Over my 70 years, I have been part of or have interacted with people of various social and economic levels. I have encountered people with tremendous talent and I have known totally incapable people. Some I’ve known are /were brilliant. I have also known dolts. My acquaintances include those of high education and some of just bare literacy.
Experiencing life, I have known people who comprise the reviled 1% as well as people who could proudly but barely get by on their own. I have interfaced with people who are, or were, complacent and unconcerned or with little desire for self betterment. This collective accepts what others give them though they want to receive more. They believe they deserve to have more because others they know or have heard of have so much more. Yet they would rather await a handout than put forth the effort to offset their keep.
I consider myself a member of each societal subset briefly described above. While I don’t have the wealth of the top earners of the nation or the world, I know I have worked hard to earn everything I have. If there is something I still want and cannot afford right now, it is up to me to either belay that desire, or do what is necessary to satisfy it. I try to graciously accept what others are willing to share with me.
I am a person shy of many talents but not without any. I recognize that I am not the best educated or most intelligent being of any venue except when I am alone. I have opinions, some very strong opinions, that have withstood the tests of decades only to strengthen their influence on me. Other viewpoints I hold are subject to refinement and have changed. I respect myself for the ability to accept incoming data that helps form a more meaningful and accurate outlook. I do not shrink from differing viewpoints but embrace them when they are justified and rebuff them when they are meaningless.
I long ago discarded the trophy I received for putting on a wool uniform and playing in the Little League. Everyone got one. It was meaningless. Had I received a plaque or trophy for the most home runs, best fielding or best pitching, etc., it would probably still be with me. That would show accomplishment. Frankly, my ability did not warrant one. I do revere the certificates, plaques, trophies and awards I have received for education, training, performance and contribution. They are with me to help me reflect on my accomplishments.
I am entitled to the best life has to offer. I know I must do what is necessary to achieve what I long to have. Like everyone in this country, I am entitled to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. My mother chose to give me life, for which I am thankful. Within reasonable bounds of responsibility, I have the liberty to do as I please, have what I earn and travel as I desire. I have accomplished enough to enjoy life and continue the quest for self betterment. Attempting to make life more fulfilling for those around me who strive to better themselves adds to my happiness.
I am equal…to me. I am entitled…to what I have legally and morally gained, and I am proud.
You, too, are entitled. You are entitled to all you do for yourself and others. You are not, however, entitled to what others have worked and gained. You are not entitled to “free” anything at the expense of others. You are entitled to what you have produced and what you will produce. Don’t cower or demean because someone likes the color blue when your favorite is green. Make your case for green, but accept that blue is also beautiful. Everybody has the right to enjoy the life equal to which they are entitled.