I don’t know that I can speak for everyone out there. I’m not sure anyone can define what an entire nation of people really want. The differences between people can be like night and day. Everything I believe that is good for the country, for myself, my friends, and my family, might be in direct contradiction of what my next door neighbor thinks is best for us all. The question seems both simple and yet, more complex than anything I’ve ever thought about before.
My entire life, I’ve been told that I need to find what it is that makes me happy and pursue that. Watching my parents, what they’ve done to provide and care for all of us and more, has instilled in me something more, though. The day in and day out struggles of keeping a family safe, comfortable, fed and content seemed like what it was we’re all supposed to do. My parents worked hard to make sure that we had everything we needed, and even a few things we just wanted.
I don’t want to make the impression that there was no one out there more badly off than we were. I know that even in my own extended family that just isn’t true. Yet, still, it seemed like every time we took one step forward, we were taking one step back. I know that’s not entirely true either. I can look back on my life and see how far my parents actually climbed, through hard work and determination. How far we’ve all come because of it.
I think if there was any one thing that Americans want, it’s for that burden, that struggle, to be a little bit easier. I don’t think the majority of us are actually asking for a hand out. I think we just want some of that oppressive burden to be taken off of our shoulders. It’s been my experience that when one person’s burden gets a little smaller, a little lighter, they in turn will help the next person down the line. We aren’t asking for a hand out. Most of us aren’t looking to be given something for nothing. We’re willing to work ourselves to the bone to get ahead, to advance. All we need is the opportunity.
I’ve seen a lot of rhetoric about redistributing wealth or putting the debt on our kids. I can’t help but think about who those statements are targeting. They aren’t targeting the top 1% of the Nation. They are designed to make people like me, sitting comfortably in the middle-class be afraid that I will fall down into poverty.
They truth is, that if we don’t do something to create the opportunities to advance — if we don’t find a way to lift a little bit of that burden from the people below us — than we will fall. Without a solid foundation, no building can stand. I’m afraid all the weight at the top of the building that we call America is starting to show signs of strain in the basement. The least we can do is add a few support beams.
Matt Brotherton is a doodler, writer, and part time philosopher. You can find more of his rants and dreams at http://www.mabrotherton.com or follow him on Twitter.