There are certain politicians in our country who are trying to pit middle class Americans against those who are rich. They're attempting to vilify the wealthy.
Let's get one thing straight before I begin: There are bad or evil people in all walks of life, be it the impoverished, middle class or affluent.
As for myself, I would be considered by many as a lower middle-class individual, owning a house in an area where property values are quite low, and now with flood insurance premiums sky high, virtually unsalable. But my wife and I love our home. It's where we raised our children and have occupied for over 40 years. We wouldn't change a thing.
Likewise, I chose the most secure line of work becoming an educator. Of course, I knew I was not going to make a lot of money in this career. After all, my grandfather and mother were teachers.
Now, what do I mean by security? Well, there are always going to be schools. Furthermore, the state provides a retirement system and that all-important health care benefit. When I went home at 3:30 p.m., my work day was essentially done. No professional worries until the next school day. And finally, I had all my weekends off if I chose to have it that way.
It was a great and rewarding career for me, but it was also the financially securest route to take as an occupation. In essence, I played it safe as a public employee.
There's a humorous academic maxim: "If you can't do, teach." That was definitely yours truly; take me out of a classroom or off a wrestling mat and I was practically useless. Why, I tried to fix a bathroom sink once and ended up getting stitches at a local emergency room. But seriously, I really didn't have the temperament, or should I say, the courage to take any chances in the private sector. Hence, I have always been impressed with the high-achievers in the business world.
In my opinion, there is something special about the self-made person who ventures into the financial unknown to make his fortune. To my way of thinking, that takes guts. Why? Allow me to explain: To begin with, he must first come up with a product idea, plan to make his thoughts a reality, and then convince a financial institution to underwrite his business venture. Next, he has to hire employees to develop his plan and produce the product.
But a product without a buyer is worthless. So, he must also develop a marketing strategy (phone calls, all-media ads, personal visitation, etc.), with the hopes of acquiring customers for his product. Still, it doesn't end there. His product must be of the highest quality if he expects to have repeat buyers.
In truth, he doesn't have a normal workday and there are times when his labors never end. The business owner must constantly be drumming up new clients, making sure present contracts are fulfilled on time, and continually conceiving product improvements. There are nights he doesn't sleep well over company problems that must be remedied. Some days, the emotional and mental stress can be overwhelming.
When all the above is accomplished, he hopefully begins to make a profit which, over time, might eventually total in the millions.
I say, good for him.
I, for one, revere men who thrive on the challenges of innovative enterprises Such individualism is what has made America the greatest nation in the world.
My publisher is Human Kinetics. It was the brain-child of one man in 1974 - Rainer Martens, a former college professor and physical-activities visionary.
Today, his company is the premier publisher of sports and fitness in America with an annual profit approaching $50 million dollars and over 200 employees. And yes, Dr. Martens is a multi-millionaire.
So, what's my point? Read carefully.
I always wanted to publish my thoughts on coaching, but I didn't have the financial resources or the confidence in myself to take out a loan to follow my dream. Then Human Kinetics contacted me, having somehow learned of my athletic writings. In essence, they were willing to take a financial gamble on me. The only responsibility I had was to pen my knowledge of coaching, which was a labor of love for me. On the other hand, the publishing company was footing the bill for the printing and the all-important marketing, amounting to thousands of dollars to produce and sell my work.
Point being, they were taking all the financial risks. Thus, my royalty percentage of the profits was quite low, as it should be. I was just excited about having the opportunity to publish the knowledge I had acquired in coaching over the years.
Because of a self-made millionaire named Dr. Rainer Martens - a person who had the moxie to put his entire savings on the line - hundreds of middle class workers are earning good wages, and I became a published author.
Unfortunately, we are currently being indoctrinated by the present powers-that-be to believe that the wealthy are vile. But isn't it ironic that these same government officials who bad-mouth the upper class have absolutely no problem accepting campaign contributions from them? What hypocrisy!
As for me, I will always greatly admire and praise the undaunted efforts of a self-made man or woman the likes of Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey.
Welker, of Wheeling, is a retired K-12 reading specialist. He is also a nationally-recognized amateur wrestling expert who has published over 600 articles and two books.