I got a thought about why it might be that this country is contemplating socialism. I think it’s the new generation (computer geeks, video generation) and the retiring of the baby boomers, and the dying out of their parents, the folks who were the really hard workers who came from immigrant parents who were also people who came to this country and worked their butts off and wanted a piece of the pie. That struggle for them is over for the most part. They made this country what it is today, and we are all reaping the benefits of that arduous challenge. What we have now are people who are the product of that. Over the course of their lives they have had a lot handed to them. They (we?) had it much easier than their grandparents and great grandparents before them. What’s really to strive for anymore? Certainly there aren’t hordes of immigrants coming here streaming through New York with the same die hard work ethic our fathers and mothers before us had. That entire intense movement of change seems to be over, at least on a grand scale. Maybe it’s just that we are all tired of busting our balls (oh, wait, I haven’t busted anything!) and just want an even keel. Could it be? Could it be this country and the people running it are becoming complacent and just want to lay low and let the cards fall were they may? Is it easier to distribute the money evenly so we can all benefit somewhat equally?
Let’s face it, the vast majority of people are not going to be ‘lottery winners of life’, rather they’re going to be regular people working every day to pay their bills, keep food on the table and a roof over their head. Hopefully, they own that roof. This thought came to me today while my husband and I were talking about the whole potentiality for socialism developing in this country. At first we were both against it, but last night, Larry talked to some very educated guys who brought up some valid points regarding how it could be a positive thing. One guy said he went to France on a business trip to work at the French office and he noticed there (and it drove him crazy) everyone was so laid back and only worked a 35 hour work week. No more, no less. They played a lot of Civilization (a computer game), goofed around alot and seemed overall, much happier than himself and his American colleagues. Maybe it drove him crazy because he was envious of them. I find it a compelling thought, to work minimally and play to the maximum, to enjoy life and get as much out of it and still sustain yourself and your lifestyle with minimal work. Hey, it sounds really good to me. See. I’m just the type of person with an attitude that’s bad for this country and it’s millions of people just like me that might be the reason why capitalism could be on the wane. Am I all wet here? I’m not sure Socialism or something like it is good for the country because I’ve never lived it. It sounds good, but is it? I don’t know where I’m going with this.
I do understand the value and greatness of capitalism. The chance to become a Bill Gates type of success is born with all of us IF we put our minds to it, sweat blood working hard and try, and try, even after numerous failed attempts. But, the real reality of it is, most people don’t become an economic success, and almost none of us reach the heights Mr. Gates did. I call these abnormally successful people the ‘lottery winners of life.’ In my experience as an artist, I see the ‘lottery winners’ as women (and men, too) who’ve created a multimillion dollar business from their basements or kitchen tables. One year I attended the Country Living Fair in Chicago and sat witness to a panel of successful women like Vera Bradly, book authors and product designers who made it big, basically doing nothing out of the ordinary. As I sat there watching them gloat and ‘try to share their experience’ with us, I felt like more like I was having my face rubbed in their accomplishments. I wasn’t inspired by their success, I resented it.
Call me jealous. Maybe I am. But, I’ve tried to be successful, and it hasn’t worked. My husband has programmed his fingers to the bone and is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and he’s not economically successful running his company. I think the reality of it is, some people get very lucky. Surely the things these women did weren’t amazing, unique or wonderful. They were reinventing the wheel and got tremendously lucky. At least Bill Gates was an instrument in developing something life changing, and set the course for people to have their own computers. Heck, if it weren’t for him, I might not be typing this blog post right now. Probably, not, though. Someone else would have got lucky and did the same thing he did. Instead, he might have called his product ‘Doors’. Again, I might be jealous, but I am really getting tired of seeing the material excesses of overpaid people. Celebritites, CEO’s and athletes I believe are paid way too much for what they are worth. Now you say, sure, it’s easy to say that about them, but what if I were one of those lucky celebrities or brilliant CEO’s raking in the millions for a years work? I might be humming a different tune if the tides were turned. Yes, I might, but I also might be very embarrased by my overpaid career. I just might be pretty damn generous, given the chance.
I’m not intending to make this post a political statement. I’m just saying I had this thought and it’s probably way off base, but the thought occured to me and since this is my blog-my sounding board, I thought I’d share it. It does make sense to me that the really industrious, tenacious people are dying off. What is left to run this country is a majority of spoiled Americans. Who knows? If you really think about it, maybe Bill Gates is to blame for this American laziness and complacency. The product of his very success could be why our kids are becoming computer potatoes and sometimes don’t venture out to be kids who play outside and use their imaginations like generations of children before them. See-success might not be such a great thing. Look what it’s done. Maybe a million or so of success driven people without a pot to piss in will someday bring us back to what America was like when everyone worked their butts off to make this country a better place and that will give us hope after all that it can all happen again. But, that’s so much work! And are people really happier busting their buts? I wish it was an easy thing to figure out. Well, you know what they say-history repeats its self. I guess we will see.
**I know I’m going to get it for writing this. Comments, and bitch outs welcome. Remember, I’m a really nice person, just be gentle with me.
Okay, I’m ready, you can throw your darts now.
7 thoughts on “Some half-assed chutzpah…take with a grain of salt.”
Well, I am saying bravo to you giving your voice to what everyone online avoids like the plague discussing, but affects us all. So, nothing to add but please do it more often.
Interesting idea, Em, and brave of you to talk about it. I think there will always be those who are driven to make their own fortune (and who keep getting up time and time again after being knocked down) and those who are happy being part of an average-it-out pot. Nothing wrong with either perspective as far as I’m concerned as long as no one tries to force anything on me (I was born free after all!). But you know, I’m the grandchild of poor European immigrants who came here for an opportunity for a better life – one they didn’t have in their socialist country – and every one of my siblings was instilled with a work ethic that said “do better with each generation.” My parents graduated high school. My siblings and I all graduated college. My son just got his doctorate and took the bar. And our incomes have been commensurate with our education. So no, I definitely don’t want an average part of the pot, but I absolutely respect someone else’s choice on that — as long as they aren’t averaging into the pot I worked so hard to grow. (and maybe I’ll blog on that 🙂
Great post; interesting thoughts!
I have many American friends who either permanently live or temp. relocate overseas for work. They all love they European work holidays because the rest of the world takes at least a 6 week vacation and the socialized braces and health care for their children. What ALL of them have told me is that the taxes are very high and its not cracked up to what its made out to be.
Now for–“The product of his very success could be why our kids are becoming computer potatoes and sometimes don’t venture out to be kids who play outside and use their imaginations like generations of children before them. “–that is the parents fault. It is up to the parent to shut the computer off and not make it as accessible to the child, put time limits on video/computer games, and get your child outside and involved. The kid may grumble in the beginning but will love you for it in the end. This is one of those things that needs to be implemented from a young age on.
A lot of people don’t have jobs to be lazy at, at the moment.
Don’t be drinking the Kool-Aid..what did our parents and grands and soldiers live and die for??? What about our Constitution??? Nothing is FREE…NOTHING..
Medicare has worked pretty well for a lot of people. I don’t see what people are up in arms about regarding the public option.