Who are the middle class? We are the underprivileged of yesterday. A diverse, optimistic group of people who grew up in an era devoid of food stamps, low-income housing, free health care, fuel assistance and the list goes on.

We made the most of tough situations, knowing that, with a lot of hard work and sacrifice, we could someday be better off than the generation before us. We worked side by side with our ancestors and immigrants who came to this country looking for freedom.

It never occurred to them to get free handouts. They were just eager to share their skills and ideas and work with us in exchange for this newfound autonomy.

We followed our dreams, made sacrifices, lived on a budget and, surprisingly enough, we made it. No free handouts. We became teachers, nurses, engineers, plumbers, electricians, etc. How proud we were of the accomplishments we achieved.

Today I wonder if the middle class is being replaced by an entirely different class of people. People who feel entitled. Has freedom lost its meaning?

Freedom is not free handouts.

Freedom is not free healthcare.

Freedom is not free tuition to college.

Freedom in not the government relieving you of your responsibilities.

Freedom is being able to pursue your dreams, to worship as you choose, to allow me to write my opinion even though you might not agree. Freedom is choices.

Will the middle-class be around tomorrow? When we give up pursuing our dreams in exchange for a life of entitlements, we give up something else, our freedom. Freedom is worth working for.

Marguerite Thibault, Skowhegan

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