“you can’t take it with you,” my sweet poppo would say, referring to money and an eventual dying. he and my momma were generous people. even in the lower-middlest-of-middle-class living, they were giving and altruistic. they gave out of pockets-not-full-of-plenty, never hesitating, never clutching onto money. they worked hard, paid taxes, contributed to organizations they believed in, helped their children and their children’s children. they were amazing examples of character, especially as defined by the ironic presidential proclamation earlier this week. they never failed to lift others up and believed in those who needed assistance. they were not greedy.
but greed rears its exceptionally ugly head nevertheless. and the administration that currently rules this nation (i rue the use of such an unfortunately appropriate word) continually thrusts forward self-serving agenda for those-with and denies the importance of policy for those-without. in a country that calls itself a democracy and ensures domestic tranquility, it is a pitiful state of affairs to celebrate, undermine and invite more disparity in its populace.
it should be with a (large) modicum of shame that leona helmsley is quoted as saying, “only the little people pay taxes,” but instead it is apparent that is the whole point. keep the little people little; keep the rich people rich.
we drove through tiny towns from canon city, colorado to limon, colorado. the never-ending rangeland boasted tiny mobile homes and collapsing houses, people living in squalor. the trump 2020 signs were prevalent. i wondered aloud why anyone living in such circumstance would fly a giant flag for a man and a complicit administration that could care less about them. i wondered why they would choose to campaign for a person who cannonballs along the unfair advantages for the wealthy, the keeping-those-with-less down policies, the brutal inequity under every umbrella. i wondered why they would support someone who has clearly paid less taxes than they had. i wondered if they knew that this very president, a self-expressed billionaire, had paid merely $750 in taxes. i wondered if they knew that he and his cronies consider them the “little people” of this leona quote. i wondered how they, as humans who are citizens of this country and deserve respect and equality and opportunity, would feel about being called “little people”.
it was my dad’s 100th birthday on saturday. he always wanted to live to be 100 and, as we talk about him and tell stories and i talk to him aloud, we celebrate him as 100 even if he is on another plane of existence.
as we drove the rest of the way home through green fields turning to gold, viewing signs of a clear misinformation election campaign, i thought about my dad. we entered quick stores after pumping gas to use the restroom, stores with large signs on the door that clearly stated “masks required”, to find misinformed, defiant and cavalier people wandering about with nary a mask, and i thought about my dad. we stopped for a picnic by the side of a lake, stretching our legs, and i thought about my dad.
in the warped definition of the current pompous leadership of this nation, i suppose he, like we, would be considered “little people”.
but i thought about his integrity, his love, his tolerance, his hardworking nature, his just-make-it-work-ness, his generosity, and i have no doubt about how he would feel about the united states’ current administration and attitudes.
the topic of money is an easy one. “you can’t take it with you,” my dad would say. virtue, on the other hand? “no,” he’d say, “you can’t take it with you either.” and, after a pause, he’d add, “especially if you never had it.”