Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This was written by a good friend of mine down in Florida. She has a right to her opinion as do you. Remember to respect her views, as you want yours respected. Be opinionated without being rude, disrespectful, or just plain hurtful.

Now, enjoy her post:

Hi there friends- I just wanted to share a lesson learned—it’s a multifaceted realization that I wanted to share w/ my friends – so perhaps you’ll take something from it as well…Or perhaps not… perhaps you disagree…

In a conversation over politics w/ a family member (cousin) a debate ensued. I was sharing my disgust for our G. Bush & she was sharing her love for him. She was saying she felt safe w/ him in power & she was worried that the dissent among the public was going to make the majority vote for a democrat.

I delve deeper into her feelings- by safe she didn’t mean the war…she meant financially. She stated that she has grown much more conservative over the years (she’s our age) and now she has much more money than she had when she was 20 or so. She feels safe because she’s free to funnel that money into whatever she needs to – and one day she will be rich (her words). I was so disgusted by the conversation. This is my underlying reason for not liking our current presidential administration in the first place--- big business is protected, big money is protected, and the American people are being pushed aside- not even taken into consideration.

So, I didn’t say much to her after that… I’ve just been pondering the whole thing for over a week now. To me, she represents so many people of our country. Her family income is about the same as mine. But- she doesn’t work…her husband makes all the money.

Let’s compare household mentality:
In my household both Chad and I work very hard. Also, we are concerned about leaving financial security for our kids & for our retirement. So, we went into a major saving strategy- saved for our home & got it, we save for our retirement, we have college funds for the kids- etc. And we live comfortably but not over board… we take perhaps 1 vacation a year but then throughout the year we go visit family here & there, take mini trips- maybe a weekend at the beach, a camping trip, a canoe trip…things like that… and we plan on living in this house for some time. It’s fine…it’s a nice house on a nice piece of property, we’re adding our special touches to it…but we got a steal on it & have a nice low mortgage payment and want to keep it that way…we also have 1 car-

Now- her on the other hand… doesn’t save much- but spends a lot…they take 4-5 big vacations per year(this year they did skiing in vale, trip to Bahamas, trip to Mexico, few others cant recall), have 2 nice/new cars, have moved 4 times in the last 5 years (started w/ a condo, then had a house built then flipped it 6 months later, then moved into another house – lived there 1 year & sold it, now are in the mini mc mansion – paying almost $500K for the house in the gated community on the golf course)…so their kid gets into the best public schools…no big deal right- it’s their life & they are making choices that work for them and their family. That’s the beauty of America … make money, spend money…

However this is where it gets disconcerting….this is how most people in America live. So many people out there worry only about themselves- having the nice cars, having the bigger house every few years, chasing after whatever it is they are chasing… biggie sizing their lives… and no concern is being paid to the issues facing our society. The make money spend money philosophy doesn’t just affect that individual family—these are voters who go out and vote for whomever is going to protect their pockets…so it does affect all of us. Do we go on living our life & electing officials who protect our interests only- or do us try to plan a society w/ dignity, values, and morals. We have so many social issues at hand in our country that have been ignored the past 8 years because big interest & deep pockets have paid hefty prices & lobbied hard to keep the issues buried.

I told you I’ve been thinking about this for days…it really has perplexed me. I just have been trying to figure out why 51% of our population voted for Bush the 2nd time and how we’ve let our country be taken over by this mentality of just living life to make more money and ignoring everything else going on around us. Then, I started just thinking about my cousin and myself… we were raised in the same family—came from similar backgrounds- went to the same college- had many of the same friends- yet had some very fundamental differences in our upbringing… so—here’s where the lessons are learned for me… as a mom- I need to remember this- and be sure to instill these values to my kids. As much as I’ve complained about things my parents did in raising me I realize not all of it is in vain.

I was raised in a relatively poor environment- my dad had me young (raised me alone) and was still attending school (community college) when I was growing up. He even took me to class with him occasionally if he didn’t have a sitter – I was about 4 years old at that time….so he finished school and got a job and I watched as he worked his ass off to raise me. I was 9 years old when he bought his first house. I went from living w/ him and my grandma & getting hand me downs from my aunts & shopping at consignment stores…to living in our own house, having a nice car, getting new clothes…etc. I learned the value of money the hard way…I watched my dad earn it from start to finish. I paid my way thru college, worked my ass off… started off dirt poor after graduating college, had to hustle and find a job, worked hard…saved money- bought my first house… I still understand the value of money. I know what it takes to make money- I know how quickly it can be gone… I know money isn’t everything-

My cousin… her dad worked his ass off to provide her everything. Her mom stayed home. They didn’t have too much money- but they had a house, her mom would overspend… I remember her mom & dad fighting because she spent all their grocery money on toys & clothes for her. Her mom bought her everything she wanted… new clothes, new toys at whatever the cost. Being late on mortgage and spending food money didn’t matter- as long as she had whatever she wanted. She was given a new car at 16. They paid her way thru college- she dropped out of many classes at one point and almost quit school- but she started back again. They paid all of her expenses while she wasn’t attending school as well as when she was in. After graduation her husband’s mom gave them money to put down on their first condo… Her mom secretly paid her car payment because she couldn’t afford to buy the new red Honda that she wanted on her own.

There’s so many other things having to do w/ work ethic & learning the value of money… that I could go on and on…
But I really think that is the fundamental difference and that is how -when kids aren’t taught those lessons- it so easy for them to grow up and just not understand how hard it really is to make money… and that is why its so easy to let big business run things – & ignore our social issues. Because not many people understand the cycle of being a poor working class or middle class citizen in this country. Thankfully I’m not poor. Thankfully I broke that cycle. I can afford groceries, dinners out, 2 cars if we wanted, a bigger house if we wanted, the newest trendiest clothes if I wanted, etc… but the fact that I came from that background and had to earn what I have I realize it’s not that important. And it makes me sympathetic to those parents who have no choice but to put their kids in public school- so I’m concerned about our education system.

I’m sympathetic to the ?% of our population who work hard & yet can barely make ends mends and cant afford health care…and I’m concerned about those sick people who do have insurance but the treatments they need aren’t covered. And I’m concerned that we’re a nation of over fed & undernourished children & adults. I’m concerned that we are raising such an over abundance of cattle that the nitrogen is polluting our rivers and contributing to the ozone depletion, and I’m concerned that although these heavily addictive & under studied & not recommended for under 18 years of age psychotropic drugs are being prescribed to kids as young as 5 years old… and the list could go on and on….and if you look closely at many of these issues- you’ll find big business lobbying behind them.

Ok I’m done…guess I need to write a blog or something. Writing is carthartic for me. I’ve been pondering this for sometime…and had to get it out in an organized format.

One little side note that I heard on Oprah that now has me a little scared… thinking in the back of my mind… Einstein said that if there were no bees- that civilization would only last 4 years after they disappeared…hmmmm. Scary to think – what if he was right??

Sidenote #2…I thought I was among a small minority who feel the American dream is dead and big business has taken over…I just found out I’m not!! There is an author who has a new book out on this topic & I’m waiting impatiently for it to arrive in my mailbox… called “The Shock Doctrine”… I’ll let u know how it is… perhaps you’ll want to read it sometime.

Welcome To Crustybeef~
Thoughts please!


KYRIE said...

Crusty's friend, that is a good piece of writing. You will do great when u blog.

Sometimes people just allow materialism to blind them, they forget what really matters, in the end they forget themselves.
U have made some good points.

Anonymous said...

Well. I agree w/you whole heartedly!! 51% of voters didn’t vote for Bush. He stole the election. Completely different issue, but this may clear up your confusion on why you didn’t think that many people thought the way you do. If Gore had won as he should have, we wouldn’t be in Iraq, we wouldn’t have the unemployment rate we currently have, and we would be further on the road to a more environmentally sound world. Of course your cousin has more than when she was in her 20’s. This has nothing to do w/who our current president is…it has to do with being in the working world and increasing salaries. Tell her to please not praise Bush for this!!! You have the right to be disgusted! It sounds as if you are on the right path. And HOPE for a democrat in office! I know I am.


Kyrie: You are so right. It's the need for more silly objects of zero affection that only get set aside after awhile. It's the need to have more space, to have more things that warps the minds of many people. UGh...it makes my skin crawl when I hear people complaining that they have nothing when if you look around them, they have a house, they have a car, they have food on the table, more clothes than necessary..I mean, how much of all of that will make them happy? It doesn't matter whether you're a renter or an owner..you have a roof over your head? Better off than many people as you and I both know from reading 4th ave.People are just awfully selfish.

Anon: politics..just like money, the root of evils no matter what side we vote for. That cousin of hers is rather lucky to have a husband that makes enough for her to not only stay home, but beg for more trips away from home...politics?

Thank You For Your Comments!!


SOUL: said...

i can't really discuss too much about the politics here. too touchy a topic.
but i do agree with the family part of the discussion. i've seen both sides and both results / extremes of that too. and yep.. very different people, even with the same pedigree, live very different lives with very different ways of thinking. but, what can ya do? just be who you are. i guess.
good post.

thanks crusty.
how ya feelin?

Anonymous said...

Hmm yeah... and...living away from the US makes you see the US in a whole different light...I won't discuss it here. But it is interesting to see how the outside world views the US nowadays. Some good points there.

SOUL: said...

good mornin crustay!
want some coffee?

captain corky said...

Nice piece of writing. I've found that writing a blog has helped me sort through 35 years of my life. I feel much clearer and level headed since I started and I think It's a lot of fun too. Good luck Crusty's friend. ;)

Anonymous said...

why think about your cousin so much. Concentrate on bringing up world class children and having a great partership with someone you love.


Soul: divided we fall, right? Amazing the amount of fights that can occur over beliefs..

Jyankee: So true...I forget what the other side sees from being on the outside. WOnder what the perspective is by you and your bean! :)

capt: You're absolutely right! I hope this lil friend of mine continues to write..she has passion in her words.

Soul:Honey Lemon tea and chicken noodle soup..I'd like to place an order please!! :)

anon;Thanks for stopping by..lucky for this woman, and judging from her writing, and knowing what I know about her, she has raise- is-raising wonderful children and has a beautiful relationship with her love..it's hard not to care what others think..it's hard when you're a mom not to worry about things outside of your control..if you're a parent you'll know what I'm taking about.


Portia said...

AMEN! By the way, I might sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but I don't think GW got 51% of votes.
Wonderfully written words of wisdom:)

ray newcastle said...

This was an interesting post, I'll admit, but it sounds pretty sad in my mind. I sense extreme jealousy. Why are all of you so intrigued by what others have and do? If people work hard and earn a good living, what's wrong with them spending any or all of it? It's THEIR LIVES!
I came from lower middle class!
My parents helped me with school!
My parents helped me get a car!
My kids go to private school!
I worked my tail off at college!
I've worked my butt off for 18 years since and now I do very well and I spend a lot of money. I have a great home and nice cars and go on vacation 3-4 times a year! SO, WHAT!?!?!

I also donate a lot of time and money to charities, like, the Ronald McDonald house, the RP foundation (blindness), The UofM Small Animal Hospital, the Children's Heart Institute, the Lymphoma Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Mpls, Adopt-A-Family, and Coats for Kids. I ask all of them to not publish my name. I couldn't do all of this without making a good living, which is not a bad thing. Please don't look at it that way. It's just wrong.
I know you're still going to say, "But if you didn't have that nice car, you could give MORE." I will not regret enjoying stuff and life. And I don't believe any of you should be so "bothered" by people who do well. Don't underestimate the good things we may also be doing that you may not know about.


Portia: YOu rock, momma! :)

NewCastle: I think that she was pointing our more the ignorance this fellow cousin has regarding politics, but I see your point. You seem like the type strictly from the words written here that you prefer to give silently. Which is fine. However, do you advertise your wealth?
To each is own, for sure..and I doubt with my friend that jealousy is the factor here..she has done quite well for herself. People that have to point out the things that they have-material things- makes me think that they are not happy in their life. Something is lacking. If everyone gave as much as they expressed what they wanted, there are quite a few lives that could change. I do agree that it's everyones lives to do with as they please..and great points you've made!! Thank You for stopping by and saying your thoughts. We welcome all of them. It's everyones right, after all. Regardless of income!! After all, when was the last time you saw a UHAUL at the back of a hearse?
Thanks for popping over here!


SOUL: said...

see? i am reading these backwards...and i just KNEW you needed some tea!!!
and soup too?
i got BOTH----on Z way!! just for you.. all hot and steamy....
want some sugar with that..the tea i mean.
(need a catchers mitt?)

SOUL: said...

ps- who is anon?
and was the college FSU>???

austere said...

It is good to know the value of money, and not forget days when you didn't have enough, or couldn't afford. I am ever grateful for the village background in my genes, and by Indian standards just- enough-but-no-luxuries upbringing I had, no phone, and b&w telly.

Crusty, I once walked past all four floors of Macy's thinking what ever do I need this stuff for, and do people really buy all this? I was multiplying prices by 50, but somewhere I know I don't really need all this.

Spending sensibly is fine, Americans buy and it drives the world economy, but saving is very important too, splly for education, healthcare and old age costs, all of which are out of pocket in my country.


Soul: Anon...to be able to hide behind a name..perhaps in fear of being judged? I welcome all comments anon and all, mean and nice...sugar and spice..
Ohhh, spiced tea I bet that would kick this cold outta my system!!
FSU Grad is the woman that wrote this posting...huge huge fan-her hubby-a CANES follower-To be a fly on her florida wall this saturday!! :)

Austie: I agree..Americans are overinduldgers, extremists, living for materialism..it does annoy me..but, to each is own, right?