There’s been a lot of nonsense the last few years about the one percent versus the ninety-nine percent. Or the forty-three versus the fifty-seven percent. Whether it’s demagogues playing the petty fiddle of class division or short-sighted leaders disinterested in the hardships of the everyday working class, they’ve got it wrong. This country was founded on a bedrock of equality. And not equality at the finish line but equality at the starting gate. Until recently, generations of Americans looked to success in practically every endeavor as a beacon of hope. Now, sadly, the politics of class division has warped the American dream in one of two ways. It’s perceived as being either hopelessly unattainable or it’s viewed as an object of scorn and envy.
In a 2012 presidential debate, President Obama mocked Mr. Romney, saying “I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours, so it doesn’t take as long“. In speech after speech before and since, Mr. Obama has relentlessly attacked what he calls big business. And all the while, gladly accepting their largesse in the form of campaign contributions. He talks about wanting to spread the wealth around. At the same time he’s always trying to raise taxes on and regulate to no end the same companies people rely on to create that very wealth. In 2011, he said of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, “you’re the reason I ran for office.” This is the same group known all too well for sexual assault in their camps and for defecating on police cars. If these folks are the reason Mr. Obama ran for office then our problems are much wider than mere class division.
The simple fact is that Americans don’t have a history of class warfare. We’ve always been bigger than that. Self-reliance, pulling oneself up by the bootstraps, these are the cornerstones of our economic growth. When taxes are cut, as under President Reagan, who gave us the largest economic boom we’ve experienced, real growth translates to real jobs and real recovery. We’ve always known that this is the fairest, most decent and humane way to ‘spread the wealth around’. You don’t do it by bringing those around you down. You do it by lifting up those around you in the wake of your own success. America has never been and shouldn’t ever be defined as become a disgruntled camp divided by success and envy. There is no one percent, ninety-nine percent, or any other percentage of economic division. Because when it comes down to it, we only get as far as we take each other. That I know one hundred percent.