You know, if you’re pulling down $1M a year in this economy, you’re worried about what school your kid is going to go to, and about making the payments on your summer house, and worried about how to reduce your tax burden, I understand that. Seriously. I get that you’re stressed to what you think is the limit.
But I don’t have that much sympathy for you, because I’ve been in the position of being thrown out of my home with nothing but the change I could scrape from behind a sofa before I left. I’ve not known where my next meal is coming from. I’ve not known where I’m going to be sleeping. I’ve been in a situation where a beer or TV or a phone or even electricity to turn on the lights was just not there. And you know what? I am a million times luckier than many, many people in this country. Even then I was doing all right, because I managed to get myself out of what I’d gotten myself into, with help from friends.
Many, many people don’t manage to get out from under, and just get sucked further and further into debt and despair. When all the food you can afford to buy (or afford to get to, look up “food deserts”) is fat, sugar, salt, and food coloring, when it’s vastly easier to afford a new TV than tuition and textbooks, and when trusting an ad for a for-profit college can mean a lifetime of debt, and when even those things can be taken away by one car accident or one stupid decision, and when half the country has been disassembling the social safety net for the past thirty years and is howling for more, you know what?
My first thought is that I’m not going to really pay much attention to your pain after I acknowledge it, because people in your income bracket (and those who make far more) have been pandered to so much that the effort has drained our values, our vitality, and our ability to cope with change. As pension contracts with unions are broken, and people who mail their keys to their mortgage servicer and walk away are increasingly condemned for making a decision that investors and corporations make every single day, I just don’t have much use for the troubles of those who don’t have to live by the rules of the poorest among us, or even the much looser rules I do.
I’d offer a deal where I’d care about your pain if you cared about ours, but some among you have taken even more of our ability to effect political change for themselves. So with that in mind, I’ll leave you with a thought: if you take away any peaceful and meaningful ability to effect change, you are left with a spiral of repression and violence that is very, very difficult to break.