This may be more of a rant than some are accustomed to hearing from me. I was having a conversation recently with an older gentleman I knew from my childhood. This person seemed to hold animosity towards me because I have seen some successes in life. This person knew where I came from in the world. A mom that was 15 years old when I was born, and a dad that was 18. To top it off, my dad went to prison for a few years. There were many struggles in my life. Life wasn’t easy, as it isn’t easy for many people; it requires work and determination to succeed.
Don’t we all want more for our kids then we have? I certainly haven’t succeeded in everything I have tried to do, and have learned from my own shortcomings, becoming stronger each time I have not succeeded. My parents would say I have a better life then they have had. And they are proud of me for it. Why do some people have negativity towards people that have seen success? The gentleman I was speaking with made me out to be a bad person because I am “doing well.” As he put it, “nice car, nice job, nice house & family.”
I suppose I am nothing more than what a good friend recently jokingly called me, a “working class stiff.” I turn on the TV and see the media playing the class card. Even worse, I see the president of the United States play the class card. Then I see a Republican candidate for president play the class card in a debate. The funny thing is, it isn’t so much the “class” card, as it is the “success” card. When did success become a bad thing? To the gentleman I was conversing with, the media, the president and even a Republican presidential candidate; success apparently is a bad thing.
My wife and I work extremely hard for what we have. We pay our taxes and a lot in student loans…I mean a lot. We live in a very modest home in Waukee. We drive used cars that are nice. We both came from circumstances where we are now far better than that of where we came from. To some, we are bad people because we have seen success. They say we should pay more taxes…even though we pay more in student loans than our mortgage (so much that we can’t deduct all of the interest on the student loans because we make too much money). We give back to our community and try to be a positive influence for others. We work hard and help to grow the economy by operating a small business, supporting others as they grow their small businesses and achieve their own American dream. We have never forgotten where we came from and never will. Yet, to some, our success means we should be treated or looked upon negatively.
This "working class stiff" is tired of people criticizing success. For me, the successes I have seen has been a key part of my living the American dream; and only in America could the son of teenage parents and a father that spent time in prison accomplish what I have. Success is not a bad thing, and I (along with others) get tired of being treated as though it is.
I don’t ever want to live in an America where success is a bad thing.