Posted by: darien7743 | July 17, 2016

Compassion and the 1%

Not long ago I decided to begin to pay attention to areas of my life that I have neglected. I decided to look at compassion first. I don’t see compassion the same way that others do. Everyone feels compassion at some point for someone or something. Usually the object of our compassion is in an obviously sad or disappointing situation. I’m a great one for the underdog and I’m also a militant consumer activist……..at times. But I have a very wise Taoist teacher who knows just how to phrase something so that I will pay attention. Not long ago, during a class, he pointed me toward considering the concept of compassion.

I was more than a little irritated by the rantings of a certain political aspirant whose behavior would make a five year old look mature. He was rude, insulting, critical, arrogant, selfish,…..Yup, You know who. But my irritation had to do with a lot more than someone hurling insults and making baldly transparent, maligning statements about everyone who didn’t agree with him. My irritation wasn’t simply because he was rude. It had to do with fear. My fear, that this person would create even more havoc than I, in my ignorance, could imagine. I felt threatened by  the fear that this person’s cavalier approach and conquest would result in serious detriment to my country and more specifically to my personal life. If elected this individual could, and clearly would, visit devastation on anyone he felt got in his way.

Normally, one might think he could never get away with it. Until that is, well respected members of his party refused to stand up to him. Members of his party claim to be upstanding, well educated, well bred individuals.  Experienced diplomats for their individual interests, they are well versed in extemporaneous speaking. Saying they’re comfortable with it is not hyperbole………….These same individuals, initially expressed repugnance and then, silence, at his insults. Then one by one they began embracing the man and his aberrant behavior.

Our Sarah was silent.  Gov. P. is seldom without and opinion and she is by no means silent……..until now. Sarah silent? Spooky scary! Brought out like a marionette at the Iowa Caucus and then put away without a word. Could anyone fail to get the message? Silence is golden………or else. A demonstration of a man not to be trifled with, ever.

How did this happen? Money. Power and Money. Power, money, success and privilege? Isn’t that what life’s about? Perhaps not. Perhaps the things that we think will make us happy won’t really do so at all.

Money. He does have lots of it. Those of us who lack strong financial resources seldom consider the price to be paid for having money. Mega Millions lottery winners aren’t all that happy according to some news reports. The power of money to turn life upside down. The pain of the monied isn’t understood by the masses. Instead of fearing him, this individual deserves our compassion. He is bored. We all understand how that feels. With all that he has, were he engaged with it, his life would be full.

He tried being a celebrity. I first saw him in a Pizza Hut commercial with his wife, Ivona, after their divorce. He was funny. I liked them. I bought pizza. Then he starred in his own “reality?” TV show, cast as the person to impress. His costars? Other celebrity names…….Their job? To impress him. Admittedly, I was fascinated for a while. Then I realized that this was a mere distraction for someone whose success had left him without a significant, unrecognized, something…..A challenge?  The zest for something was burning in this man. He’d climbed every mountain a businessman can.  I remember thinking that he might consider running for President as a cure for boredom. I think that was one of the first times I considered how confining it was to have wealth. I felt a tad of compassion then.

Did I hear that right? Compassion?…….for the person just trounced? Yes, compassion.

We may well be entering a phase of life that will tear our country and us inside out. And, as much as I hate to think about it, it could be a blessing. Some say that having money solves all one’s problems, if it’s well managed. I don’t think so. I look at this person with all that they have and I see a sad individual, an angry personality, someone at a loss to explain the sense of an unfulfilled life, someone with, “Agenda,” stamped on his forehead. Segue to “I have it all, but I’m still not happy. I need more! And then I’ll be happy.” I know that song. It keeps life off pitch.

Someone singing, not all that different from me. At the opposite end of the economic scale, I find myself singing the chorus more times than I want to admit. Do I really envy what I see or do I simply misunderstand? Do I resent those that appear to have more than I or is it the other way around. Perhaps I have more privileges than I know. Perhaps it is a time for me to develop a true sense of compassion with the blinders off. toward those that I believe are exceptions.

Those in the spotlight must behave as though all is well. Having been in the forefront of business, he well knows that even if he has a blinding migraine, the show must go on. He must pretend that all is well. His position, his authority, his stock value, all depend on maintaining the effigy of perfection. There must be no sign of vulnerability. Money, fame, a beautiful, intelligent wife, an apparently loving and supportive family and all the trappings that go with it, do not spell anything close to happiness.  An overabundance of money is not for the feint of heart. Money is work, worry, and often a prison for those that acquire it in excess. It becomes a burden that few would wish for if they fell into it. Money holds you captive, in a glass cage, with the lights on day and night. There is no privacy for the wealthy. Even the anonymous wealthy do not fare as well as we believe.  Less yet for the celebrated and wealthy. They cannot afford to forget their position. Someone is always ready to exploit them, take from them. There is always a cache of attorneys waiting to address someone’s assumption that they are entitled to what this individual has acquired, whether they have had any right to it or participation in it or not. No one is standing in line claiming a piece of my networth. We know so little about the true effect of money.

We talk about the rights of freedom. Those with money know little of the freedom I enjoy. Once money is acquired, the Genie never goes back in the bottle. It can’t be undone. They can never again do what the rest of us can, without an escort, whom they have to pay, who needs to watch them 24/7. The amount of money it costs to be rich would stagger the imagination. And when you are bored and have achieved what most people would call the pinnacle of success, what do you do for an encore? Try being the Supreme Commander? But where do you go from there? You have everything else. Or do you?

Whenever I choose, I can go for a walk, sit on a beach, have a drink with a friend and talk to strangers. I don’t need to check for security, ask someone to clear the area, be escorted from room to room. I don’t need a stylist before I walk out a door or someone to sweep my residence for my personal safety every day. Sometimes twice a day.  If my children want to go camping with a friend, they need a convoy to keep them safe. Forget Boy Scout camp. That’s never going to be on the radar. They can’t go anywhere alone and they have to be very careful making friends. Those friends and their families must be vetted before they enter their world? It isn’t enough that they enjoy the company of another child. Many families won’t want their children for friends. It’s makes their children targets also. Surrounded by many, it can still be very lonely for those who live at the top.

With what little I have, I can talk to my neighbors, ride a bike, see a sporting event without being in danger (as a general rule, or should be…..now under question.) I can go to street fairs, festivals and concerts in the park, or a kid’s soccer game. I don’t have to hide away behind fences and gates in a house too large for my entire extended family, with bullet proof glass in my windows……. I don’t need gold leaf on my ceiling for it to be lovely. I have the privilege of being alone, attending an ethnic festival or watching fireworks with the crowds on Ruston Way. I can walk in the woods, have a picnic and run in the rain without fear of public exposure. I am free, as long as I don’t post things on FB. Another issue.

At the end of this election year, life will change. We will have a new regime in the White House. The Obama’s will have the first taste of peace they’ve known in the past ten years. We will have a dramatically different governing body. We may have the first woman President and we may not. But life will be very different. The playing field has altered. We will have to adapt and that won’t be easy.  We don’t like change. It pinches our lifestyle and we have to pay attention. Our new shoes may not fit. That will get our attention. It’s clear that the status quo hasn’t worked in decades. Now, it has to change and so will we. Let’s make it for the better.

Let us look at our financial situation as a tool that needs to be managed, groomed and refined. WE need to rethink and reestablish the definition of being well off. The multitude needs to rethink it’s options, needs to resee it’s position, needs to find it’s purpose as something complete without excess. And we need to learn to understand and  have compassion for those who do not know how to live without excess. And for those who cannot. The one percent at the top of the pyramid are there because all of us hold them up. They are afraid of what will happen to them. If they don’t stay on top, they will fall. And it’s a very long way down if you’re the 1%. Let’s catch them. Let’s learn the value in and of our own lives. Our lives without excess anything and their lives with excess everything. Let’s find a way to eliminate the fear on both sides.  It has never served any of us well. When we do, we can gently say no and vigorously say yes to the changes that are coming. We can hold on to our values and maintain our integrity. We can share and support each other and we can thrive along with the one percent.

Let us remember, whatever comes, that Compassion should be there for all. We are not the underdogs based on our financial well being. We are the people who have a voice. We are the people who accept or reject propositions based on whether,  OR NOT, we vote and how we choose to respond to our world. There is an epidemic of Ugly behavior in the world. It needs to end. Seeing that we are all confused, burdened and struggling we can extend compassion to everyone.  Compassion just may prove to be the key to stabilization for us all. So let us extend it generously to the 1%. What changes that may bring.

 

 

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