Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rich Get Richer

Anderson Japanese Garden, Rockford IL

“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is still the mantra of the dissatisfied.  Spreading the financial wealth of the few to the masses of the less fortunate is a political battle cry.  Unfortunately, this battle cry sells well because it tells the dissatisfied they deserve to have everything those rich people have and they would if only the rich would share.  

If anyone talks against this plan, they’re harshly judged.  Judged to not care about those who struggle to pay their bills or who have had health or job downturns.  You’re an “all around cold heartless uncaring greedy commie pig” if you suggest otherwise.  So let me talk a little about the flip side (try to contain the judging for a minute) and I’ll talk about it while slightly referring to gardening.

Flower walk
Through extreme wealth, present and past, we have some of our most beautiful gardens in the world.  I’m not so bitter at my current circumstances that I can’t enjoy a stroll through Biltmore Castle in Ashville NC, White Garden in Lewisboro NY, Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford IL and so many other estates built and paid for by “the rich”.

Did the owners of these fabulously over-the-top gardens share their wealth and donate to the less fortunate in their lifetimes?  I don’t know.  Do they share their gardens with the public; gardens we could never afford in our own yards?  Most definitely.

There have been instances where the dissatisfied have felt the need to take or destroy everything made by the wealthy class.  All we have to do is read history books (and today’s news) to realize what happens when mandatory redistribution of wealth is allowed to run rampant.   Homes, businesses, museums and gardens destroyed because individual wealth built them.  They may use any number of excuses (religion, social class, inheritance, politics and etc.) for this destruction but it always boils down to "you have something I don’t and I’m going to either take it for myself or destroy it".  Redistribution of wealth at it’s most ugly.
Garden of annuals
Who judges if a wealthy person can keep his or her own money and who will be punished for financial success?  Do we redistribute Robert Redford’s wealth of some $170 million or let him keep it because he does something we like?   Do we take Aaron Spellings’ $600 million estate because his family owned the largest private estate in the US?  Who will be the judge and jury or do we let democracy work instead of politicians.  Whew I’m on a bandwagon and it’s playing the same song the whole parade.  

Although protecting private and public gardens is certainly not the most important issue of the day, it is an example of the big picture.  Do I really believe if I can have the wealth of one of those zillionaires I would make all the right decisions and the world would be a better place?  I would like to tell myself I would but without working for that money, without a lifetime of handing large sums of money, without understanding I would now be hated for what I had, who can say?

I believe in helping those less fortunate and I also put my money and energy where my mouth is on that issue.  I worked hard, I sacrificed and I like to think I used common sense.  Through all this I’m not one of the rich getting richer but I don’t begrudge those that are rich.  I don’t compare my circumstances to someone else and want to punish them for their good fortune.  I live my own life and try to make life better for those around me.
Biltmore Estate

There are citizens who need help from others and we need to keep those programs in place and keep them financed.  If your life is in the category of “the poor get poorer”, you still have the option of how you benefit this world.  Destroying the rich is not how you benefit this world.     

If you’re spitting nails over my comments on redistribution of wealth, you and I can agree to disagree.  I’m still going to be happy I can experience the wonder of fabulous gardens and landscaping without spending more than an admission fee.  Had the owners of these gardens had their wealth (well-gained or ill-gained) redistributed, we would have a less wonderful country.  Will taking these gardens away or destroying them solve the ills of this world?  I don’t believe so.  I believe in personal hard work, helping those less fortunate and a spirit of forgiveness and tolerance will make a better world.  I believe I have the right to do that or not without political or social influence.  Peace and love babe!

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