Observation # 428- Below the poverty line is becoming a very crowded place

The national debate about the economy seems to divide society into 3 camps
The rich, the poor and the rapidly dwindling middle class
Until recently, those middle class citizens vacated their positions on the ladder by moving upward
Now, the areas south of the poverty line are filling up rapidly
The inhabitants used to be mostly darker skinned Americans and people like me
We peacefully co-existed with each other, mostly in the service industry
Mutual respect came from occupying the same rung of the ladder whilst maintaining our dignity
“They” were just honest people looking to feed their families born or immigrated into a very meager existence
“We” were slackers who were mostly born into the middle class and yet weren’t born with the primal urge to move up the ladder
Rather that we pursued a more “noble” life of artistic contribution to society (nevermind that most of us dreamed of being rich rock stars)

The day after my graduation from high school in the very late 80’s, my father asked me if I was going to college
Once I said no, he told me to hit the bricks and thus began my life as a economical non-entity
I spent my entire adult life trying not to spend money
After all, if you don’t spend much money, then you don’t have to work very hard for it (or sell your soul)

I have managed to live a very rewarding life living below the poverty line because of a few things
1- My lack of interest in material posessions meant I didn’t have any un-neccesary debt
2- I didn’t have a wife or children to support and had no room for either in my future plans (still don’t)
This gave me the ability to flow like water into every situation that presented itself to me
I have gone from sleeping in my Van to eating takeout all the time and buying equipment when I wanted it
But I have never been what anyone would consider “successful”
And I never missed it

This is a little known corner of the American Dream
The ability to live on the fringes of society
The luxury of being immune to the ups and downs of the economy because you don’t actively participate
The freedom to live a higher conceptual existance with the cost being a life on the lower rung of the ladder

Just like many others
My way of life is being threatened
For the first time in my adult life, I feel like my “job” is being threatened
Not by people who busted their asses to get here for an opportunity
Not by the under educated lower classes born into poverty without the benefit of a privelidged existence (like mine)
But by people whose greedy and gluttonous lifestyles caused a fundamental shift in values throughout the prosperous years
These are the people who elevated immediate profit over solid and stable growth
These are people who see morality and integrity as obstacles to success and criminal activity as calculated risk
These are people who value instant popularity and fame over success achieved by real talent and ability
Even worse, thanks to reality based TV, these people think they derserve the same admiration as a real artist, which they certainly are not

I resent a $300,000 millionare for taking my job far more than some immigrant who is just trying to live a decent life
And I resent you for not knowing your place
Millionaires know their place and they tricked you into thinking you were like them
Now you are their wage slaves
And it’s getting really crowded here in the servent’s quarters


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