Wealth and Power can Create Bullies
By: Flowering Spring Tree
January 1, 2014
As a kid, I grew up in a working class neighborhood of Caucasians in the northeast that was middle to upper class. All around me, my neighbors were teachers, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, business agents, and entrepreneurs, some of whom were - and still are - extremely wealthy and powerful. As a kid growing up around status, wealth, or at least, the absence of need in my immediate residential area, it was a sharp contrast to those in other areas close by who were impoverished, in receipt of welfare assistance, or who were unemployed. As I got older and realized the differences in the socioeconomic status of people, I recognized how the wealth, power, and influence of one particular, large, extended family of 100's of people in my small area contributed to the good as well as the bad.
A mistake the I made when I was a very young child was to associate wealth and power with goodness. Of course, as a child, I thought it was good for a person to have nice clothes, a good vehicle, a decent place to live, and even a good business or career. As adults who are insightful about such things, many of us know that status does not necessarily equal a good, strong character, or good beliefs and values. So, what I did not realize as a child was that a person might appear to "have everything," but really be lacking in the honorability and respectability of not having a good character and values.
What I had always hoped for, growing up, was that it was not really true that those families who were the most wealthy and powerful in my community were the least honorable and least respectable, though I have found that it is very true. In playing with certain children in those wealthy families when I was a child, I discovered that they were bullies. They acted in ways that were selfish, spoiled, conceited, mean, and hurtful to me and other peers. They often had no adult supervision into their activities, and were left to their own devices, even in their own homes. They had exclusive friends, they attended exclusive schools, and they kept to themselves and remained in their own world most of the time. Because there were so, so many people in their huge extended family, there was little need for them to look outside of their own circle, and so, their bullyish actions became ingrained and normal to them.
What I observed as I grew up and became an adult was that the bullyish children of the extremely wealthy families also grew into bullyish and spoiled adults. Many of them used alcohol and illegal drugs, and got away with what they could without consequences. They were untouchable because of their wealth and power, not only in my small community, but also throughout the entire state. The bullyish children who became bullyish adults also often married spouses who were well-known bullies in the community, and some have gone on to have children who are bullies, as well.
Sadly, the vicious cycle has continued in many of those families. Their wealth, power, influence, and status has corrupted them. Being conceited, spoiled, mean, and hurtful was and is normal for them. They do not see anything wrong with it. Some of them are capable of bullying a person to death and not caring one wink about it. They have never had to be responsible or accountable for the consequences of their actions, and it seems, they never will.
And so, the rest of the community has to protect itself. Those who try to help, and bring attention to the situation in the hopes of positive change are muzzled, silenced, and destroyed. In these bullyish families, there is only one way - the bullyish way that disregards the law and overshadows goodness. In our wonderful American democracy, those who try to stand up for what is good and right are often silenced and destroyed by those who have more wealth, power, and influence - and who are bullies, but not necessarily the right ideals. Such wealth, power, influence, and status has caused and contributed to their bullyish ways. And, all too often, others who are blinded by the false beauty of it all are misled and are unable to see the truth.
And so, the bullying continues in a never-ending vicious cycle. Those who are intelligent enough to realize that there is no changing such people try to work with or around them as well as they can, or avoid them altogether. Those who have high ideals may attempt to make positive changes, but find that they are all but destroyed in the process. In our land that is supposed to be flowing with milk and honey, we therefore find that those who reap the benefits of the good things are not quite so good, themselves. The rest of us do our best to protect ourselves and avoid getting caught up into their toxic lifestyle. Some of us are successful, and others, not.