All throughout this campaign season there have been many friends of mine sounding the Socialism alarms, or decrying the election of Obama as the beginning of the end for hard work’s reward. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I would never call anyone stupid for standing up for their beliefs no matter how far they veer from my own. That said, I would like to point out what I feel are the root causes in this philosophical difference among many of us in the middle class.
The term “spread the wealth” has been used ad nauseam as the catch-all explanation of the evils that are to come. I’ve heard how our hard-earned money will now support all of the lazy people, some not even American citizens, whose sense of entitlement guides them through an existence funded by other people’s effort. There is a faction of people out there that fit this category and it is a troublesome burden that we need to eliminate, but the truth is that we are already paying the freight on them and we have been for a long time. No matter which avenue we choose to attack this issue from, it will not be a new circumstance created by a Democratic nominee.
Now, as for spreading the wealth, I don’t understand why there isn’t more concern over the high end of the spectrum. The top 10% of the wealthy in this country account for 75% to 90% of the money. Think about that. All you have to do is review the policies enacted during the Bush administration with eyes wide open and you’ll see that there is a conscious effort being made to keep those high-dollar halls of power locked down. They want you to believe that your hard work could someday get you where they are. They want you to be afraid of the poor who are creeping up on you, keeping you from ascending to your true potential.
Trouble is that it’s a lie. And that lie is the crux of my argument.
I work hard. I bring home decent money and have a life that I truly can’t complain about, despite the contents of this blog from time to time. That said, I don’t believe that the American dream as it has traditionally been described is readily available for me to reach out and achieve. I think the game is rigged among the powers that be.
In this current culture that gives multi-million dollar golden parachutes to fired CEOs while laying off employees; that continues to deregulate strictly to enhance bottom lines of corporations; that has thrown our economy into the toilet with a recklessness beyond measure; that has expanded the size, scope and intrusive nature of government to Orwellian proportions under the guise of “protection”; with all of this in mind, I can only conclude that big money looks out for itself by any and all means necessary. As George Carlin said, “It’s a club. And you ain’t invited. They call it the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” Then the true genius of the man would show as he’d follow a deep thought like that with a fart joke!
Anyway, considering all of that, it becomes a question of, “Does it matter whether I am bled from above or below on the economic scale?” It’s quasi-Socialism vs. Cronyism in a grudge match to determine who gets their unearned share of my income.
Given a choice between the two the Robin Hood in me chooses to believe that everyone should be given a chance at a slightly less uneven playing field.
Call me naive. Call me idealistic. Call me whatever you like. That’s just the way I feel about it.
Oh yeah, and I have a solution that could pretty much eliminate our economic ills in the blink of an eye. Take away the tax-exempt status of churches. I seem to remember that the Evangelical Christian vote was huge in the two-term nightmare that has been George W. Bush. Well folks, if you’re going to be a major player in the political discourse then you should have to pay your fair share towards the result.
Finally, I am not naive enough to believe that the events of Tuesday are some sort of magic elixir that will right the ship. It’s going to be a mess for some time to come. I think the Republican party should take this defeat for what it is – a refusal to accept any longer their small-minded approach of these last eight years. This is an opportunity for them to rebuild their party by revisiting everything they used to stand for.
As for John McCain, I think that if he’d given a single speech along his campaign trail that resonated as well as his consolation speech then things may have been different for him. I get the feeling that it might have been the first time in a long time that he was actually speaking his own thoughts.
I hope that a bipartisan approach can start us on the long road back from the disastrous Bush presidency. It has truly been the worst presidency of modern times. He’s lowered the bar so far down that we may trip on it and stumble.
Anyway, good luck to you President-elect Obama. Please validate this opportunity we’ve given you by surrounding yourself with smart people from all walks of life who will challenge you to make decisions in the best interest of us all. That alone will be light years beyond where we are now.