Cookie Schwaeber-Issan

Why Full Equality Can Never Happen

Back in 1978, Israeli pop singer, Yehudit Ravitz recorded a song about the prettiest girl in the kindergarten.  The words went something like this – She has the prettiest eyes, the prettiest braid, the prettiest mouth.  When she smiles, I smile, and when she’s sad, I don’t understand, because how is it possible to be sad when you’re the prettiest girl in the kindergarten.

That simple song tells the story about another little girl who, at her very tender preschool age, already recognizes that one of her peers is endowed with beauty and personality far beyond hers or anyone else’s for that matter.

Which brings me to the claim that, while it’s true that we are all created equal with unalienable rights, we don’t all get to be equal in the end.

I’m reminded of my old friend Don Silverman, who, the moment he entered a room, had the gift of lighting it up and all those in it.  His overly gregarious and delightful personality was off the charts as he made everyone feel at home, engaged and relaxed as possible.  What a joy it was to be in his company!

Likewise, all of us know people who seem to have the Midas touch.  Everything they put their hand to just seems to turn to gold.  Their wealth increases in a way that few can aspire to ever attain.  Their business acumen is truly a gift which escapes others who, most likely, work just as hard, but, nonetheless, never soar to the same level.

In short, no matter what advantages you’re given or to what family you’re born, you can almost always count on the fact that there will be someone prettier, thinner, richer, better spoken, faster, wittier, sharper and more sophisticated than you.  It’s just how things work out in life.  Is it wrong?  No, because it’s unavoidable.  People’s gifts and natural abilities open doors for them.  Those open doors translate into wealth, popularity, privilege, power and personal gain in a vast variety of ways.

So why, then, are today’s “progressive woke” obsessed with the idea that they must make the playing field level for everyone in order to create a more utopian universe?  Or why do they feel that those who possess special skills, wealth or privilege must be crushed in order to attain a more equitable distribution for those endowed with lesser attributes?

It’s interesting that their claim of inequity seems to stem from their erroneous belief that privilege is equated with a lack of fairness toward those who, by their way of thinking, are oppressed and deprived.  But not all privilege is unearned as they would want us to believe.  Privilege also is derived from natural talent and ability which was not necessarily inherited by another individual but rather developed instinctively along the way.

You can take the example of any top athlete in their field.  The story of their rise to the top likely came from an inborn trait which, when nurtured, practiced and developed catapulted them to a level far beyond what others could ever hope to achieve.  They simply were not born with that caliber of ability and skill needed to set them apart.

The same goes for most supermodels whose height, stature and bone structure afforded them the possibility to leave the rest of us behind as they made their way to the covers of magazines and billboards.

So in light of these obvious natural inequities which start at birth, what exactly are the “woke” fighting for as it relates to full equality?

When it comes to their idea of achieving financial equity, sometimes referred to them as “spreading the wealth,” they can’t really take credit for that either, because it’s not at all a new one.

In 1934, Louisiana governor and later senator, Huey Long announced a plan called, “Share Our Wealth.”  This program aspired to give all Americans a similar standard of living by “spreading the wealth.”  The idea was to place a cap on personal wealth not to exceed $50 million.  Any earned income beyond that point would be taxed and placed in a fund which would benefit the public through government benefits and initiatives. Later on, after rethinking that amount, he amended the capped wealth to stand between $5-$8 million.

Like the “Squad,” he advocated for free higher education, health care and also a stipend for all families earning less than one-third of the national average income.  He also suggested a debt moratorium on mortgages and other debts.

The similarities to what is being proposed today by progressive woke politicians is eerily reminiscent of Long’s elaborate plan to achieve full financial equality for all.  In fact, Long is credited with having been the catalyst for U.S. Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s adoption of “The New Deal,” once he understood just how popular these proposals were at a time when many Americans continued to be hard-pressed to afford basic goods as a result of the Great Depression which caused America’s worst financial collapse.

This is what progressives have, once again, seized upon at a time when they have simultaneously helped to sabotage an otherwise strong and robust economy by doing all they can to tank nearly every successful American industry.  Of course, their ultimate goal is to make everyone completely reliant upon government handouts from cradle to grave.

However, I come back to hard work, natural talent and ability as well as accepting the fact that there is no such thing as a level playing field nor can there ever be without manipulation, outright stealing and governmental enactment of laws to seize power and come up with ways to transfer money from those who have it to those who don’t.

Yet, ironically, there has actually been no time more favorable in history when equal rights have been ensured, underclasses have been protected and advantages have been accessible to those who need them most.  In other words, if you aspire to a good and successful life, it is very much within your grasp so long as you are willing to put in the hard work that is necessary to attain it.  That is the good news!

The bad news is that most of us will never shoot hoops like Michael Jordan, strut our stuff down the runway like Heidi Klum or play the violin like Itzhak Perlman, because we simply haven’t been blessed with that kind of skill, beauty or musical genius.  It would be great if humanity came in a one-size-fits-all type of existence, because then there would be no competition, no jealousy and no striving to be on top, but that was never the plan.

We were created to excel, compete and succeed!  But with that must also come the resignation that we can find peace and satisfaction in the knowledge that we did do our best to work hard, live honestly and help others less fortunate, to the extent that we could.  Those standards are equally attainable to all and will celebrate not only the outstanding achievements of others but also reaffirm our individual success which came from investing in our own abilities, pursuits and hard work.

About the Author
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.