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Friday, January 13, 2012

Income inequality is class inequality

"I believe in a merit nation, an opportunity nation where people by virtue of their education, their hard work and risk taking and their dreams -- may be a little luck -- could achieve great things," said Mitt Romney on Thursday at a campaign rally in Florida.

I'm tired of rich politicians saying the lower-class citizens just don't work hard. Class in America is little more than nepotism. Your parents need $ to get you a good education so that you have the opportunity to get a job that pays enough for you to be able to send your own children to college. If there's no $ to begin with, and if your education has been provided by a public school system, then your chance of ridding yourself of poverty is slim. Our society is set up to afford little opportunity for advancement for those hard-working Americans without a college degree. Try as hard as they may, there's nowhere to go*.

Life is like a race - running the mile. Some people get a head start, some start on the starting line, and some start from behind it. Income inequality is not envy, as Romney also mentioned in his speech. Yes, the lower classes may be envious, but for good reason - they should be mad as hell too - because they've been set up since birth to be at a disadvantage in this race called life. Those with the money have influenced the rules of the game, and by doing so they've created this income gap. They've also introduced hurdles, many insurmountable by those who started behind the starting line. And the excuse? They just don't work hard. I'd argue those born into poverty and the lower classes worked harder from the start. The poor may be envious, but the rich are greedy, and it's that greed that has ultimately driven the envy - envy that the majority of Americans can do little about because the gap is just too wide. If we truly want to be unified as a country, we need to eliminate the gap.

Sure, a merit nation would be nice, but first everyone deserves the right to start on the same starting line. In a country where corporations are recognized as people and where the rights of actual people to unionize want to be taken away by corporations, it's easy to see the true motivation of the rich - the stockholders: to make themselves richer with no regard to the working men and women who built the office buildings they sit in and clean the toilets they shit in. And what do you do when you don't like what you see? You ignore it. You choose not to see it. You close your eyes or look the other way.

Open your eyes, America. Every American deserves a fair chance, not just those born into a certain class. Income inequality is class inequality, and class inequality divides a nation. Open your eyes and see all the varying ways American's live (and work), and then tell me you're fine with your decision to continue this cycle of greed. Look those American's who start behind the finish line square in the eyes. Look at them. I dare you.

*Note: Yes, there are exceptions to every rule.