How can I stop worrying about the revolution?
June 4, 2012 6:20 AM Subscribe
Part of my family was butchered by communists in their country of origin. How do I keep from worrying about civil unrest in America, particularly over economic inequality? How valid are these fears?
posted by corb to human relations (61 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My family fled to America to escape a communist "revolution." The family members who stayed behind because they didn't want to lose our family home were largely killed when they tried to resist its seizure. The only exceptions were members who went over to the other side to avoid being killed. While I am not personally old enough to remember the conflict, I have grown up hearing stories of bodies on the steps of the family home. My grandmother is getting old now, and sometimes she forgets where she is and thinks she is back there and starts screaming in fear.
It took a while, but eventually my family started doing relatively well here, and now I have a family of my own to worry about. Our combined household income is enough to let us live comfortably, though I definitely remember what it was to grow up poor. Things were great, and I didn't worry too much - until last year, when the Occupy Wall Street movement started gaining steam and London burned.
Particularly with these violent clashes, I have found myself getting more on edge with every time I open the newspapers. When I read editorials in multiple newspapers talking about inequality, I get worried, because my family has told me that this was the atmosphere that led to the revolution. I didn't use to worry about this happening in America - I thought it could never happen here - but I also would never have imagined anything could happen in London, and the rioting and burning there took multiple days to quell. Greece is also out of control.
This is only exacerbated by how my friends talk about this. I identify as largely politically liberal on social issues, so most of my friends are politically liberal overall. I have a lot of friends who are anarchists or socialists. We've managed to avoid economic subjects for a long time, but with the recent rise to prominence of these conversations, they can't seem to contain themselves anymore. They tend to talk with a lot of glee about how "if the Republicans don't give, there will be blood in the streets." Or, "If the rich don't give in to taxation, the people will force them to give." I don't think they know how much it upsets me - they have never had to experience this kind of thing, so I think that this is more rhetoric than anything else - but it makes me wonder if this is in fact likely when even relatively well-off people are talking about it as a possibility. When I try to mention my circumstances to my friends to explain my fears and why I don't like talking about this, they often say that my family deserved it, because they were wealthy in a poor country.
So, my questions are multiple:
How likely is it that civil unrest, riots, etc, will come to places in America if the economy worsens?
How likely is it that people would be forced to give up savings and/or property?
If it is not likely, how can I keep from freaking out about it when I look at the political events of the day?
Is there a way to explain how I feel to my friends without them immediately jumping to blaming my family for former wealth?
Please note: I am not interested in hearing opinions on whether economic inequality is right or wrong. I understand this is likely to be a hot-button issue for many people. I assure you, I have heard enough for several lifetimes of that.