1.30.2012

The disconnect of money

My girlfriend and I just bought a house. Sure it's cool, and due to some family circumstances we have money to fix and update quite a few things right away. A few hundred to a few thousand for a handful of projects, no problem, the money is there. And as we spend this money I'm made intimately aware of the disconnect that rich people have with the rest of us. Even people who just live comfortably in the upper middle class experience some of this disconnect.

My dad passed away, and my mom gave me some of his life insurance money. That's why we had money for a down payment, and why we can get work done without worrying about it. And I cannot really express in words how it feels to get the plumbing fixed without having to feel a pinch of financial pain. Knowing that I can afford to finish the basement without going further into debt. It's a strange sensation, and I know it will end. The money isn't endless. I've lived hand to mouth, I've hoped every new day wasn't the day my car broke down or something didn't put me in the hospital. This brief stint without worrying about money has given me more insight into just how disconnected the rich must be.

People like Mitt Romney can't understand. Even people who've come from humble backgrounds and earned their money will have forgotten the real, visceral qualities of financial stress. Even those who I've met who are kind and humble about their wealth can only pretend to get it. Someone who has never had to be concerned with having the money necessary can't understand the reality most people in the world live in. Those people never have to choose between fixing a broken window and buying food. Getting a dental checkup and putting gas in the car to go to work. You can tell a rich person that you might loose your house, but they'll never really understad how that feels and what it's doing to you as a human being, what it's like to feel you've lost your dignity and self-worth. And the biggest disconnect that the rich suffer is that they can never understand that financial stress is real, it's not always my own fault, and I can't just work harder, do better, and get ahead. They don't get it because they've spent the last 40 years altering the system so they get richer and the rest get poorer.

If anyone rich reads this, they may think I'm just jealous. I'm just engaging in class warfare. That my place in life is all my fault (and I do take responsibility for my own choices). They may read this and scoff. They may not care at all. But if you read this, and you never have to worry about money, I ask this one thing of you. Always remember that the 'have nots' are people. Human beings. We are not merely tools for your advance. We are not capitol. We are not commodities. We have our dignity and our self-worth. We have our families and our dreams. Just like you.