Rich People Privilege

I guess that’s what happens in an expat facebook group.

But still.

The amount of rich people privilege I’ve seen in response to the protests across Ecuador is shocking. You would think that people living in a nation that has poverty beyond their wildest beliefs would have sympathy for the poor.

Many don’t.

If not most.

While the situation is still unclear, with reports of extreme violence on both sides, neither faction can be said to be handling it perfectly. Which is to be expected. When there are so many different groups and stories, it is inevitable that lines will be crossed. But the fact remains. The people are reacting to unfair policy and government corruption as their only means to say that this kind of action will not be tolerated.

And can you blame them.

When we’ve seen time and time again what happens when people in power are allowed to run wild without consequence.

One word.

Trump.

All over the world, native communities and the poor are exploited. Massacred. Squeezed to the very last drop so that the rich can get richer. So when things like this happen and I see those fortunate fools commenting from behind their fancy computers in their nice, warm homes. Bellies full of food. Money in their bank accounts. A few clicks away from Netflix and chilling after they spew their heartless rhetoric.

I get upset.

Because it is up to us to use the opportunity we have been given to help those who have less.

Not to deny it.

As one of the administrators of the group attempted to do when a post calling for aid went live.  Asking for medical supplies, warm clothing and hygiene products for protesters, the request sparked a heated debate about human rights and compassion.  Whether the actions of a few should be the reputation of all.  And of course, who is ultimately right. 

For me, it doesn’t even matter. What matters is everyone thinks they are right. And we have to respect our own beliefs as much as others. Even if we do not like what they have to say. Because there will be no winners or losers. Just a shit ton of loss for those on the ground level. Comprised of people who at a very basic level are the same. Doing what they have to do for the sake of their loved ones. And whether that means working a job to pay for food on the table. As a policeman or member of the military. Or whether that means storming the capital city to challenge injustice that threatens their very existence.

It is all the same.

Driven by the desire to live a good life with the ones we care about. Something we all wish for amidst the endless ways which we go about trying to accomplish it. Ways that can sometimes look downright crazy to others.

I sit here feeling defeated.

Not just as more reports of death and destruction roll in. But because of the hopelessness that the world we live in is becoming more cruel and unkind than it is compassionate and loving. Made up of people who have been tricked into thinking that their success rests on the deficiencies of others taking racist propaganda and hardening it into a narrow perspective that forever blinds their eyes to the reality of situations so different from their own.

Making them mean.

The kinds of people who would deny help to those who need it out of principle.

Who would leave someone cold, sick and hurt to prove a point. Not seeing that they, too, are a human being. The full story of their lifetime of experience. Only seeing the reality that they have crafted in their own minds that they use to justify the demonization of poor, dark and foreign people. Making them out as so different than themselves. Barbaric and uncivilized. Not people who will bust their asses to the end of days to maintain their livelihoods for the sake of loved ones in the same way they do in a button-down and khakis.

Because we cannot count on the government to fix this. Or establishment in general. It must start from the bottom up. From us as a civilization. And we can do this by treating each other as equals with kindness and respect without expectation or judgement. Supporting our differences and working towards compromise. Seeing that the face on the other side is just as worthy as the ones on our own of respect. Forgiving transgressions and disagreements with empathy and love.

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