Wednesday Afternoon Ramblings

I’ve stayed out of politics, mostly because I believe it’s become a shell game of mass distraction, but the comments about the 47% from you, Mitt Romney, struck a raw nerve with me.  You want to say that I and people like me expect the government to take care of us.  You say we see ourselves as victims.  You imply we do not take responsibility for our own lives.  Well, let me set you straight.

First and foremost, I wasn’t born the son of a governor with insider connections.  My father is a working man who, until he became disabled, held two and three jobs for most of my life.  He taught me the value of a dollar, the pride of honest labor, and respect for others.  He pushed me to get an education and make something of myself.  He taught me the importance of persistence and the necessity of pursuing dreams for finding inner contentment.  From the actions of your life and the rhetoric of your campaign, I can see your father didn’t teach you these same values, and for that, I’m deeply saddened for you.

You see, your warped perception that wealth is the measure of a person’s worth is simply wrong.  Yes, you’ve made a pile of money buying and dismantling companies, then shipping those jobs overseas.  I’m certain you are quite proud of yourself for all the money you’ve “earned” by doing so.  What you fail to see, what you and your crony capitalist pals fail to grasp, is that you are not following the rules of the free market.  These rules are not enforced by any government; they are not arbitrary; they are not negotiable.  Eventually, markets correct.  When you manipulate a market, as in moving a manufacturing company to a country that subsidizes labor, thereby undercutting the wages of your own consumers, eventually your own market will implode.  The invisible hand may move slowly, but it does move.  One day, you will wake up to find that you can no longer manipulate the market to your benefit.

When that day comes, and I acknowledge that it may or may not occur in your lifetime, you or your children will find that the working class people you so cynically mock as lazy and shiftless have something you and your family can never buy.  We have a deeply-rooted sense of loyalty to our families, our friends, our communities.  We know how to dig in our heels and fight harder because most of us have had to hold multiple jobs throughout our lives.  We don’t need others to cook our meals, drive our cars, keep our schedules, or manage our money.  We’ve had to juggle all of those aspects of our lives on our own because most of us can’t afford to pay someone else to do it for us.  Most of the working people I’ve known, the vast majority, have a deep sense of pride in the jobs they do, no matter how low that job may seem to you.

I may not have as much money as you do, and in every facet of my life I may not measure up to your definition of greatness, but at the end of my life, I’ll be able to look back and say that I gave something to my community, my state, and my country.  Teaching English may not be a glamorous job or lucrative or fun, but I know I’ve enriched other people’s lives.  You, sir, cannot say the same.  Your career, both in the private and public sectors, has been about destroying other people, either by dismantling their business or selling their job overseas.  All of your wealth, all of your power, all of your entitlements are selfish, empty vessels.  I pity your perverted sense of right and wrong.

Before you speak of working class people again, perhaps you should live for a time in our shoes.  One week should suffice.  One week of worry about buying groceries or paying the electric bill would teach you a valuable lesson you’ve never experienced.  One week of ironing your own clothes, buying your own groceries, running your own errands, and toiling for a boss who undervalues your contribution to their organization would do wonders for your outlook on life and family and labor.  Your distorted concepts of working people, men and women who get out of bed each and every morning and work themselves into an early grave for substandard wages just to fulfill obligations to their children and families, is disturbingly arrogant and self-centered.  Your ignorance of humanity is alarming.  For an educated man, you are shockingly stupid.

You are correct about one thing.  I will not be voting for you, but not for the reasons you believe.  It’s not that I want the government to take care of me.  It’s that I cannot and will not offer support to a human being who looks upon the working class with such disdain and contempt.  Hopefully, enough of my fellow working class people will see that as well, and you will lose the election, becoming all you deserve to be, an insignificant footnote to history.

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