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  • Dora Nudelman

Politics and the Divide Between the Classes

Politics has been at the forefront of pretty much everyone’s mind lately, not only around the world but also right here at home. Now, while there are many issues at hand, the one I want to talk about here is the division of the classes. I am not an economist nor a politician by trade, but there are several perspectives that I have long thought were outdated on this subject and in need of serious revamp. One such perspective is the one that likes to pit the “haves” against the “have nots.” Consequently, there is usually one party that is for the “poor” (or the less fortunate), and one that is for the “rich.” But here’s why this way of thinking and seeing the world will never actually bring harmony to the human race, or a truly sustainable means for economic growth. You see, as long as we vilify the wealthy (or the act of making and spending money), and victimize the poor or the less fortunate, we will be creating a great rift between people. “Poor” people are not automatically saints and “rich” people are not automatically sinners, so we need to lose these stereotypes first and foremost if we are to start getting along and finding policies that will work well for everyone equally. I came into this world into a loving environment, but by far not the wealthiest one by economic measures. My parents started at the bottom (I mean, two suitcases and two hundred dollars in their pockets), and the little assistance they did get, they paid back down to the penny. My parents and I came to this country with virtually nothing, yet we never pointed the finger at the "rich" for our struggles. My parents simply worked hard and did whatever it took, risks included, to get out of that circumstance and into a better life. They saw the opportunities this country provided and acted on them, even if they didn't know where it would lead. So I can relate to both perspectives and, because of that, I know that stereotypes are wrong and do not serve to create peace or harmony among us, or even success in our own lives, for that matter. The truth is, we are nurturing, kind, and generous people, regardless of how much money we have in the bank, because we know that money does not make a person; it only magnifies who they already are. So when my family's successes are scrutinized through a “must be nice” mentality, lumping us into a group that is envied for having what some would consider as “more than others,” it feels like a grossly unfair judgment that only looks at the results and not at the strides we took to get us to where we are today. Moreover, when we reach our further financial goals in life, I would like to think that others would not judge us as being selfish, greedy, or self-involved because of it. I would like to think that the energy, time, choices, and money we had invested in ourselves to get to where we wanted to be would be taken into consideration, and not just the external wealth others would perceive. The thing is, it may not always be easy, but if we are to get anywhere valuable in life we will have to be self-responsible, at least to some degree, because that is the only true way to self-empowerment. The wealthy are not by default evil, ruthless, or greedy. The less fortunate are not automatically hopeless victims of circumstance (at least we never saw ourselves that way, no matter how hard it got). And so we need to keep in mind that no matter where we come from, each of us, through our alignment with certain beliefs, can manifest abundance (in some form) into our own lives. But the longer we point the finger at others as the cause of all of our problems, the longer it will take us, if ever, to realize our dreams. We need to acknowledge that not every successful person was born a Rockefeller, and not every affluent person is self-entitled. In truth, we each are responsible for making the most of what we have. As such, we must all start to take ownership of our choices if society is to truly evolve into an equal and just place for all. Yes, some people have it harder than others. But there are many who have succeeded in spite of that, just ask my parents. Yes, everyone deserves a helping hand from time-to-time, but relying on that alone is not a viable road to self-empowerment. In fact, expecting that hand out consistently is actually dis-empowering. Consequently, the Robin Hood "take from the rich and give to the poor" mentality, I believe, is a seriously outdated concept. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be financially free? In fact, would the same people propagating a “tax the rich” platform still be as enthusiastic about it if they were themselves “rich”? So could it be that many of the resentments displayed against the wealthy actually come from a place of envy rather than absolute truth? Look, corruption and greed do exist, but not all the time, and not in every case. A few bad apples cannot spoil the bunch. Believe it or not, there are wealthy people who do things by the book. And by the way, corruption, deceit, and cheating can happen at all socioeconomic levels, and does. And so, we cannot judge the nature of a person by their socioeconomic status alone. Instead, we need to perceive each person for who they are on the inside rather than painting everyone with the same brush. As such, we cannot label everyone as the same based solely on one common denominator. Moreover, blaming others only takes away our own power. So if we place all of the responsibility onto one group and expect them to fix everything for us, it will never really get done. Yes, some people or companies who can do more, don’t. But that is a personal choice made by some, not by all. Sure, systems can always use upgrades and practices can always use tweaks, but there isn’t only one cause to the dysfunction. We all strive to achieve “The American/Canadian Dream” in one way or another, so to vilify those who have succeeded seems a bit hypocritical to me. I mean, why should people who have worked long and hard to achieve their success have potentially so much of it taken away through political policies that aim at “punishing” the rich? So, when politicians try to pit one group in society against another in order to garner votes, it makes me feel sad for our country, and humanity as a whole, for it is just a representation of the gross misunderstandings within the mass consciousness. But fighting against each other will only work to separate us further. For instance, look at the "tax the rich" platform on which some politicians choose to run. Yes, taxes are certainly necessary to run the country and fund public programs, and everyone needs to play their part in that, but sometimes it feels as though we are being discouraged from succeeding before we have even begun. This is a capitalist country right? Land of opportunities?? So why are we punishing people for living the dream? Let's not forget that many wealthy people often spend in ways that help the economy thrive, run businesses that create a mass number of jobs, and create opportunities for economic growth and financial stability. So if we tax the rich until they bleed, guess who else is going to suffer. There simply has to be a better solution where all people feel heard and validated. At the end of the day, we are all but one people living on one planet together. So we need to start collaborating and respecting each other’s perspectives without judgment. We need to drop the stereotypes and start seeing each other for who we really are underneath it all. We need to let go of sweeping generalizations and learn to empathize with each other. And we need to be honest with ourselves about why we are so angry or defensive in the first place. Is it really because someone is taking what’s ours, or is it because we want what others have and feel like we can’t have it? Is it really because we aren’t doing enough (and if so, what can we do to change that?), or is it that we have been made to feel guilty even though we are, in fact, doing so much? Instead of pointing the finger, let us each look to and at ourselves and ask, “Are my beliefs and actions contributing to the problem, or are they helping with the solution?” and “Is my belief and attitude empowering me, or is it just turning me into a helpless victim with no control over my own life?” So let's no longer allow our own limiting beliefs to inspire hatred in us for people who seem to be living differently. And let us not allow politicians to manipulate us into thinking that we need to be divided, or that someone else has to lose in order for us to get what we want.

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