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The backbone of our country

Are you ashamed to be middle class? I know that may seem like an absurd concept, but just consider it for a second. While it sounds ridiculous someone would be embarrassed to have a steady job, a comfortable home and perhaps a little savings, some in our income bracket give the appearance they feel ashamed of being members of the middle class.


We are bombarded with images of the trappings of wealth, lavish homes, expensive cars and lifestyles, which seem to be too good to be true. But if the desire for these possessions are placed above the blessings which we should value, like home and family, your priorities need an extreme makeover.

Very often, in order to make a lot of money, you have to spend so much time away from your family that you become a stranger in the very home you’ve worked so hard to acquire. Your kids will grow up without you being there to give them the guidance they’re going to need later in life. You can’t get this time back; you can’t make it up later.

If you feel miserable because someone makes more money than you, then you have to ask yourself why. If you define yourself by your personal wealth, perhaps you’re overcompensating for something missing in your life. Will more money fix this perceived deficiency or just make you more disillusioned when you realize it doesn’t?

If someone makes $100 per year more than you do, is he or she a better person? How about $1,000? $10,000?  $100,000? At what income level do you feel they become superior? If you feel the need to impress others with your affluence, why do you need the validation of others to make you feel complete? Why is their opinion of you, more important than your opinion of yourself? Why did you relinquish so much power over your self esteem to someone else?

When you see someone with a lot of money, before you begin worshipping them, you should ask yourself what they had to do to get it. Very often, they’ve engaged in unethical or unscrupulous tactics and many times there is a trail of victims left behind by their obsessive drive for money. Don’t forget, Bernie Madoff was wealthy and admired until his victims found out the extent of his actions.

If you think money alone can make happy, then why are so many wealthy people miserable? Why are so many rich folks like movie idols and rock stars prone to alcoholism, drug abuse and broken marriages? The obsessive pursuit of money is an addiction, just like any other obsessive and compulsive addiction, like crack or heroin. It makes you feel good temporarily, but you pay a high price for neglecting the other essential elements of your life.

It’s understandable why people find themselves in this position. There seems to be a cultural fallacy that everyone can be rich and should be rich. This isn’t true because our society would collapse if we did nothing but make money from making money. After all, who would teach our children, answer the police calls and drive the buses? Who would do all the little things which keep our complex society functioning?

The sad fact is that the most accurate predictor of a person’s probability of wealth and success is to be born into a wealthy, successful family. Because if you are,  you grow up with all of the advantages denied to others, like access to better educational opportunities and family connections which will always put you at the front of every line. Anybody who feels affluent people are chosen to be that way because of some divine recognition of their superior intelligence and abilities never spent much time with the children of wealthy parents.

Don’t let someone else convince you that you’re inferior. The middle class isn’t a temporary stop on the road to riches – it’s an achievement. You have everything you need and most of what you want. Remember: you’re the backbone of our country. You could survive without billionaires, but they couldn’t survive without you. So be proud about being middle class, and for your own sake … vote like you’re part of the middle class.

Posted in View from the Floor
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