I started several drafts on the topic of “class warfare” and several paragraphs into each of them, as I tried to answer and refute the stupidity I keep hearing from the Tea Party Republicans who are going on and on about how they and their wealthy friends are being victimized, I found my fingers stilled on the keyboard because of the rage I feel at their disingenuousness, greed, and transparent self-interest, a la “The Angriest Dog in the World.”* I have no doubt that class warfare is in progress, but it is not the one being talked about in all the papers of late by the wealthy and their Congressional lapdogs. And if you think you’re on the winning side, I’m afraid you have an extremely high likelihood of being mistaken.
I’ve done the math, and found the quotes, but I feel they fundamentally fail to address what are, to me, the crucial questions in this debate about raising taxes on the wealthy to the levels they were when these people BECAME wealthy (and were seemingly no impediment at the time) and cutting services to those who need them most. Ultimately for me, it isn’t about numbers and percentages. It is, and always has been, about what kind of human being you are, and how you approach the rest of the people you share the planet with.
Are you a person who understands the benefits and privileges living in your society with others provides you, and who is prepared to contribute toward the society that makes them possible?
Are you a person who recognizes that we are all interdependent, and that none of us succeed all by ourselves?
Are you a person who understands the concept of “enough”? And will you be aware of it if you achieve it?
Are you a person who thinks it’s right to share what you have as you are able?
Are you a person who would rather risk being over-generous to the questionably deserving than risk allowing another human being to slip through the cracks and live (or perhaps die) in despair because you couldn’t trust that it all works out in the end?
Are you a person who believes in protecting the most vulnerable among us?
Are you a person who believes all of us should take care of each of us?
Are you a person who recognizes the injustices in your society, and how that impedes the cherished (and mythical) “level playing field” for some and skews it in others’ favor? And does that figure into your judgments about others?
Are you a person who believes we have a connection and an obligation to our fellow humans?
Are you a person who empathizes with the suffering of others and wants to do something to alleviate it?
Are you a person who counts your blessings, and is cognizant of how it could’ve easily been very different or worse for you?
Are you a person who understands that “fair” and “equal” are not always the same thing?
Are you a person who believes that cooperation is far more productive and life-affirming than competition?
Are you a person for whom people always come before profit?
Are you a person who believes that with great blessings come great responsibilities?
Are you a person who thinks that those who have benefited the most have a duty to give back the most?
I want to be a person who answers “yes” to these questions. If you answer “yes” to them, it seems to me that the way is clear, and the path obvious.
And if you’re a person who answers “no” to them, I will never understand you.
*“The dog who is so angry he cannot move. He cannot eat. He cannot sleep. He can just barely growl. Bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis.”