The more things change, the more they stay the same. I must admit that I was not yet around during the height of the hippie movement, but do remember the residual long hair, bell bottoms and tie-dye that epitomized the liberal sect of that generation. Back then they cried out for freedom from civil authority. They claimed oppression and rebelled against the daily routine of normal life. They marched in unison for Social Justice.
Well, they’re back! Only this time they are demanding justice of another breed – Economic Justice. Could someone please tell me what that means? Is it justice to take from one who earns only to give to someone who takes? Perhaps these misguided souls never heard the parable of the Ant and the Grasshopper.
While they camp out at Wall Street and demand whatever it is they are demanding, the rest of us are working hard to provide for our families. And then we are expected to feel sorry for them and somehow relate to their plight. Unfortunately I am still trying to figure out why they are there. What exactly are they entitled to? What are they owed?
The only coherent message that one has so far been able to ascertain is that the wealthy have too much authority. To fix that problem, they are seeking economic justice. Back in the 1960’s they wanted to spread the love, today it’s all about spreading the wealth. I could be mistaken but I think the whole living in communes thing is about to make a comeback, as well. How sad that someone would expect to reap the spoils of someone else’s labor.
I know times are tough; they are for my family too. I was let go from my job a year ago. My family has faced the same demons as they claim. Why am I not in New York declaring solidarity to the cause? The answer is really quite simple – I am an American and so have the opportunity to do something about it! Instead of feeling sorry for myself when my employer fired me two days after Christmas, I started my own business. Where am I one year later? Still struggling, but determined to make it work.
And this whole business about the 1% versus the 99% is ludicrous; it shows a complete lack of historical comprehension. Look, the wealthy have always been in charge. We are not breaking uncharted territory. Going back to our Founding Fathers we see that they were, for the most part, the aristocrats of their day. Being a farmer in those days meant being a landowner. Those were the wealthy.
Here in Delaware we celebrate the life and accomplishments of the great Caesar Rodney, without giving notice to the fact that we only know of him because he was wealthy enough to leave the farm and run for political office.
Does that diminish their achievements? Absolutely not! They were the first to believe in the American Dream, and they set forth the conditions to make it possible for anyone willing to seek it.
You see, I still believe in that American Dream. And I know that I will someday achieve it for my family. The legacy I hope to leave will be to show my children that living in the land of the free is both a privilege and a responsibility. A privilege in that you can accomplish anything you can envision and reach any goal you establish. A responsibility in that you cannot expect anyone else to do it for you, but must work hard in spite of the obstacles and barriers before you.
Do some have it easier than others? There can be no doubt that some do. But what is that to me? Why should I be angry or jealous? In fact, I almost feel sorry for the silver spoon crowd because they will never know what it feels like to make it on their own. They will never experience the exhilaration that comes with the knowledge that your success was born of sacrifice and perseverance.
I have not fully achieved the American Dream yet, but I will. Meanwhile, I do not get upset when someone else achieves it. In fact, it motivates me for two reasons. First when anyone makes it over the mountain, that acts as proof that the mountain can still be climbed. And second, I know that one day I will be the one on top, sharing in the joy.