By Thomas Sheffield
In a speech given prior to signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, President Lyndon B Johnson said: “The only limit to a man’s hope for happiness, and for the future of his children, shall be his own ability.” It has been over 50 years since this bill was debated by the US Congress and demanded by ordinary citizens like you and I. Over 50 years and yet, we have not realized this potential. Most Americans, regardless of race, are not doing well. 78% of full time workers say they are living paycheck to paycheck and only 28% of Americans are considered to financially stable. This means most Americans are struggling to meet their basic needs. If you continue to struggle, then you are normal. You are not an outlier in the Bell Curve. And in this land of opportunity, that ain’t right.
We are all tax payers. Money comes out of our checks and we pay taxes when we go to the store, gas stations, malls and even when we pay our monthly bills. We all have to pay taxes but the poor and middle class are responsible for paying for more of their paychecks on this unfair tax system. What do we get for paying a higher percentage of our taxes? Poor infrastructure, poor performing schools, poor customer service, pollution, and more police harassment. Therefore, we are not living according to our potential or our ability.
Some argue we should just be quiet and be happy with what we get. If it were not for the rich, we would not have things as good as they are now. There would be no jobs or innovation. There would be no advancements in technology and our country would not be as strong as it is now. These are the same voices that want to take your right to vote.
I love my country. I do not mind paying my fair share as long as I get what I am paying for. Life it seems is harder than it needs to be. It is too easy to sit back and let things happen to us. It is too easy to let others speak truth to power at their own peril. It is too easy for us to pay more in the store, pay more for transportation, pay more for housing than it is to take our economics into our own hands. It is too easy to live paycheck to paycheck rather than start our own businesses. It is too easy to allow our parents or grandparents to take care of our kids while we work additional hours at a job we hate.
If we want to realize our potential, we have to vote and make some demands. We can demand a livable wage for us all. We can demand a fair tax structure. We can demand a clean and safe environment. We can demand a more efficient and effective government. It is worth using our voices! Or is it?
Please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff. #Resist #WordsActionChange