Friday, April 13, 2012

Working for a Paycheck is Not a Choice

Ann Romney
With the latest flap between strategist for the Democrats, Hillary Rosen and obscenely wealthy wife of Republican candidate Mitt Romney making headlines, I feel compelled to interject some comments about well off folks, not just one-per-centers, and the shackles of the brutal, capitalist workplace.

First off, when Hilary Rosen when states that, "Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life," it's true she is not including the drudgery of child rearing, a dirty job in which many of us have consciously chosen never to participate. I'm also sure that Ms. Romney had tons of options for help available to her on days she wasn't feeling quite up to snuff because that is what wealth is all about: options. The single mother who cleans houses, sells drugs, or turns tricks for a living doesn't have options. She doesn't have health care, she doesn't even have a paycheck. The waitress may have some of these perks and the factory worker may have a few more but, none of them possess the luxury of sitting on their butts at home and focusing on child-rearing.

Having choices holds a value far beyond the material world. When you are speaking of creative pursuits, meaningful work, or landing that dream job, the cushion that money provides is not just psychological and physical well being. It provides the ability to keep searching or just wait until that life-affirming work appears. Take a mainstream Democratic Party politician like Nancy Pelosi. She may not be a member of the one percent, but her father was mayor of Baltimore, her hometown. She interned first, without pay and didn't take a job until the right political plum came along. And yes, after that she did work for a paycheck.

Many folks with cushions and safety nets use this strategy. I had a personal friend who wanted to work in computers. She went to a lot of classes and investigated all kinds of programming, all the while with help from her family. She didn't have to take a job until she found just the right fit at thirty years of age.

If you don't have this cushion, you must take whatever comes along whether it is meaningful or politically correct or not.You have neither the leisure to wait nor the connections to mine. This, of course, puts you at a disadvantage that lasts throughout your working life.

So Ann Romney when your only "job" is managing your household staff, dropping in on the children after they have been cleaned up and prepped by teachers and nannies and campaigning for your hubby, I would hardly describe that as work. Miss Ann and her husband Mitt couldn't be more removed from salt of the earth concerns. Their privilege is pale, thick and heavy and, like cream that has been sitting in the sun too long, has begun to ferment and smell.