Sunday 23 Oct 2016

What Do They Want
AJ Robinson

I read somewhere that the Koch brothers have a fortune of about fifty billion dollars between them. Yes, that’s billion with a “B,” a great BIG “B.” I can’t imagine having that much money. I mean, think about it, those two could each spend something like ten million dollars a year every year for the rest of their lives and still leave billions to their heirs. These fellows are so rich they look down their noses at Donald Trump. They’re so rich, they look at Mitt Romney’s fortune and probably think, “Eh, not bad, but that’s chump change to us.”

I have to wonder: What is it they want from life now? When you literally have enough to do anything you want; when you can go anywhere in the world and indulge in any whim that might pop into your head; what else is there? Yet, these same two men have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to destroy, well, virtually every aspect of the social net our society has created!

They don’t like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, Head Start, Meals on Wheels, the Minimum Wage and they truly do not like the Affordable Care Act. I keep coming back to that question: What is it they want? Why do they hate all those things? After all, it’s not chipping in their fair share to any of these programs is a financial burden to either of them. Shesh! They probably could pay all of it just from the interest they earn on their savings!

I have no understanding of people like them. How in the world can you have everything in the world you could possibly want, and still want to deny poor working class people the necessities of life? For myself, I take a lesson from “The Duke,” John Wayne. I was never one to watch many Westerns, but some of his pictures, ah, now they were something special. There was one, “McLintock,” that held a message I found very sound. Wayne was for his conservative views, and he didn’t hold much with liberals and government-types. In that movie, government officials are either corrupt or buffoons. Yet, he was also didn’t care much for people who merely inherited their money. His attitude: everyone needs to work for what she or he gets, especially those who are well off! They then owe it to others to lend a helping hand.

In one scene, he tells his daughter Becky, played by Stephanie Powers, in which he’s not going to leave his vast land holdings to her. Rather, he’s going to give it to the country, to be a park. Now, given his distaste for the government, this seems odd.

Yet, it’s clear he saw the need for some government. As McLintock puts it, when his ranch becomes a park, no one will cut down the trees for lumber; kill beavers to make hats or slaughter the buffalo for rope. Becky will get a plot of good land.

As he says, some people will think he didn’t love her, or he wanted to be able to sit up in heaven and see a park named after him. The truth is he’s going to do it because he loves her, and he wants her and her future husband to have what he and her mother hand. Starting out, they had less than what he’s going to give her.

I think The Duke had it right to a certain extent. When people don’t work for what they have, they truly don’t appreciate it – especially the rich. Although I agree, with him, that those who are well off should help others, I see far too many, like the Koch brothers, who have no interest in such things.

I’m sorry, John. I do see value in the social net. Here’s the thing, unlike the Tea Baggers, I think John and I could agree to disagree, and still work things out.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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