To Our Politicians From a Spiritual Working
By Wayne Dyer
I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat.
Frankly, I still have difficulty with the labels,
conservative and liberal. Those who know me have never
been able to pigeonhole me. I relate to Kierkegaard's
observation: "Once you label me, you negate me."
In truth, I am a working stiff.
I grew up on the east side of Detroit and
spent several years in foster homes. I had a father who spent
some time in prison, abused alcohol and five wives, and died of
cirrhosis of the liver at age 49, never having known his three
boys, after walking out on my mother.
I attended the Detroit public schools,
entered the Navy at 18, spent four years on board ships and
overseas. I worked my way through three degree programs as a
stock boy and cashier at a large supermarket chain, graduating
with a Ph.D. in Educational Counseling. I have been a
schoolteacher, counselor, and college professor. As of this
date, I work as a lecturer and writer, also producing video and
audiotape programs on motivation, spirituality, and higher
I have worked all my life, paid my taxes,
supported my family, and continue to "chop wood and carry
water," while being totally perplexed by what I hear coming
out of the mouths of our politicians. As a working stiff who has
earned enough to be in that top 1 percent income bracket, here
is what I would like you, the politicians, to hear as you go
about the business of government. These are views shared by most
of the people I speak to every day, in all income brackets.
YOU ARE NOT OUR LEADERS. No one that I know
goes to sleep at night saying, "My leaders are in
Washington, D.C." I fume when you refer to yourselves as
our leaders. You may pass laws while sitting in committees and
having Rose Garden ceremonies, but the laws come after the real
leadership has been implemented.
No politician was responsible for leading us
in the struggle for civil rights.
Rosa Parks was a leader. Those who marched
and ignored the racist laws passed by lawmakers were the leaders
of the civil rights movement.
Who were the leaders of the Renaissance? The
office holders? The politicians? No! The leaders were those who
brought the world a new consciousness through their writing,
art, music, and through challenging the entrenched ideologies of
the office holders. These were the leaders.
When I hear you refer to yourselves as our
leaders, I am always amused by such arrogance. We go to work and
send up to 50 percent of our earnings to you. You use our
earnings to make yourselves more privileged than we are, with
unlimited medical care, overly generous retirement guarantees,
and perks galore! All that you really do is write the rules
using our funds to do so. This might be hard to accept, but try
it on for size. We are not sheep who need to be led. We need
servants who care. We are perfectly capable of leading
ourselves; in fact, we do it every day.
YOU DO NOT CREATE JOBS. I have written 20
books, produced hundred of tapes, and given several thousand
lectures over the past 25 years. When I sit down and create a
book, I send it to an editor who I pay to edit the manuscript.
The way I see it, I just created a job. My editor receives
payment, sends in her taxes, and now two are working. The
editing process involves a computer. A third job is created. The
publisher copy-edits the manuscript, and a fourth job is
created. This process continues through many levels, with job
after job being created all because I decided to write a book.
The printers, inspectors, typesetters, delivery people,
booksellers, accountants, stock boys, and cashiers all have jobs
that were created because working stiffs have the ingenuity,
gumption, and desire to create and produce.
The woman who loves flowers and decides to
open a floral shop creates jobs. Without her desire and sweat,
we wouldn't need floral coolers, delivery trucks, or growers.
Nor would we need people to grow food to feed those workers or
design garments to clothe them. The money you use to fund
job-producing legislation originates from those who produce. It
is really quite simple. Politicians do not create jobs.
As I see it, through the eyes of a working
stiff, politicians can pass laws that will ultimately determine
whether anyone finds being productive worth the effort any
longer. If you decide to punish me with tax rules, over-regulate
me, or constantly make my life miserable with forms, rules, and
I may decide that writing another book is no
longer worth the effort. If I decide that, and you multiply me
by the millions of us who produce wealth and jobs, you will see
that you do not produce jobs or wealth with our policies.
You print money. You regulate. You pass laws.
But we produce jobs. We create wealth by working and producing,
not by sitting in committees and talking up our self-importance.
ACT ON THE BASIS OF WHAT IS MORAL AND FAIR,
NOT ON HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED. I heard over and over in
the election debate that the inheritance tax should remain
because only 2 percent of the population is affected by this
tax. I have paid all of the taxes I owe to my government. What
is left is mine to do with as I please. My death ought not
trigger another tax on my remaining savings that have been
already taxed. It does not matter if the tax affects one person
or a million people. It is simply wrong. When our ancestors
moved to abolish slavery, they didn't say, "Only 2 percent
of the populations is enslaved, so let's keep this practice
lawful." They finally realized that slavery was morally
Let those who aspire to greater abundance in
their lives do so knowing that politicians are not going to
confiscate it at the moment of their death. Do what's right and
what's moral, even when it affects only a small percentage of
STOP MIXING PERCENTAGES AND DOLLAR AMOUNTS AS
A RATIONALE FOR YOUR PHILOSOPHY. If there is a surplus in tax
revenues, it is an overpayment and belongs to those who sent it
in. It ought to be returned in the same lawful proportion that
it went in.
If I paid one million dollars in taxes, it is
not so outrageous that I should have returned to me a higher
dollar amount than someone who sent in $2,000 in taxes. To say
that the wealthy will receive $18,000 each while the poor will
only get an $1,800 tax cut is a spurious argument. If you paid
no tax, you don't get a tax cut. You can't cut zero and get
something back. If you paid $200,000 in taxes and you get a
$40,000 refund, that's a 20 percent tax cut. If you paid
$500,000 in taxes and you get back $20,000, that is only a 4
percent tax cut.
It stands to reason that if you are going to
ask the top 10 percent of income earners to foot over 50 percent
of the tax bills, then when it comes time to cut the taxes and
return the surpluses, it ought to go back to the taxpayers in
the same proportion. Similarly, if the bottom 40 percent of wage
earners pay no taxes, then they get no refund. It may not appeal
to most voters, but it makes sense to this working stiff who has
been in all of those tax brackets at one time or another in his
WE DON'T NEED YOU TO FIGHT FOR US. "I'll
fight for you" seems to be the mantra of the modern
politician. Just who are you fighting anyway? Aren't you all
there in Washington to serve us? Don't you realize that fighting
weakens you and rarely accomplishes anything?
I would like for you to work for me, not
fight. Tell me what you are for, rather than what you oppose. I
don't need to see any more debates. You are not running against
anyone. You have no opponents. The person who is on the ballot
with you is not someone you need to fight. Just tell me what you
support and how you intend to make it happen, and let the other
candidates do the same. I don't need you to fight. I need you to
state your vision clearly and commit to bringing it about.
In 1967, Mother Teresa was asked to march
against the war in Vietnam, and she refused, saying, "I
won't march against anything. But when you have a march for
peace, I'll be there." Let this spirit infuse your
*YOU DON'T EMPOWER US. WE ARE ALREADY
POWERFUL. My most disconcerting moments in the election season
were hearing, "We're for the people, they're for the
powerful," and then seeing this slogan as a USA Today
headline the next day. It became a mantra for the last six weeks
of the campaign.
Inherent in such a phrase is the idea that
the people are not powerful, only those who are well off are
empowered. Generation after generation of people in America have
come to believe this line of thinking: "You have no power,
but we, your leaders in Washington, will do it for you." It
is just this kind of thinking that leads people to assume they
are powerless to advance, to create their own greatness, to
attract abundance and health into their lives, to transcend the
ordinary levels of disempowerment.
I want to hear you say, "You are
powerful; you are connected to the divine, and with God you can
accomplish anything you make up your mind to do. If you see
others who appear to be more powerful than you, then associate
with them and emulate their strengths. Create a powerful vision
for yourself. Don't find fault with those who have elevated
themselves. Learn from them, find your own serenity and grace,
and know that you are powerful. I'll support such a vision in
all legislation. Keep your hopes high."
In Wisdom of the Ages, I wrote an essay based
upon Michelangelo's observation: "The greatest danger for
most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but
that it is too low and we reach it." I want to hear you
speak of high hopes, of the power of our spirit, a spirit that
knows no favorites and is in each and every one of us.
DON'T GIVE YOURSELF WHAT YOU DENY TO THOSE
WHO PAY FOR WHAT YOU HAVE! If we send a portion of our income to
you, don't use that money to vote yourself benefits
that we are denied. If you get universal medical coverage paid
for by those of us who created wealth, then be sure to grant it
by law to all of us. If you get to retire with 90 percent of
your paycheck, then be sure that we who pay for it get the same
Be ever mindful of your role. You have
elected to be a servant of the people. The people own the house.
They built it. But they can't run it every day nor can they
protect it, and build roads leading up to it. The people can't
educate the children and regulate the economy because they are
too busy working. So they hire servants to handle these duties,
and they pay those servants to protect, regulate, and handle the
affairs of housekeeping. But the house is still owned by the
people. The servants don't get to make demands. The people do.
The servants don't own the funds they receive for protecting,
regulating, and delegating. The people do. It's our house. We
the powerful working stiffs of America own it.
We lead ourselves every day, and if you want
to speak to us, do it from your heart, without a Teleprompter or
a spin doctor at your side. We are honest, hardworking, and
straightforward. We are generous and kind to those in need. We
don't need to be coddled or lied to. We can smell insincerity
and BS a mile away. We pay the freight and keep it moving across
America every day. Not because you are leading us. We are not
following you or anyone else.
There is a spirit in all of us. A spirit that
urges us upward to a greater connection to that which is just,
moral, and honest. We expect no less from those who have chosen
By Wayne Dyer