by Charles Gruenwald
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
As I watched the news reports of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as a grade school-age kid back in 1979, I had no idea that I would be over there thirty years later. I also never realized at that time, just how long there had been some level of fighting between almost any two or more given groups in that part of the world.
It seems as long as there has been an Afghanistan, it has always been at war.
Once I arrived there, my contact with the Afghan people had been limited to the weekly bazaars and on-base shops. It wasn’t until the trip home when I thought about the Afghan citizens whom I had met. I thought about what they may have seen in their lifetimes – from the pre-Soviet invasion to the then-present day. I wondered if they had lost loved ones at the barbaric hands of others – if their friendly personalities were sincere – or an act to hide more sinister intentions.
Everyone has a story to tell.
The more I thought about the individuality that each one of us calls our own, the more I thought about the growing divide-and-conquer attitude of politicians, and the attempt to erase the concept of our individuality, in order to help streamline the thought process of those who were intellectually complacent enough to follow.
The battle cries of “tax the rich” and “those who make a little more need to pay their fair share” are nothing less than a deliberate attempt to start a feud that is not between economic classes, but between Americans. The last time I checked, there was no mention of representing only a select group of American citizens in any politicians’ oath of office. And, the United States military is not protecting only those Americans who gross less than $250,000 per year. By planting or feeding the assumption that some people are privileged because they have more money than you is not only a cheap plea for votes, it is irresponsible.
To some people – the ones who probably feel vindicated for despising the “upper class” when the politician(s) whom they voted for demonize them — it takes no effort to instantly hate someone else based on the car they drive, or the size of their house. However, everyone has a story to tell. It takes no effort to hate a fellow American based on a streamlined thought process; in other words, to be prejudiced.
Is that big house the result of working two full-time jobs for twenty years? Is the driver of that Bentley a World War II veteran who lost a limb in battle? Politicians who play the class card do not want you to ask questions such as these, since they give humanity – and respect – to a figure that is supposed to be hated; for a greater cause, of course.
The backstretch of a race track is similar to a city: regardless of the time of day, people are working. But, the hour or two before sunrise is when it becomes a very busy place. Just before the morning workouts begin, every kind of car or truck passes through the entrance. From owners, trainers, and jockeys, to hotwalkers, grooms, and maintenance personnel, every economic and social class is represented. The people who live in the backstretch usually have very little money, and some of the horse owners are involved in the sport as a hobby. Thanks to those people who have the extra money to spend on their very expensive “hobby,” many of those people who have little money, have jobs. In some cases, the people who drive the expensive cars through the backstretch started out at the bottom many years ago.
And the jobs that those evil rich people create as hobbies are not restricted to the race track – people have to build, sell, and maintain those expensive cars.