Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Man's Home Is...

Moorish Room
Hacienda San Diego de Jaral de Berrio
San Felipe, GTO, MX

Off the beaten path about an hour's drive from San Miguel de Allende in the town of San Felipe, Guanajuato, you will find one of the largest abandoned hacienda in all of Mexico: Hacienda San Diego de Jaral de Berrio. You might recognize the facade itself from the movie Mariachi starring Antonio Banderas.

It's hard to describe the magnificent opulence that this Hacienda represents. Even today in its abandoned state, it makes you wonder what life was like was for the gentrified and for the nearly 6,500 people serving them. This hacienda is more like a beautiful fortress and a self contained city.

Suppose for the Marques de Berrio and his descendants, a man's home was his castle. The Marques received his grant from the king and quickly amassed land and wealth. He and his defendants prospered at the expense of the indigenous people who toiled the land and managed the estate. It was a good life to be privileged back then. 

Today in America, in nearly a decade of time, the disparity between rich and poor is once again beginning to surface. Unfortunately those of us in the middle whose incomes have dwindled fail to realize that in that same period of time, the very wealthy's income level has quadrupled while the middle class has barely kept pace or now earns less for the same amount of work.

There's nothing wrong with wealth. There is something wrong with not asking questions about the causes of income inequality in a society that prides itself in democracy and the notion that all men are created equal. We are again becoming a nation where some of us are less equal and our votes are becoming less meaningful as they are purchased by the very wealthy to support their lifestyles.

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