that might be the most broadly used and stupifying is the word 'elite.'

What once was an adjective is now a noun that has come to define the undefineable for alt-right supporters: "those people who think they're better than us."

Elite refers to money and success, but it's much more than that.

Elite includes education, geography, social standing and political leanings, whether real or perceived.

Alt-right supporters think elites have a self-righteous belief that they know best, and will use their elite positions to force those beliefs on everyone else.

And elite is also used in conjunction with the prequalifier 'media.' 

That's where it hits home, and my big existential question comes into focus: Am I an elite?

I am a member of the news media, after all.

Other aspects of my life don't fit so neatly into the ad hoc definition of elite.

I have a university degree, but it's completely unrelated to my media position.

Born and raised in a small prairie town, I have lived 

I live in the middle of the province, and I'd like to think I have taken a little something from 

I'm happy with my compensation, but it doesn't put me in some rarefied tax bracket reserved for the jet set.

My two-income family still stresses about money as much as anyone else.

I do have a platform that allows me to reach a wide audience, relative to the size of my market, but I'd like to think I dictate to my audience.

My goal is always to make people think, and arguing a position is generally a good way to do that.

Does that make me an elite?

I've always wanted to be elite, the adjective, because it connotes excellence in one's chosen field.

We can all strive to be elite, if the opposite qualities are complacency and mediocrity.

The new definition, however, seems to encompass self-righteous superiority, and I'd wager that's not a character trait for 95 per cent of those in the news media it is meant to maliciously smear.

Most of us are just people who like to tell stories.

For the most part, we don't live in urban penthouses and our worldviews aren't coloured by silver spoon upbringings.

We experience the same spectrum of struggles as the greater society.

So the alt-right can call us 'elites' if they'd like.

We'll remember the original definition, and take it as a compliment.

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