Friday, October 14, 2011

My 53%

I am one of the few and the privileged, I am an American.

In my work as a videographer I have been to 31 countries, many of them third world.

I have seen the worst poverty imaginable, from the streets of Bombay to the slums of Nairobi.

I have seen a baby starving to death right in front of me.

I have walked through raw sewage to get to a tin shack, where a family of 10 lived.

I learned of the rape gangs that prowled their neighborhood, and I met the grandmother who had been a frequent victim.

I have been to 6 communist countries.

In China I saw the television go blank when a news story about Tibet started to come on.

In Russia we were pulled over for no reason in particular by a police officer standing on the corner.

With hardly a word, my driver payed the cop 900 rubles in cash ($40) so we could drive on.

In Nicaragua, every street vendor had a pistol in his belt.

Every truck driver had someone next to him with a shotgun.

In Egypt I asked someone where the bathroom was, he took me there - and then demanded money for his help.

This kind of thing happened over and over and over again during my visit.

I have also seen poverty and despair in America, but only in my work with Feed the Children.

Yes there are hungry families here, yes these are tough times.

But the guy on the street corner in Nike shoes with an ipod asking me for change is not hungry, he is strung out on drugs.

The kids in a park near Wall Street, wallowing in grime and trash, having sex and consuming copious amounts of drugs in public, do not engender sympathy from me.

They are selfish and self obsessed.

They presume to speak for me, when they have not seen genuine poverty a day in their life.

They are decadent, self-loathing narcissists who have confused freedom with entitlement.

America is an opportunity, it is not a guarantee.

I have been blessed beyond belief that my hard work has reaped material and emotional rewards.

But I know it could all end tomorrow with a bit of bad luck or a tragic event.

If it does, I won't look to anyone for compensation.

I don't want a dime from my government.   I don't want a dime from anyone.


Whatever the happenstance or the circumstance, if things go bad, I will make my own way.

Because I live in the greatest country on God's green earth, and I have the OPPORTUNITY to
do it myself.

By the sweat of my brow, by the determination in my soul.

Like my forefathers before me, who toiled a hundred times greater than I ever have - I will fight and fight and fight to make my way.

And I will not presume that anyone owes me anything.

I am the 53%.

Now get off my lawn.