Like almost every one of us, I was not born rich, did not inherit a fortune, win the lottery, or sue someone. I worked hard and made good choices, and there is no magical percent that determines if I earned or deserve what I have.
I work longer hours away from my family so other people don’t have to and can have as many children as they want. I pay for their food, their housing, their health insurance. I am more a parent to their children than some of them are.
Maybe I have a job. That makes me lucky. Or maybe I started a business of my own and employ other people. That makes me greedy and oppressive. Everyone has a right to whatever they want from me simply because I’m a faceless company.
I am selfish because I keep some of what I make, even if I work in a soup kitchen or donate to charity on top of any taxes I pay. And I will never pay enough taxes to satisfy those who don’t pay at all.
If I spend my money, it’s blind consumerism. If I invest, I don’t deserve the rewards of helping the economy. If I save my money, I’m hoarding it from the poor.
Worst of all, when I protest all this, I am called heartless, racist, and elitist. I am made out the cause of society’s problems instead of the solution. I am called the burden when I am the one who pays the price.
In spite of being forced to give a hand out, I will give a hand up to anyone who wants to be one of us. But I will not apologize for doing the right thing. I will work, employ, spend, invest, and save for my family’s future even if you do not. I will keep helping without thanks and try not to be resentful or have disdain for those truly less fortunate.
Though I am treated like some separate class, I do not see it that way. But I do not accept being someone else’s excuse for not succeeding, be it luck, circumstance, or unwillingness to work as hard, smart, or long as I have. If you resent me, you will never be me. If you work with me, we can make a better life for a bigger percent. And that’s worth fighting for.