White men, especially old white men are getting a bad rap these days. It’s a new era we are told; time for a change in the power structure, for more diversity.
I am a white male and to make matters worse I am old too. Add the fact I am not living on my Social Security and you have the perfect target. Based on the political rhetoric, attack ads and Tweets I’ve been reading, everything wrong with America is my fault.
But you know what, white males including old white males, built this Country; white males mostly from European countries. And yes, they did some reprehensible things along the way, but the fact remains every American owes his or her standard of living and freedom to complain to these white guys. Even the poorest among us are better off by large measure compared to the poor in the rest of the world.
Who changed America and the world and its economy from the mid 19th century onward, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbuilt, Frick, Flint, Ford, Edison, Westinghouse, Watson, Tesla, Morgan, Goodyear, Jobs, Bell, Mores, Gates, Hewlett, Packard and so many, many more like them? And let’s not ignore what we owe the white men of the 18th century and before.
Ford, Edison, Harding and Firestone
There are a few things that make many of us old white guys different today. We live within our means, we hate debt of any kind, we never pay credit card interest. We are cheap and buy only what we actually need. We save for the future and emergencies. We value hard work and discipline. We have this thing about being married first and then having children. Except for a few war-time moments, our bodies are devoid of tattoos that we would have regretted as our bodies began to sag. We insist on dinner with family where we actually sit at a table and eat a home cooked meal and no one leaves the table until all are done with their meal. Even the coffee we drink is … actually just coffee. Come to think of it, we are a strange lot aren’t we?
We generally take personal responsibility for our actions and shun unearned assistance. We aren’t afraid to do what it takes to reach our goals and we are patient in achieving them. Our patriotism isn’t limited to watching the Olympics, carrying some placard showing our ignorance or flying a flag off the back of a pick up truck. Many of us joined or were drafted into military service and served our time.
None of this is intended to diminish the significant accomplishments of women and non-white Americans. White men did not build America alone, they leveraged and sometimes took advantage of the resources of America, they enslaved millions of people over a 246 year period. We know, it wasn’t always pretty or fair, but it all ended in progress that eventually made Americans (all Americans) the beneficiaries of the greatest economy in world history.
Let’s hope the critics of white American men find replacements with the staying power and abilities of those they now decry. America is betting its future.