Monday, April 16, 2012

Can The Wealthy Ever Understand?

It's an election year. It is inevitable that we are going to get slammed with political articles, views and commentary. I often find myself reading a political article getting sucked into the readers comments then ending on a whirlwind of outrage and disgust at all of the outright attacks and arrogant comments people leave. I really just need to stop reading the comments and stick with the original article.

But even those sometimes drive me crazy- as the author will try to pretend or even truly try to write objectively but their underlying agenda oozes and creeps through clouding the meaning. And really, I can't fault them for that. We all have prejudices, beliefs, and agendas just simply because of that fact that we are breathing, thinking human beings, who have lived a life and are influenced by what has happened in our lives. Often when I am trying to decide if I am going to vote for some bill or referendum I will see who is backing it as that can often say worlds about what it truly is.

So before I get to the meat of my post, I am going to fully disclose who I am so you can't accuse me of having a hidden agenda or prejudices as I am saying-- yes I do have my own prejudices/beliefs and ideas and a lot of them are rooted from who I am.
  • I am Caucasian female who was born and raised by a middle class family in the Midwest.
  • My family always had food on our table and a safe home to live.
  • We never went on exotic vacations and would drive a car until it died, then my father would rebuild the engine and we would drive it some more.
  • We attended church weekly and my mom would often give rides to ladies to church who lived in neighborhoods that they asked her not to come into at night for her own safety.
  • My father is a college graduate, my mother is not- but I was taught from an early age the importance of a college education and that I was going to go to college.
  • We were taught to work hard, think and contribute to society not take and ask of things from it.
  • My parents vote Republican, but all of my siblings do not. One brother if he could be classified as anything would be an extreme libertarian, another a democrat- I am a registered republican.
  • I attended college at one of the most conservative university in the country and graduated with a bachelors degree in psychology.
  • I became a licensed social worker and worked for the Division of Child of Family Services in easily one of the roughest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City.
  • I worked with moms- legally still children themselves with two or three children of their own trying to help them have a better life.
  • I spent hours at Welfare and Social services offices helping parents fight the complicated systems of welfare and relief just so they could get their kids the dental and medical care they needed so their kids could attend school.
  • I also stood (as I dare not sit anywhere in this home) in a home filled with garbage, feces, and everything imaginable and listened to the mom blame everything from the government to her six-year-old son for the mess and what were we going to do to clean it.
  • I have been yelled at, cursed at and told that the government should not be in their lives and trust me I would have happily not been there- but knew I had to be for the absolute safety of the children that were involved.
  • And I fought and debated with committees within my own agency as the committee got the ultimate say on who a child would be placed with even though I was the one that had worked with the child and knew who they were.
  • I am now a stay at home mother because I chose to be and because financially I am able to be.
  • I still attend church weekly and believe in the value of traditional families, hard work and taking care of yourself and your own.
  • I try and always be honest and open with who I am- but I am also not one who is going to air her dirty laundry for all to see.
  • I believe in trying my hardest not to judge others as you just never ever know what someone has gone through.

Now the meat:

Can the Wealthy Ever Understand?

In case you have somehow managed to avoid all things political; recently Hilary Rosen a political mouth- in talking about Ann Romney (Mitt's wife) stated,"His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing." This soon led to an outrage from both sides and opened up the battle of stay at home moms and if they really work. Rosen was not trying to start this battle, or reignite it, but was trying to say that since Ann was born to wealth and privilege she could not be a good adviser as to what real women need and want.

So, can the wealthy ever understand and lead?

First, money is a huge part of our lives, whether we want it to be or not. But money even an abundance of it does not mean a happy, healthy or even a productive life-- just look at many of the Hollywood celebrities and their millions.

Yes, Ann is an extreme with her amount of money. So will she fully ever understand-No. But would someone who lives a very different life than Ann ever really understand the other side- No. But does this wealth and privilege make her and her husband unqualified to lead as they are out of touch with reality- NO.

I have never tried drugs. Does that mean that I do not understand the devastating consequences drug addiction can lead to? I might not appreciate or truly comprehend what it means to go through withdrawal- but I do not have to do drugs to understand and help work towards a solution.

I issue a challenge- name one politician serving at a national level that started off from nothing and worked to where they are today. There are a few "rags to riches" politicians (including Mitt Romney's own father who served as governor) but most were born to a life of privilege, hard working educated parents who taught their children to do and be the same. And those few true American dream stories- if you interviewed them would they tell you they made it because of government hand outs and someone doing it for them, or would they tell it was from their own hard work and determination.

Giving handouts never teaches anyone anything. Yes, it often alleviates a real and true need, but just for that day, that moment; tomorrow they will be left in the same place.

I love this country- it is a country founded on the freedom to WORK for prosperity, to WORK for the American dream. It is not freedom to be entitled to whatever you want if you whine the loudest.

I believe there is a place and a reason for government programs and social services- heck I wouldn't have had a job for those years if it wasn't for government programs-- but I also believe the way they are currently set up and the way some are wanting them to head, with more assistance, more help, more handouts is not the solution. I saw those set up with more services than you can imagine continue to fail again and again and just continue to ask for more. I have also seen those who after years of abuse, neglect and little education finally truly started working and broke free and made a better life for themselves and their family; they took the help they were offered and then worked harder than they could ever imagine.

This is a country of democracy and living the American dream. A dream of working hard and being able to pull ahead and be whoever you want to be. As a mother it is my job, responsibility and duty to raise my children to value work, to respect others and to add and contribute to society; not ask society what it is going to give to them. If it means I have to work my tail off to give them things they NEED (I did not say want as there is a tremendous difference) than that is my right and privilege. And if I am able and choose to stay home to do this then I am still going to be working my tail off!

So yes, I may not fully understand what others are going through because I have not lived as they have; but they have not lived my life either. What I know is hard work, integrity and human decency can get you a long way in this world, and I am happy to reach out, to teach, to offer that hand in the moment of despair but then we all have to learn and grow on our own. Society cannot do it for us.

So to Ms. Rosen- yes Ann Romney lived a very different life from most of us. Will she ever fully understand- no. But does this discredit her from being able to truly contribute to and help society? Not by a long shot.

Thanks for sticking with me on my soapbox- now that I got it all out, I will be able to return to my regular happy blog posts you are used to seeing- tomorrow I am telling my secrets for making the perfect cake.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I totally agree with you...I'm a strong believer in if you work hard you go further...and that you shouldn't be punished for doing well or making more money. If you earned it, then you should get to decide what you do with it...not to feel guilty. My family didn't have a lot of money growing up but it taught me to work hard and to try to do better. I learned about the value of hard work, and I plan to teach my kids the same thing...and that they are not entitled to things. Great post!

  2. Well said. And I agree. I am fortunate in that my parents encouraged me to work hard and not quit school, and I can support myself and my children in a professional position. I want the same for my hard and you will succeed!

    My issue is that if I tell an undereducated mama with children to work hard and all she can get is a minimum wage job, she still can't ever be self-supporting. There's a big gap between that single mama and me, and she probably won't be able to bridge it, no matter how hard she works.

    I was reared by Republicans who had three kids: now one R and two independent Libertarians.

  3. Oh, Emmy! This is why I love you! :o) I love that you can write a post like this today, and then one tomorrow on baking cakes. It just goes to show how well-rounded you are!

    We may not share the same political beliefs, but I can definitely appreciate a lot of what you said in this post. I agree that if you haven't walked in the same shoes as someone else, you won't know exactly what it's like to live their life, but you most certainly aren't prohibited from recognizing a problem, creating a plan to help, and executing it. To say that because you haven't been there yourself that you are incapable of helping is ridiculous. Okay...better stop there before this comment turns into a blog post itself.

  4. @Hawkeyejlp - I agree, it is that gap for those that are really trying and working and that have children where I believe the help is good and needed. It is a shame how quickly all services and help get cut off when someone starts working as chances are whatever job they are starting off on will not cut it, so they soon find it more profitable to just not work-- and that is a major fail. If support and help is still given, espeically for her children- then it will make it so she can work and continue to work to take care of her family. I strongly believe in protecting and helping the innocent- children-- why I was able to do the job I did.

  5. This is a really good post. I appreciate your candor and I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. How interesting that you were involved in social work and got to see first-hand the good and bad effects of government help and intervention. I have mixed feelings about welfare--it helped my own mother when she was a young, single, poor mother and I know it can help people to help themselves. On the other hand, it can encourage laziness and dependence in others. It's a fine line, and one that somehow should be legislated, but that is so complicated. I am definitely not supportive of what Obama's administration is doing and wants to do.
    Anyway, I really enjoyed this post. You're a good writer and you're good at sharing your opinions. Thanks for sharing them.

  6. WOW Emily! Thanks for the great post! (That's my daughter-in-love everyone! Isn't she something!) Love you, Emily! Terrific!

  7. I vote you for President, you're just what our country needs!!

    Great post Emmy, really great post!!!

  8. Well written and well said.

    Although we don't lean the same way politically, your experience brings a great perspective to the issue. I strongly believe welfare is necessary but as you know from your former job (I had a similar one when I was fresh out of college) it's in need of serious reform to encourage self-sufficiency while still making sure children don't slip through the cracks and suffer.

    BTW this is Melissa from church :)

  9. Very well said. I agree with much of what you posted here. Though, we are a lot alike. ;-)

  10. This is a good one!! I like it. I guess Ms. Rosen's filter was shut off when she said that. You know the one that shuts us up before we speak. Well said girl!

  11. Fantastic post!! (I wish we could be friends in "real life")

    :-) So interesting to hear about your background and all of your experiences.

  12. Very well said!

    I agree wholeheartedly!

  13. Well, I know you know how I feel on this one - so all I will say is WELL SAID!!

  14. Good for you on knowing where you stand and why. If we don't, we blow everywhere and become ignorant in some ways. I think having a strong conviction is a wonderful thing! And I agree on the comments, especially the FB ones by others- drives me UP A WALL!

  15. This is where I admit that I don't follow politics even the littlest bit so I've never even heard of the controversy. My mom is obsessed with politics and talks about it every second so I think that's what turned me off to it. I feel kinda guilty that I never know what's going on, but it's my choice not to know so I guess it's ok. ;)

  16. Well said! I think we need to stop pointing out our differences and work together more.

  17. Well said! I think we need to stop pointing out our differences and work together more.

  18. What a well written, thoughtfully expressed post Emmy. I have all types in my life too and I wish we could all learn to get along. The yelling folks- those are the ones I find hardest to remain calm around!

  19. This one took a lot of time, girl.

  20. Great post! I agree on pretty darn much every single thing you said! Wouldn't this world be such a better place if everyone had the work hard, be ethical, moral & decent and just be good to others. So simple right?

  21. I enjoyed reading your post and perspectives!

  22. I love the fact that we can come from totally different backgrounds - and yet still respect the job of motherhood. Still respect the work it is to raise a family.

    So blessed to live in this country. Praying that God can bring us back to giving Him glory as a nation!