In a TED Talk that was sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Anand Giridharadas reads an open letter to “those who have lost in this era” that appears to be a response to the recent shift in politics from some collective of the more successful people of the last decade.
It openly discusses fears of each other and reactions that these fears might inspire. In the letter, it is admitted that in the pursuit of success, the hardship of others has gone overlooked. As the letter goes on, there is a somewhat unapologetic and threatening tone, as if there is still more hostility to be dished out. The impression it left was arrogance and spite, rather than one of genuine concern, thus inspiring my inclination to respond.
The point that needs to be made to the successful, from someone who was left without a chair during the Great Rescission, is that our plight has everything to do with government and politicians specifically, and almost nothing at all to do with you. You did not cause our grief. Our demands to be heard are NOT about YOU.
We celebrate your success as evidence that even among the ongoing economic hardship and strife, the American dream is still possible. Your success inspires hope when all we have to get us through each day is faith. You have nothing to fear, at least from me. I do not want to take from you all that you have worked for, bringing you down to share in my grief over all that I had worked for having been taken from me. Resentment and vengeance, the spreading of pain and misery would not solve our problems. Nay, it would only serve to deepen the class divide and worsen our lot on the whole. Two wrongs do not make right.
What we want, at least what I want, is some recognition that there are larger economic problems wrought by many of the same policies that aided your success while shutting the door of opportunity to succeed to countless Americans whose productive years have now been laid to waste, in addition to some recognition of the day to day hardship of simply surviving that comes with this. We are all neighbors and countrymen in the same society of values from which you have benefited immensely. It should not be too much to ask for at least an empathetic response to the plight of many.
I am sorry that now that we have demanded to be heard in the only possible way we have to be heard, you are fearful of the future. Inspiring fear into anyone but the political class was not my intention. Fear of the future is, however, a daily occurrence for wage earners in this new version of normal, and I have to admit that I do take some consolation that you now have some identification with what we have been feeling since at least 2008. Instead of our fears working against us, turning into grudge matches where nobody wins, we should now work together to ally our fears for the good of all.