| You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Blog is About You. . .
Over the weekend I went to the Saratoga Horse Racing Track in Saratoga Springs, New York. It was a beautiful day spent with some fantastic friends. If you have never been to the Saratoga races let me paint the picture for you:
It is a 100 year old horse racing track which runs races only 5 weeks out of the entire year. Some of the best race horses in the world come to Saratoga. Thousands of people come everyday to watch and bet on the ponies.
I always enjoy going to Saratoga and I am pretty good at picking out winners. Unfortunately, I do not have the guts to bet big (a five dollar bet scares me) so I never win big. Oh well.
However, on this particular trip to Saratoga something bothered me. And it bothers me enough dear reader to share it with you here:
We don't think about it much, but there is a class system here in America.
One thing about Saratoga I should tell you about. The richest people in the world come to watch the races. It is not uncommon to see people bring their 3 million dollar cruise ships and private helicopters to the area for racing season. Rich socialites have balls and cotillions which make news in the New York society pages. The streets are lined with Jags and Bentleys and private limousines. It's the same scene every year.
The rich folks enter the track grounds and are wisked into private clubhouses and personal box seats with fancy chefs and private restaurants. The middle class sit in the general admission clubhouse and many bring law chairs and coolers and have picnic lunches. I like nothing better that to sit in a lawn chair and enjoy a picnic in the company of good friends.
Tragically, a few years ago we were told by an acquittance of ours that they would no longer sit in the public areas any longer -- they had "outgrown that." It was the clubhouse or nothing for them.
We don't see those folks much anymore. . .
And that tragic tale, dear reader, leads me to my point.
This weekend we arrived late at the track -- I was forced to park way in the back of the racing compound -- across the street from the main track and near the horse stables. It was a 15 minute walk from there to where we were sitting. It was interesting to look into the horse stables and see the actual million- dollar horses eating their oats and hay.
Then I noticed them.
Yes dear reader the small shacks next to the horse stables, and the manure, where the seasonal workers of the track live. These are small tiny one room shacks with no bathrooms; their clothes hanging up over a line to dry. Dirty children where running in the mud. Many are immigrants, and I would venture to guess many of them illegally in the country. I found out a few days later that INS raided those shacks and found many illegal aliens living there.
I was appalled.
The poorest of the poor living in horseshit so the richest of the rich can wear fancy hats and "be seen" by the in-crowd.
And before you think I am getting on a soapbox and preaching to you. . . You should know one thing.
I saw all this and made the connection -- but I still went to the track and had a good time. And if someone offered me private box seats I would grab them in a second and not even think twice about it.
Yes, there is a class system in America. And I am a part of it.