Normally, I don't address political issues here, but this one was triggered when I found myself re-reading old journal entries from about fifteen years ago, and realized that, even though we - referring to my family as a whole - are still working just as hard, our way of life is nowhere near what we enjoyed back then.
There are some at the top of the political ladder, such as our current President, who "get it"; who realize that the "middle class" that my husband and I considered ourselves lucky to be a part of, is disappearing. There are so many millionaires, or pseudo-millionaires, in our society today, that we have slid into a new type of lower class, I guess.
We no longer enjoy simple pleasures such as eating out on a regular basis, going to movies and shows whenever we want, taking trips to visit friends or explore new areas, going shopping for luxuries and clothes we want, not just need, and generally enjoying the fruits of our honest labors. In a more serious vein, we can no longer buy affordable health insurance, consider buying a home, a new car, or rewarding our offspring with occasional monetary gifts. These were all aspects of our life that were just habit in those journals I read and I thought, we can't do any of this anymore!.
Yes, I know we're in the worst recession since the great Depression, and yes, I know we all have to "bite the bullet" and try to make it through. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm referring to the fact that our society has expanded in an unhealthy way; one that excludes that middle income family. We are not rich enough to afford the things we once took for granted - and not poor enough to have them provided for us by government assistance. We still work just as hard for our money, but our lifestyle - and that of our struggling children - is nothing like what we envisioned or enjoyed in the past.
It makes me angry when I hear the "haves" declaring that "nothing is wrong with our system", that we don't need to tax the ultra rich, that we don't need price controls, or reform for health care, or any of the other measures that might stem this greed that now pervades our society, leaving the defunct middle class forgotten in its wake to make "more, more, ever more".
What a soapbox this is today! Couldn't help it, though. I still harbor hope, in my unending optimism, that things will get better. I know this current economic mess will right itself eventually, but that isn't my focus here. I want to see the endless media seriously address the issue of what has happened to that middle class life I treasured as my children grew up and we were able to constantly strive for better things because we knew they were possible. And I don't mean a two-minute piece on the morning newsmagazine. This is the country where anyone is supposed to be able to have a good life for their loved ones if they work hard. The meaning of that sentence has certainly changed - and not for the better. Think about it.