Wouldn’t It Be Nice?
Brian Wilson wrote those words many years ago, in 1966 to be exact, to sing how nice it would be if he and the girl he loved were older and would not have to wait so long to be together and make a life together in the type of world where they belong.
In late 2017, I am thinking wouldn’t it be nice if there were affordable housing, health care, college education, child care, transportation and the ability to obtain a decent pension for everyone.
For many middle class folks who have not cracked the top twenty percent like I still aspire to, these are mostly pipe dreams.
At the risk of sounding like I am on my high horse, it sure would be nice if working folks like restaurant workers, childcare workers, factory workers, nurses, clerks, small business owners and others who put in long hours for modest pay could earn enough to enjoy those items like those with higher incomes do.
Falling somewhere in between low-wage workers and the upper middle class is the wide swath of those of us largely forgotten about by the politicians until campaign season.
Wouldn’t it be nice if big corporations and the government would stop collecting data on everything that you look at, do online, where you shop, where you travel and sometimes even what you are thinking about? They collect your purchase history, employment history, bank records, credit card statements, property owned, taxes paid, credit ratings, and record you on video when you stop by the bank, fill your car up with gas or go shopping for groceries.
There is another digital you and me out there and my identity has not only been stolen by someone with my date of birth and social security number to apply for credit, but last week I learned that my information was stolen again from Experian.
This is coming a year after several of our accounts like Target and Home Depot were hacked right after we shopped there. It might be easier to list where my identity has not been stolen from.
There’s a digital me out there, and he is not faring very well these days, but at least the digital me creates posts for the Middle Class Guy blog. The real me has plans for the digital me to create eBooks to sell this coming year and beyond. It may not be my real name on these things, but at least my wife, my children and I know who the real me is behind this digital me.
Following my years of working for one of the most conservative local government agencies that exists, I will work at integrating the real me with this digital me.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our private information could be kept private and our digital selves were not at risk every time we shop somewhere, complete an online transaction or even get our identities stolen by doing nothing but being a living U.S. citizen with a social security number?
Wouldn’t it be nice if middle class guys like you and me and our families would not be treated like sheeple or commoditized to the point where we have become hamsters running on a never-ending treadmill until we drop dead of exhaustion?
Big government and big business want you to get a job, take a pill for everything, watch reality TV, don’t be different, live vicariously, buy lots of things and junk food and then when you are older, pay every spare dime that you have saved on end of life healthcare and then taxes what’s left when you die.
That’s not for everyone, mind you, just those of us in the lower eighty percent of the income spectrum. For the poor, there is little to no hope for most of them despite the rampant political rhetoric of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps. True, there are myriad stories of those that have done just that. But for everyone who has succeeded in pulling themselves out of poverty by hard work, determination and quite a bit of luck, there are ten others who have not.
On the upper end of things, now is a better time than ever to be among the wealthy. Not that it has not always been a good time to be wealthy since the dawn of humanity, but with those currently in power doing whatever they can to stick it to the rest of us, they do whatever they can to help those who least require the least amount of help. They would rather help a multi-millionaire make an extra million than protect vulnerable working class people whose jobs have already been or will soon be outsourced or replaced through automation.
Wouldn’t it be nice if a politician who repeatedly invokes wanting to help us middle class folks during his or her campaign actually followed through instead of just catering to wealthy donors and special interests once they are in office?
Wouldn’t it be nice if the ideals that we are taught to us by our parents and teachers when we are young like fairness, compassion, justice and equality were truly important in the country today?
In the years while we sat by and allowed the basics of our democracy to erode by who we voted for, which products we decide to purchase (hint: new $1,000 iPhones), agreeing to be tracked by Google at all times, blithely swiping our credit and debit cards many times per day and generally ceding our rights little by little as time goes by, we have perhaps unwittingly contributed to the widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots.
Have you noticed that company executives, politicians and the media do not even bother questioning or talking about traditional values anymore? It is considered old-fashioned.
I am a Middle Class Guy, and us middle class folks including working stiffs like me, small business owners, teachers, social service providers, immigrants, small farmers and the whole lot of us have seen the American Dream begin to fade.
I, for one, still believe in the American Dream and will continue pursuing it until the day I die. I urge you to continue pursuing personal betterment and achievement of your own version of the American Dream as well.
If we both achieved our versions of it, wouldn’t it be nice?