It is easy to look down at others when you have made it to the top. While I finish mopping up the vomit of my five-year-old, I envy the life of Garrison Keillor and how he became a success with the free time to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Yet, when he writes Let the Uneducated Have Their Day, I can’t help but think of how he’s forgotten where he came from and how he got there.

 

For most people, the American dream begins with how they can improve themselves. How they can get ahead, be it professionally, financially, or personally. If they are lucky enough to start a family then their goals and aspirations move towards their spouse, their children, and in part to their community. The problem for many Americans is that those with the leisure time to grow heirloom tomatoes and go to the opera, like Keillor, have no problem heaping more work on those below because they no longer have to do it.

Like many young parents, my life revolves around work and my children. Get them up and going. Get them to school. Get them home. Take them to dance, 4-H, and after school activities. Go to work. Try to get enough sleep to do it all over again. And through it all remember what I am working towards.

I was particularly distressed about Keillor's comments about how he could no longer agree with the statements of “people are people" and "when the going gets tough, tough noogies.” Our empathy with others is the seed of thoughts for equality for all. Like the biblical man in the temple, Keilor is glad he is not like the poor sinners beneath him. When you have reached a point when your fellow Americans, your fellow men, women, and children, are no longer good enough for you, then perhaps you have gone too far.

When the going gets tough, tough noogies? I’m pretty sure making it through difficult times when the weak would give up and go home, is exactly part of the American ideals that have made our country great. From exploring and taming the west to our endeavors in space, it is in our blood not to simply give up.

On my road toward the American dream, I hope that when I look in the rearview mirror that I will not look with disdain at the less sophisticated that travel behind me. Rather I hope that I make the choices in my life that will make the road smoother so they may not only catch up but pass me by and make themselves and the world a better place.

Published by Ryan Bright