Rich and Poor

dfIf a picture is worth a thousand words, I find this photo of Mumbai eloquent on the issue of rich and poor.

The same goes for news about people’s lives or what they think out loud:

Woman Juggling 4 Jobs Dies While Napping In Car  (Gist: She parked to take a cat nap between too many low paying jobs, fell asleep from exhaustion before she could turn off her defective car, and then suffocated in its fumes) There are many such stories in our world, stories of poor people simply being overwhelmed by all that is arrayed against them, too many of them and too sad to report them all here.

Greg Gopman, then-CEO of the startup AngelHeck is reported to have said: “You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class.” Imagine, a wealthy CEO (who rides the backs of real workers) including himself among the working class. Do we need any more evidence of the warped sense of reality at the top of our dung heap or the blithe mockery from that very top? Demonstrating the full extent of his compassion, he continued: “It’s a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I’d consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn’t made anyone’s life better in a while.” I wonder, has he? Has he ever made anyone’s life better? Does he think the “crazy toothless lady” was always crazy and toothless, or that – if she was – she entered the world this way on purpose? Take away his ill-gotten wealth and his healthcare, then watch how soon he will crouch protectively by that one cardboard box he managed to salvage.

Multi-billionaire and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman who raids working people’s pension funds had kind words of his own: “What’s remarkable is the amount of anger. Whether it’s on the Republican side, or the Democratic side. Bernie Sanders to me is almost more stunning than some of the stuff going on on the Republican side. How is that happening? Why is that happening? What is the vein in America that is being tapped into across parties that’s made people so unhappy?” I think, Schwarzman might consider a bit of continuing education, say by talking to the toothless lady.

Let’s not forget the rich from our political establishment. Mitt Romney, during his 2012 Presidential Election Campaign, supposedly said: “If you can’t find a job, borrow money from your parents and start a business.” If only he had gone on to tell us his secret for obtaining such wealthy parents.

Not only billionaires and their millionaire henchmen in politics have no clue how the majority of us must struggle and eek our way through life or how the rigged system we live in creates this shameful inequality. Well-paid yuppies and other lesser winners of society’s lottery can be similarly blind and callous: In a Feb. 15 letter addressed to the city’s mayor and police chief, software developer Justin Keller wrote bitterly about how his Presidents Day weekend had been ruined by homeless people: “The wealthy working people have earned their right to live in the city. … I shouldn’t have to see the pain, struggle, and despair of homeless people to and from my way to work every day…” He demanded action to remove the “riff-raff” (many of whom may be natives to the city which he and other well-paid recent arrivals have made too expensive for the original inhabitants).

People at the top like to forget that the rest of us are holding them up. Rigging the system against us seems OK to them. If we suffer as a consequence, we are disgusting and useless and should be removed from their sight.  I hope, you walk through life with more open eyes and more sympathy for your fellow man. As always, your comments are welcome.

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