The Time For Revolution Is Here

It’s very likely that if you are reading this, you don’t know me.  Perhaps you’ve read a few of my entries here and there and maybe even thought to comment once or twice.  If you are reading this perhaps you are a little like me.  You might be in your early thirties.  You might work a blue collar job or you might wear a tie and sit at a desk all day.  Maybe you’re married and you might even have some kids.  If you’re like me, you probably live your life day to day, trying your best to make ends meet, have a good time, and not ruffle too many feathers along the way.  If you are like me, then you probably keep to yourself and accept the world as it has been laid out before you.  You pay your taxes, you obey Stop signs, and you only call out sick from work when you are really sick.  Like me, you consider yourself a good citizen and while you don’t ask for much from anyone, you don’t expect too much in return either.  You work to live, but you don’t live to work.  At least that’s the idea.

From the time I was old enough to have a job, I had a job.  From the time I had a job, I had the responsibility of purchasing the things I needed, such as new clothes, tickets to the movies with friends, or a new CD.  My mother still provided food and shelter, but as a single mother raising four children, the burden of buying those “must have” items fell upon myself and my siblings.  We were not poor, nor did we ever go a day without food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs, but the idea of personal responsibility was taught to us at a young age.  I was taught the value of hard work and discipline by watching my mother work tirelessly both at her job and at home with her children.  I’m sure many of you can relate to the concept of working hard for the things you want, and I am sure plenty of you know what it felt like to be the kid who couldn’t afford the newest pair of sneakers or most stylish set of jeans.  Maybe, like me, you had to watch others go on vacation while you chose to stay home, saving your money for your first car.  Maybe you bought that first car only to have the brakes go or discover the tires were all bald.  Suddenly all your hard earned money was gone, spent on something that only partially lived up to your expectations.  We all know disappointment, and we all know the feeling of working hard only to have something come and get in your way.  We take two steps forward only to be knocked three steps back.  It happens again and again, and we find ourselves simply accepting that we are where we are in life and perhaps that is good enough.  I have lived this sort of life for almost sixteen years.  I save money only to have it whisked away either for an unexpected emergency or simply because living paycheck to paycheck isn’t getting it done.  I have lived quietly, like so many of us that fall into this category.  We’re not poor.  No, we have seen poor and we don’t like it.  We are not rich, but we have seen the rich and we like them even less.  Oh sure, having loads of money would be great, but only if you are willing to sell your soul to get it.  While I doubt many of you would turn money away if it were offered to you, if you’re like me at all, you have a little pride and prefer to earn your money rather than have it handed over to you.  I have never been handed a dime in my life that I haven’t earned and I will never ask for a dime I have not worked for.  I don’t want hand outs or charity and I don’t want anything I don’t feel I deserve.  What I do want is respect.  What I do want is for those who have been handed things in life, those who have been given wealth without earning it, to be held accountable for the social crimes they have committed against their fellow man and be brought down a peg to see the chaos they have created, the social divide they have constructed simply by blindly taking without any thought or care for who they were hurting in the process.

Corporations, politicians, and the wealthy elite have grown staggeringly wealthy and in turn have amassed more power over our government and over our society to the point that this minute sliver of our overall population dictates how the wealth is distributed and who benefits from their decisions.  The industrial revolution created business giants, the likes of which will never be toppled simply because they have grown beyond the reach of the ordinary man.  Don’t get me wrong.  This country became the most powerful nation in the world largely due to the changes the industrial revolution brought to the world.  Those men and women worked tirelessly to build not only their own businesses, but to expand the power of this country as a global empire that would dominate the financial world.  The efforts of those who created big business are not being challenged.  What I am challenging however, is the idea that the wealthy sons and daughters of these industrial pioneers have simply fallen into their positions of power without ever knowing the value of a hard days work.  While one man may have suffered to achieve his dream of a vast fortune, those who inherit the wealth do not inherit the pain endured to get there.  On that same token, factory workers, those who worked the assembly lines creating the products that fostered this great wealth for these industrial pioneers, had no choice but to pass along the notion of hard work for honest pay to their sons and daughters.  While railroads transformed to automobiles, then to entertainment industries, to the internet, and to whatever else our society will invent, those who worked the hardest were slowly falling further and further away from those who collected the profits.

It’s no secret the rich want to stay rich.  The south had slaves because they didn’t have to pay them.  Were it not for labor unions, there would be no such thing as a minimum wage.  The middle-class is forced to go on strike simply to receive fair health benefits or paid vacation time.  Simply said, no one with money wants to give anyone any more of it than they absolutely have to, and sometimes that means forcing them to do so.  I truly believe everyone is entitled to whatever they can earn.  I don’t want to take anything away from anyone.  I simply feel it’s time to recognize that our middle class is struggling because we have become too content.  We have become too docile to the idea that the rich are that way and there is little we can do to better our own situation.  Again, let me be clear.  I don’t want any hand outs.  I don’t want anything I haven’t earned.  I just think it is time for us all to put a little more value on what we do and realize it is time to demand more as a matter of respect and as a matter of common decency.  I am proud to work for a living, but I am tired of struggling to make ends meet while others burn money like it is infinite.  I am tired of them believing money is infinite.  I am tired, and I am angry, and it’s time something be done.

If you’ve read this far, then maybe like me, you too want something to be done.  Maybe like me, you are tired of watching others prosper while you, your family, your friends, and coworkers barely tread water each month, earning only enough to put food on your plates and clothes on your backs while the upper crust of our society ignores our struggles while caring only about profits, bottom lines, and growth capital.  Look, I will say this again.  I do not want anything I have not earned.  I simply want to live a life where I am not expected to make a choice between putting gas in my car or groceries on my table.  As a citizen of the most powerful nation on the planet, I shouldn’t have to deny my children the opportunity to go to the school of their choosing because college has simply become a  playground for those who can afford to send their children while those of us in the middle class can not take on the financial burden of higher education.  It is said that in order to advance in our society today, college is a must, and while I may take issue with the current state of education in this country, I will not deny the importance of educating all of our society, not just those with money in their pockets.  What will it take to make those in power realize that as the divide grows between upper and middle class, so does the rate of failure for those who can not afford the education we dictate they need for success?  In order for our society to be prosperous, we need to spread the wealth and provide for all, not only the few.

I realize that while I have made my feelings known, I have not offered much in the way of solutions.  Obviously, if I had the solutions, I would not be writing this.  I suppose my hope is that someone will read this and offer one possible solution.  Perhaps someone else will then offer another solution.  The idea is to come together and develop many possibilities, ultimately leading to the best possible solution for all.  I don’t believe in attacking those who I take issue with as I feel confrontation is not the answer.  I believe in working with those who have different views than my own and finding a common ground in which we can all come to an agreement.  I believe one answer to this great divide is to find a way of developing a progressive wage for workers based on a number of factors.  While I don’t believe simply raising the federal minimum wage is the best solution, I do believe it is a start, and we have to start somewhere.

I am not entirely sure what I expect to come of this, but I know if all we do is talk and take no action, nothing will ever get done, so I will end this here in the hopes that all my talking may inspire just a little bit of action.  We shall see.

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~ by James on February 19, 2013.

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