I spent most of my life avoiding politics, happily focusing on my family and my career…
I haven’t always been politically active. I spent most of my life working and helping raise my children, and I hated paying taxes just like most people. But two events in my life changed my attitude toward politics and taxes, and when I found Patriotic Millionaires I realized I had found a way to act on these new values.
I want to clarify when discussing these issues with any and all, conservatives or liberals: I love the communal values we generally hold dear as citizens and residents, including those espoused in the constitution. That is precisely why I advocate for all the things I advocate for.
I signed up, not to wear a new title – which is frankly a bit embarrassing for someone like me – but to add my voice to the vital movement of rescuing our democracy from the grip of money and bad economics.
There are great investments that our economy has to make, and it makes perfect sense to raise the top marginal rates on high-income earners in order to help make these investments.
We have to fix this mess we created. And even if we can’t really fix it, we have to at least try, don’t you think?
The public education system in this country, the infrastructure in this country, the civic institutions, make it possible for people with drive to achieve their dreams. I’ve been able to live my dreams. But I am worried that it may not remain that way much longer.
We know that taking money out of politics is the right thing to do. Together, we are able to make a compelling case. These are the values I grew up with.
I do not believe in ensuring equal outcomes, but I do believe in equalizing opportunity wherever possible. I have had a fair shot in life. I want to make sure that as many other people as possible do too. That is why I am a Patriotic Millionaire.
Unlike the previous Republican administrations’ “laissez faire” style of government, which had let Wall Street run free and crash the economy, this new activist government came down on the side of ordinary working people. It curbed monopolies, regulated the stock market, prescribed minimum wages and working conditions, banned child labor, and empowered unions.
I talk to my father all the time. At 95, he’s still fighting pork barrel projects in Jacksonville, and writing columns for the weekly paper. And I know he will continue to do so as long as he can breathe, and write, and fight and think. I marvel at how much he has been able to accomplish without having the financial resources available to me. How much more of an obligation do I have, then, to ensure that others have access to the opportunities for success that I have enjoyed?
In Country Music, you learn to respect all people no matter their position in life. That’s just part and parcel of country culture: good ole southern politeness and hospitality. And then there’s self-interest. The first time I shook hands with Garth Brooks, he was selling boots at a boot store in Brentwood, Tennessee. In Nashville, you never know if your waiter, or a day laborer, or someone sleeping in their car might be the next superstar. You learn to respect everyone, which happens to be a good lesson to learn in life anyway.
Rather than spend money on advertising, they invested in hiring more full-time employees, closing on major holidays so employees could spend time with their families, and offering a 100% guarantee of satisfaction on every item they sold.
I started out in the lower middle class. My early family life, growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the ‘50s, had its difficulties and challenges. I was working outside the house by age of nine in order to become financially independent. But I was I white, male and fairly clever, and that made every difference and my life journey much easier.
My family and millions of others like us came to America during a time when America had an implicit social contract. It was a time when key policy makers realized that the best investment that the nation could make was in its own citizens. So that those citizens would have the chance to lead decent and productive lives. It was a time of national wisdom, humanity, and humility.