Together we make a pie. We call it the country. It’s the combination of the nation’s wealth and the nation’s bounty and the nation’s goods and good. The Preamble to the Constitution gives the recipe and defines the finished pie. We all kick in. Most us contribute our money and our sweat. We go to work, do our jobs, pay our taxes, pay our bills, buy stuff. We do what we can to help keep our neighborhoods and our communities together. And the nation thrives and prospers. The pie is made.
Some of us kick in more money than others. Some kick in more sweat. Some of us have nothing to give but sweat. Some of us add nothing but money. Doesn’t matter. We’re all sharers in the making. We all bake the pie.
Except when it comes out of the oven it turns out that the people with the most money---who are not necessarily the people who’ve kicked in the most money and who together haven’t kicked in anywhere near the most sweat---are standing right by the oven door to claim the pie as the own.
“We paid for this pie!” they say.
They didn’t, of course. We all paid for it. We all made it. It belongs to all of us. But while they may not have paid for the whole pie, they’ve bought the most politicians, they’ve had the laws written to privilege and benefit themselves, and the laws somehow allow them to claim first dibs.
First dibs is not the same as owning the pie, though. So they’re forced to give some of it up.
“Tell you what,” they say, “Since we paid for the pie”---they don’t mind repeating the lie---“but out of the goodness of our hearts we’re going to share it with you”---as if they have a choice---“We get to decide how to divvy it up. We’ll slice the pie.”
And they do. They slice it into thousands of pieces. And out of every hundred of those thousands of pieces they keep ninety for themselves.
When they’re done it’s obvious they have way more pie than they can possibly eat and the rest of us barely have enough to fill a small plate.
“Hey, where’s the rest of ours?” we say.
“They have it,” they say. “Those people over there. The ones who didn’t kick in any money. The ones who didn’t contribute any sweat. The ones who aren’t as honest and hard-working as you. They are eating your share of the pie.
“You’d better go take it back from them. If you hurry, you can get it before there’s nothing left but crumbs.”
Of course it’s hard to hear what they’re saying because their mouths are full.