American Failings

I don’t write much over here these days.  It’s not from a lack of caring about our great nation, but trying to provide for my family. It’s just how the world works, and you’re not going to hear me complain about that.

Unfortunately, in this nation, that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Every day, someone somewhere in this country writes something about how people are being exploited. Workers, they say, are being exploited by greedy employers who only want to make money. They write that workers should be paid more.

They never mention how it’s fine for employees to expect more money but not fine for an employer to want money at all.

So many people spend time talking about the “little guy.” Everyone wants to root for the “little guy.” I get it. We love to see people succeed. Hell, half our entertainment involves the underdog winning against the more powerful foe. Why else do we love things like Star Wars?

However, when the “little guy” succeeds, he becomes the “Man.” We love stories about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates when they rise from the dregs of society, then turn on them when they work to keep the wealth they earned.

If we have a failing as a society, it’s that we spend so much effort on the “little guy,” when it should be just about the “guy.”

We should respect the individual and his efforts to achieve, but we should also respect his efforts to keep what he lawfully earned. We need to stop assuming that every employee who makes minimum wage actually should be earning a hell of a lot more.

You’re unskilled? Get some skills and get a better job.

You’ve got a degree in English Lit and you’re working as a waitress? Quit complaining about the system when you took a crap degree in the first place, knowing there weren’t jobs out there in your major.

You’re a single mother who just got out of high school? I hate it for you, but you need to either get an education, or at least some job skills.

The truth is, no one owes anyone just because they’re in a tough jam. On a long enough timeline, we all hit a rough patch. Unless that rough patch is because of someone else’s negligence, who owes us because something bad happened?

Our society spends more of its time demanding “fairness,” without ever understanding the term. Is it fair that I lost my dream? Probably not, but so what? It’s not like the forces of evil worked against me and crushed my hopes beneath their boots. It’s just a bad break, and that’s that.

What’s definitely not fair is the idea that someone else should be forced to pay for my own failings. Unless a court finds that they’re actually responsible, why is it fair to make someone else pay for something beyond their fault? It’s not. In fact, few think the government should have done something to save my business. I know I don’t.

Yet, many think we’re responsible for everyone’s hard time. You dropped out of high school and can’t get a job that doesn’t involve flipping burgers? You took a degree in philosophy so you wouldn’t have to take a lot of math, and now you can’t get a job?

Sorry, not my problem. Just like it wasn’t yours when I hit a bad spot in the road.

If we have a failing as a nation, it’s that we care so much about people that we ignore the person far too many times.  We hear the Left of American politics talk about the “Black Experience” or the “Female Experience” like each and every person who meets that criteria has the same experience.  What about the “Bob Peterson Experience”? There’s no mention of the “Helen Goldstein Experience.”

The smallest minority is the individual. The truth is, we all have something that really does make us some kind of minority. For me, it’s ADHD and Dyslexia. For someone else, it’s their skin tone or their. For another, their gender.

Each person is a minority, in some way. Yes, it may be that they’re the only person who understood Lost, but still. Maybe it’s time we embraced that fact and focus more of our attention on things more important than the differences.

Of course, I don’t expect a soul to listen to me. I’m just an old, bitter white man. At least, that’s what some will say. They’ll ignore my documented disabilities (awful ableist of them, isn’t it?) and focus on my skin, genitals, and age.

What I doubt they’ll do is even bother addressing the meat of what I’m saying.


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