To our politicians from a spiritual working stiff
I am neither a Republican not a Democrat. Frankly, I still have difficulty with the labels, conservative and liberal. Those who know me have never been able to pigeonhole me. I relate to Kierkergaards's observation. "Once you label me, you negate me." In truth, I am a working stiff.
I grew up on the eat side of Detroit and spent several years in foster homes. I had a father who spent some time in prison, abused alcohol and five wives, and died of cirrhosis of the liver at age forty-nine never having know his three boys, after walking out on my mother.
I attended the Detroit public schools, entered the Navy at 18, spent four years on board ships and overseas. I worked my way through three degree programs as a stock boy and cashier at a large supermarket chain, graduating with a Ph.D.. In Educational Counseling. I have been a school teacher, counselor and college professor. As of this date I work as a lecturer and writer, also producing video and audio tape programs on motivations, spirituality and higher consciousness.
I have worked all my life, paid my taxes, supported my family and continue to "chop wood and carry water," while being totally perplexed by what I hear coming out of the mouths of our politicians. As a working stiff who has earned enough to be in that top 1% income bracket, here is what I would like you, the politicians, to hear as you go about the business of government. These are views shared by most of the people I speak to every day, in all income brackets.
YOU ARE NOT OUR LEADERS. No one that I know goes to sleep at night saying, "My leaders are in Washington D.C." I fume when you refer to yourselves as our leaders. You may pass laws while sitting in committees and having Rose Garden ceremonies, but the laws come after the real leadership has been implemented.
No politician was responsible for leading us in the struggle for civil rights. Rosa Parks was a leader. Those who marched and ignored the racist laws passed by lawmakers were the leaders of the civil rights movements.
Who were the leaders of the Renaissance? The office holders? The politicians? No! The leaders were those who brought the world a new consciousness through their writing, art, music, and through challenging the entrenched ideologies of the office holders. These were the leaders.
When I hear you refer to yourselves as our leaders, I am always amused by such arrogance,. We got to work, and send up to 50% of our earnings to you. You use our earnings to make yourselves more privileged than we are, with unlimited medical care, overly generous retirement guarantees, and perks galore! All that you really do is write the rules using our funds to do so. This might be hard to accept, but try it on for size. We are not sheep who need to be led. We need servants who care. We are perfectly capable of leading ourselves; in fact we do it everyday.
YOU DO NOT CREATE JOBS. I have written twenty books, produced hundred of tapes, and given several thousand lectures over the past twenty-five years. When I sit down and create a book I send it to an editor who I pay to edit the manuscript. The way I see it, I just created a job. My editor receives payment, sends in her taxes and now two are working. The editing process involves a computer. A third job is created. The publisher copy edits the manuscript, and a fourth job is created. This process continues through many levels, with a job after job being created all because I decided to write a book. The printers, inspectors, typesetter, delivery people, booksellers, accountants, stock boys, cashiers, have jobs that were created because working stiff have the ingenuity, gumption, and desire to create and produce.
The woman who loves flowers and decides to pen a florists shop creates jobs. Without her desire and sweat we wouldn't need floral coolers, delivery trucks, or growers. Nor would we need people to grow food to fee those workers or design garments to clothe them. The money you use to fund job producing legislation originate from those who produce. It is really quite simple. Politicians do not create jobs.
As I see it, through the eyes of a working stiff, politicians can pass laws which will ultimately determine whether anyone finds being productive worth the effort any longer. If you decide to punish me with tax rules, or over regulate me, or constantly make my life miserable with forms, rules and regulations, I may decide that writing another book is no longer worth the effort. If I decide that, and you multiply me by the millions of us who produce wealth and jobs, you will see that you do not produce jobs or wealth with our policies.
You print money. You regulate. You pass laws. But we produce jobs. We create wealth by working and producing, not by sitting in committees and talking up our self-importance.
ACT ON THE BASIS OF WHAT IS MORAL AND FAIR, NOT ON HOW MAY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED. I heard over and over in the election debate that the inheritance tax should remain because only 2% of the population is affected by this tax. I have paid all of the taxes I own to my government. What is left is mine to do with as I please.
My death ought not trigger another tax on my remaining savings that have been already taxed. I does not matter if the tax affects one person or a million people. It is simply wrong. When our ancestors moved to abolish slavery, they didn't say, "Only 2% of the populations is enslaved, so let's keep this practice lawful." They finally realized that slavery was wrong, and morally wrong.
Le those who aspire to greater abundance in their lives do so knowing that politicians are not going to confiscate it at the moment of their death. Do what's right, what's moral, even when it affects only a small percentage of the population.
STOP MIXING PERCENTAGES AND DOLLAR AMOUNTS AS A RATIONALE FOR YOUR PHILOSOPHY. If there is a surplus in tax revenues it is an overpayment and belongs to those who sent it in. It ought to be returned in the same lawful proportion that it was went in.
If I paid one million dollars in taxes it is not so outrageous that I should have returned to me higher dollar amount that someone who sent in two thousand dollars in taxes. To say that the wealthy will receive $18,000 each while the poor will only $ 18.00 in a tax cut is a spurious argument. If you paid no tax, you get not a tax cut. You can't cut zero and get something back. If you paid $200,00 in tax and you get a $40.00 refund that a 20% tax cut. If you paid $500,000 in tax and you get back $20,000 that is only a 4% tax cut.
It stands to simple reason and fair play that if you are going to ask the top 10% of the income earner to foot over 50% of the tax bills, then when it comes time to cut the taxes and return the surpluses, it ought to go back to the taxpayers in the same proportion. Similarly, if the bottom 40% of way earners pay no taxes, then they get no refund. It may not appeal to most voters, but it makes sense to this working stiff who has been in all of those tax brackets at one time or another in his life.
WE DON'T NEED YOU FIGHT FOR US. "I'll fight for you," seems to be the mantra of the modern politician. Just who are you fighting anyways? Aren't you all there in Washington to serve us? Don't you realize that fighting weakens you and rarely accomplishes anything?
I would like for you to work for me, not fight. Tell me what you are for, rather than what you oppose. I don't need to see any more debates. You are not running against anyone. You have not opponents. The person who is on the ballot with you is not someone you need to fight. Just tell me what you support and how you intend to make it happen, and let other candidate do the same. I don't need you to fight. I need you to state your vision clearly and commit to bringing it about.
In 1967 Mother Theresa was asked to march against the war in Vietnam and she refused saying, "I won't march against anything. But when you have a march for peace, I'll be there." Let this spirit infuse your intentions.
*YOU DON'T EMPOWER US, WE ARE ALREADY POWERFUL.
My most disconcerting moments in the election season were hearing, "We're for the people, they're for the powerful," and then seeing this slogan as a USA Today headline the next day. It became a mantra for the last six weeks of the campaign.
Inherent in such a phrase is the idea that the people are not powerful, only those who are well off are empowered. Generation after generation of people in America have come to believe this line of thinking; "You have no power, but we, your leaders in Washington will do it for you." It is just this kind of thinking that leads people to assume they are powerless to advance, to create their own greatness, to attract abundance and health into their lives, to transcend the ordinary levels of disempowerment.
I want to hear you say, "You are powerful, you are connected to the divine and with God you can accomplish anything you make up your mind to do. If you see others who appear to be more powerful than you, then associate with them, emulate their strengths. Create a powerful vision for yourself. Don't find fault with those who have elevated themselves. Learn from them, find your own serenity and grace and know that you are powerful. I'll support such a vision in all legislation. Keep your hopes high."
In Wisdom of The Ages I wrote an essay based upon Michelangelo's observation: "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." I want to hear you speak of high hopes, of the power of our spirit, a spirit that knows no favorites and is in each and every one of us.
DON'T GIVE YOURSELF WHAT YOU DENY TO THOSE WHO PAY FOR WHAT YOU HAVE! If we send a portion of our income to you, don't use that money to vote yourself benefits that we are denied. If you get universal medical coverage paid for by those of us who created wealth, then be sure to grant it by law to all of us. If you get to retire with 90% of your paycheck, then be sure that we who pay for it get the same perk.
Be ever mindful of your role. You have elected to be a servant of the people. The people own the house. They built it. But they can't run it everyday nor can they protect it, and build roads leading up to it. The people can't educate the children and regulate the economy because they are too busy working. So they hire servants to handle these duties and they pay those servants to protect, regulate, and handle the affairs of housekeeping.
But the house is still owned by the people. The servants don't get to make demands. The people do. The servants don't own the funds they receive for protecting, regulating, and delegating. The people do. It's our house. We the powerful working stiffs of America own it.
We lead ourselves everyday, and if you want to speak to us, do it from your heart, without a Teleprompter or a spin doctor at your side. We are honest, hard working and straightforward. We are generous and kind to those in need. We don't need to be coddled or lied to. We can smell insincerity and BS a mile away. We pay the freight and keep it moving across America everyday. Not because you are leading us. We are not following you or anyone else.
There is a spirit in all of us. A spirit that urges us upward to a greater connection to that which is just, moral and honest. We expect no less from those who have chosen to serve.
Another interesting article on American politics, by Jim Hightower. Click here.