Archive for December 9th, 2011

This is a small painting, only 5″ by 6″ on canvas,  that recently went to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.   I call this piece Everyday Hero and even though it’s small in size, it’s one that I find full of meaning for myself.

As they often do in my paintings, the fields of alternating rows of color represent the act of labor.  The day-to-day sort of work of the people who toil every day with little if any recognition, trying to merely live their lives.  They raise their kids, they pay their bills and they simply try to just get along without bothering anyone or being bothered. 

 These are the people who built this country.  They built our infrastructure– the roads and bridges and the schools and factories.  They worked in the fields and in the foundries and factories and manned the trains and trucks that brought the products to market.  Moreover, these are the people who consumed the products that were made, moved and marketed here.  These were the people who created the wealth of this nation.

I know that this is sounding like a 99% spiel and maybe it is.  I have gotten so tired of hearing about the job creators and how they must be protected when very few are pointing out that the great wealth that these few possess came from the sweat and pocketbooks of the many.  I may be missing something here but I can’t think of anyone whose wealth was created in a vacuum that didn’t depend on the sale of their product, be it a manufactured item or a natural resource.   You might say that a hedge fund manager might not depend on the sale of a product but he only serves as a casino operator for those who wealth was created of the people.  Without their wealth, he has nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong.  It seems that when anybody makes the case for more equality of wealth, they are branded as being anti-capitalist and anti-business which is not the case.  The greatness of this country comes from this opportunity to succeed in a huge way, to take an idea or an innovation and set the world on fire with it.  You should be rewarded richly.  But unless you have the people to buy the products or ideas, unless you have the infrastructure to carry that product to these buyers, unless you have the fire fighters and police to protect your homes and offices, unless you have have clean air to breath and water to drink— it will never happen. 

You can be a hero to many by being a  job creator but you must  take some responsibilty for the everyday heroes who have made you wealthy, probably beyond anything most of these folks could fathom.  It is part of the unwritten contract of our land.  It is only fair.

Massachusetts Senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren made a very passionate  statement of this same thought recently in a video from a fundraising event that most of you have probably seen.  It is as compelling and precise an argument as anyone I’ve seen make while standing up for the everyday heroes.  Here it is:

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