Hard Work

In a comment to one of BW’s earlier posts, I said that this is America and anyone of sound mind and body can make it in America if they just work hard.  Helen, whose comments add immeasureably to this blog, responded that she wished it were so.  But it is.

Every day hundreds, if not thousands, of ordinary Mexicans cross over into America.  They have little education and few skills.  They do not speak English and suffer from whatever handicap being an illegal alien places on them.  They have little but the clothes on their backs.  The majority of them work hard — and succeed.  They succeed so well that they’ve continued to come in the millions.  They keep comingbecause they know that, for all of its faults and for all of the destruction 50 years of liberalism has wrought in America, this is still the land of opportunity, the land where hard work is all that is required to succeed. 

It’s not just Mexicans, or course.  A few weeks ago, I took the depositions of a couple who came here 40 years ago from Italy, with high school educations and little else.  They worked on the east coast as gardeners until they had saved enough to come to California.  Here, they bought a small farm and worked it so successfully that they earned enough to buy other, investment, properties.  Today, they still speak very broken English (they needed a translator for the depositions) but they are multi-millionaires, an American success story.

If people who come from outside the U.S. with little English and little money can succeed here, what possible excuse does anyone born and raised here have?  Who are these people that cannot make it in America? 

To be sure, many Americans do not succeed.  They make bad choices.  They refuse to work hard.  They do not take advantage of the opportunities America gives them.  In some places, they fail for generation after generation.  They do not believe they can succeed.  But why?  How do we reach these people?  How do we break through the generation to generation cycle of failure?

Anyone in America with a sound body and a sound mind who works hard will succeed.  Thousands of legal and illegal aliens prove this every day.  What will it take to get native-born Americans to understand this?  And what will it take to get them to try, to work hard, to prove (to themselves more than anyone else) that they can succeed?

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  • Ellie2

    We have always had slackers in our midst, all the way back to Jamestown. Then we said “if you don’t work, you don’t eat.”

    The only thing that has changed is now the slackers can eat — and have two cars, 3 TV’s, 6 children, no spouse and an ipod.

    Class envy (as opposed to class aspiration), much like child abuse, is passed from generation to generation. As to “what will it take to get them to try …?” How do we break any cycle of abuse? It is very, very hard. Victims of child abuse often opt to remain childless. Children of spousal abuse victims, may choose not to marry.

    But I think the best cure is to reject the “victimhood” identity altogether and hook up with a pop-eyed optimist who believes that all things are possible.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    It’s possible in America to work hard all your life and have very little to show for it in terms of financial success…..if that is all someone is looking at, then they’d be really upset at your post.

    However, parents working hard to give their kids a leg up toward the American Dream is a recurring story over the last two hundred years. And hardworking people who raise their kids not to be victims, WILL find success at a very high rate.

    Discovering a few people who don’t fit the general pattern does not invalidate your point. This is the greatest country in the world, and I posted about a specific example, the Fugees, here:
    http://ogblog.net/index.php/weblog/comments/change_is_in_the_airbe_careful_what_you_wish_for/

    Amazing story – and the person making the judgment is a Jordanian!

  • Mike Devx

    There will always be unique individuals who seize their opportunity and excel.

    The problem is, many people need a shove. That shove has always come, in our country, from our tradition-laden (conservative) culture that has PUSHED the average Joe into taking responsibility for himself. There was ‘The American Dream’ that we lived and breathed and believed in. Finally, our lawmakers, in the past, even through all their games of corruption, always supported the middle class. They would never have allowed their corruption to harm the average American. Whether that was caused by a basic decency that has disappeared, or by the fear of shame, I don’t know.

    But when all of these forces have been under assault now for decades, and when these forces appear to be whithering around us… when the middle class itself appears to be under assault from Left AND Right… I am afraid.