Have you ever tried to explain what it is Liberals want to a Conservative. I have had many of these conversations and the result is always the same. I tell them that no American should have to sleep on the street and they tell me that not everyone can be rich. I tell them that minimum wage is not enough to live on and they tell me you can’t expect to make a hundred thousand dollars a year right out of high school. I say the American people are dying because the Big Corporations have taken all the jobs and they say in the John Boehner Robotic voice, “But Big Business creates jobs”. And no matter the evidence I produce to the contrary, they say “Big Business creates jobs” like if they say it enough it will be true. I say everyone has a right to the American Dream and they tell me that the American Dream is different for everyone. But is it? Is the American Dream different for everyone or just for the Wealthy. Well, we are the 99% and most of us have the same dream. But getting the Conservatives to understand much less support that dream is like butting your head against a brick wall. It doesn’t move. So what is the American Dream? Why don’t conservatives get it? Or perhaps more to the point; why won’t they admit they get it and stop accusing us of wanting to be like them?
I used to think speaking with Conservatives was like speaking with the landlady for an apartment I rented. She paid the water bill and was constantly on my back for using too much water. There was no Air conditioning and I would shower three times a day on average; depending on my commitments for the day. Every time we met she would complain and say, “I don’t know why you want to be wet all the time anyway. Running the shower all day like some kind of fool.” And each time I would explain that I had no desire to be wet all the time. I didn’t need to run the shower all day to be wet. I only needed to run it several times for a short period to be clean. And each time it was the same. She never seemed to get the notion out of her head that all I did was stand around in the shower all day.
But over time I have come to believe that speaking to conservatives about The American Dream or what Liberals want is more like attending a Circulation Supervisors Meeting at my workplace. Human resourses would send this very nice, polite young woman to speak with us and “get our opinion” about a new procedure they wanted to try. They would say, “We have a plan. We are going to do all hiring of Pages from HR from now on. We wanted to get your thoughts.” Ten Supervisors would begin to speak at once but after order was restored several would take turns expressing their great sense of frustration about this. Theyliked hiring the young Pages (Book Shelvers) from their branch’s neighborhood.Most of the Pages were teens and didn’t drive. We hired kids that we knew from the normal activities of the Branch and so had a good idea of their character and personality etc. etc. etc. After we had finished explaining all of the reasons why it was a bad idea, this very polite, very nice, very likeable young woman looked at us and said “So, we’ll begin this new procedure Monday. We feel sure you will like it better after you get used to it.” End of conversation. Of course she heard and understood everything we said. It’s just that they were going to do whatever they wanted to do, because they had the power to run over us. Our opinions, our objections and our clearly stated wants were of no concern to them.
Conservatives are much like this. They tend to be successful, somewhat wealthy or at least very comfortable as they used to say.They believe in Capitalism like it’s a god. It will solve all problems and right all wrongs. Just turn us loose with a free market and the “Shining God of Capitalism” will shower it’s blessings on every American by virtue of the widely publicized and well venerated “Trickle Down System”. You can show them the tarnish on the shining beast; you can explain that “Trickle Down” only works if the shower is allowed to hit the ground. It doesn’t work if the entire volume of blessings is captured in a “Hermetically Sealed Bank Vault” and left to grow mold. The answers are the same.Everybody can’t be rich; you can’t expect to make a hundred thousand dollars a year right out of High School; and the American Dream?
Weeeeell, the American Dream is different for everyone don’t you know? Then they cite the case of Hernando, a South American peasant from a remote mountain village where it rains only once a year, no crops will grow, no doctor will visit and where finally at the end of his rope he was forced to eat his llama to gain enough strength to crawl thousands of miles on his hands and knees to America. Upon arrival, he knew it was all true. The streets are lined with gold. Hernando is then; either happy to be a gardener for a wealthy Republican Captain of Industry and grateful for the opportunity just to breath American air or he sells his poncho for two dollars and turns the proceeds into a thriving landscaping business and of course owing it all to the free enterprise system and the Republican Capitalist Ideal he supports the Conservative cause.
I tell them to give him a few years and then get back to me. After a few years he will learn that while his business may be doing well, the giant landscaping conglomerate wants to swallow it up in order to gain a monopoly on the local landscaping industry and force the price of landscaping work up.
Hey! Who are these conservatives trying to fool anyway? If Hernando is going to start a business in America. He is going to need a small business loan. So I am going to assume that he either crawled all the way North with a sack of gold on his back for collateral or he took advantage of one of the US Small Business Administration loan programs that give preferential treatment to new immigrants from disadvantaged countries. Programs that Conservatives must disapprove of because…………Now wait one! How did this Conservative hero get here anyway? If he crawled then he probably entered illegally. If he came in legally, chances are he wasn’t as poor as they would like us to believe he was. Unless he applied for and was granted political asylum because he was the target of right wing extremists in his own country and returning there would pose an imminent danger to his life. Then we’re right back to those government programs. Liberal Programs designed to help disadvantaged people from other countries. So now I’m thinking that this “Conservative Hero” of the “Bootstrap Brigade” either wouldn’t have gotten his chance at the big republican dollars without the help of our Liberal Assistance programs……or….. he never needed any financial help to begin with and his idea of “streets lined with gold” and the “American Dream” is just gaining access to a whole new population of customers, willing to pay ten times what he could ply his trade for at home. In which case he is no longer a hero but just another money hungry capitalist predator looking for a new hunting ground and new sheep to fleece.
But what about the story of Joe. This is my Liberal American Hero. Joe finished high school about middle of his class. He didn’t go to college but went straight to work because he wasn’t one of those students that attracted scholarship offers and he probably wasn’t such a go-getter that he sought out financial assistance or government loans. He may not have even been aware of those programs. He worked and after a few years he married a nice girl from a nice blue collar family much like his. They had a couple of kids and lived in rented apartments. They both worked hard. He in a list of factories and warehouses; she in a Wall-mart. Neither qualified for a benefit package. He because he changed jobs too often and she because she worked for Wall-mart. When they were first married, they struggled to pay the bills and raise their kids. Now, they are both in their fifties and they both have some health issues. They see the time coming when they will not be able to work and yet they still struggle to pay the bills even though the kids are gone because the prices of everything has gone up, up, up and their wages have gone up, fizzle, level off. If they both work until normal retirement age, they should receive enough in Social Security to allow them to struggle to pay the bills and pay for Medi-Care as they will have no other health insurance option.
If however, one of them becomes unable to work due to medical problems, they will be down to just one income for the two to three years it takes to navigate the application and appeals process for Social Security Disability Insurance. If they are approved, it will give them about a thousand dollars a month and the one paycheck with which to struggle along to pay the bills.
Now if the second spouse can last until the first one gets their Social Security before being forced to apply themselves, their struggle will continue. If however the second spouse is forced to stop working prior to the first being approved, they will have zero income until one is approved. If both are finally approved before they either die of malnutrition or exposure, they will receive about two-thousand a month or twenty-four thousand dollars a year. Of course this amount will probably change when they reach retirement age, it won’t be much more and may be less. Their struggle to survive; to live the most basic existence will continue. They won’t be able to afford extras or to travel to Indiana to see Aunt Minnie Pearl or anything to make life interesting and enjoyable. But they should be able to afford to sit in a small apartment and stare at the walls until they drop dead or become unable to care for themselves and are shipped off to a hospital or nursing home until they finally give up and die.
Joe and his wife don’t want to be rich. They never did. All they ever wanted was to be able to pay the bills and care for their family’s needs and have a bit left over to enjoy life. And that’s all they want now. Good Luck Joe. Mr. Conservative says he believes you are already living your personal version of the American Dream. Thank God we don’t have to worry about you Joe…………………………………….Hey Joe! Ever heard of Occupy Wall Street? Yeh, sounds like you better get yourself out to the streets with the protesters before Mr. Conservative’s idea of your American Dream steals your face and sucks out your soul.
I don’t know why Conservatives can’t understand that not everyone wants to be rich. But they really can’t. People who are drawn to the Conservative Philosophy only look at money as a controlling factor in their life until they acquire more than they need. Some; those to the Manor born, may never have a normal view of money and begin life at that point when the money is only a means to allow them to continue to play the game of gathering more money. Not because they need it. But because they can’t stop wheeling and dealing any more than a habitual gambler can stop pulling the handle or taking that next card.
Money is no longer a means to an end. It is the end. Money means no more to the big players than monopoly money. It’s just there for the game.
I believe that they must think everyone feels that way. The concept of not having enough money is so foreign to them that they think it doesn’t matter how much they hoard or what they use it for. They don’t understand why we should care or why we feel we have a right to know or criticize their choices.
All I hear when I speak to them about the possibility of raising taxes on the wealthy is, “It’s my money! My money! My money! You have no right to control what I do with it.” And you know? If the amounts concerned were not so much of the wealth of the country. If the wealthy were making good choices a playing with their money in such a way that our nation could benefit from it, I wouldn’t care what they did with the rest of their money. But when so much of the nation’s wealth is tied up in so few peoples coffers and they sit on vast amounts of this money. What are we to think? What are we to do? Nobody that I know would give a pig’s whistle what the wealthy do with their money as long as everybody is able to live that minimum lifestyle that will allow them to pay the bills and care for their family’s needs and have a bit left over to enjoy life.
I don’t know all the answers. I don’t know for sure what will work. But I am pretty sure I know what won’t work. Let me count the ways you can fail to save your country from financial and social ruin.
- Write a letter to your elected Representative or Senator.
- Seek help from the Government Agencies designed to help.
- Vote for a Republican in the next Presidential Election.
- Vote for a Democrat in the next Presidential Election.
- Appeal to President Obama for help. Unless you have an OK from a large corporate entity that contributed to his campaign such as:
|University of California||$1,648,685|
|JPMorgan Chase & Co||$808,799|
|Sidley Austin LLP||$600,298|
|National Amusements Inc||$563,798|
|Skadden, Arps et al||$543,539|
|Latham & Watkins||$503,295|
a) for everything to get better on its own
b) for Republicans to get a conscience
c) for Democrats to grow a………….spine
d) for the thieving Bankers to give in and admit they are crooks
e) for the self-serving Politicians to do the same
f) for fish to grow feathers
Wait for your friends, family, colleagues, or neighbors to do the hard work for you. Wait for them to join the movement to right these wrongs. Let them go out and protest. Why should you exert yourself?
Because a change is coming. Whether the wealthy and powerful like it or not. This is your big chance to do something positive to help people.
The Conservatives and Thieving Fascist Bankers and Politicians know they’re wrong. If they had a conscience, they would care.
Don’t make the mistake the Conservatives make.
CARE. Get down to the protest Clyde. Give your sister Bertha a ride. This is your chance to do something to make America Free. To make America a nation for the people. That’s us. The people. The 99%.
Support and join the Occupy ______ organization nearest to you…………………………………………………………..or I guess you could just sit around and wait for the death squads and political education camps.