Hate the rich

I’m hoping to become a small shopkeeper. There are millions of small shopkeepers in the United States, and I’ll feel a solidarity with all of them. It’ll be different than working for someone else, which is what most people do (while abhorring it). It’s a proud, complicated, and difficult declaration of personal independence. We’re aware it takes more effort than most things most people do. When we succeed, we don’t just make a living being our own boss, we create jobs and contribute to the national prosperity. We are what this country is all about.

So, it’s easy to feel we’re better than everybody else. We make our own way. We deserve as much as we can get. We admire other shopkeepers who get more than we do, because they’re better at our own game, and we’re going to try to get better, too. What we admire most of all are those billionaires, who are really, really smart. They’re so smart they should be president.

I’m noticing all this because there are people, now, publicly talking about the destruction of the American dream, and that couldn’t have happened without the complicity of shopkeepers like I hope to be. The Republican Party was an extraordinary instrument in the gutting of American opportunities. But it was just a tool. No less effective was the enjoyment, by middle-class ‘liberals,’ of inflating financial assets and property values, and their own version of feeling better than everyone else by building their private 401k plans and looking forward to something more than just ‘social security.’

Enthusiasm for your own prosperity, in whatever form that takes, is now an endorsement of the absolute power of a super elite. Because everything you consume and produce is controlled by the giant machines operated by the happy cliques in the ownership club, and anything that makes money, for anybody, makes it mostly for them.

This is not historically unusual, nor is the consolidation particularly acute (remember, a single Emperor used to own the whole kingdom). But this was America, and it used to be, when you made something for yourself, more of it was yours. And, contrary to the prevailing despair, the course can be reversed. Because it’s not about a System or an Economy or a set of scientific rules – it’s about a specific group of well-known people who are deliberately attacking you and your children. Try this: hate the rich. Just hate them. If everybody does it, things will change.

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