Earning a fortune in the 1950s by investing in oil, the first U.S. millionaire was oil king J. Paul Getty. He was quite frugal.
In July 1973, his 16-year-old grandson was traveling in Italy when he was abducted by the mafia. They demanded a ransom of $3.2 million, around $3.6 million with current inflation rates. This was peanuts for Getty, who at the time was worth more than $4 billion. However, Getty denied the offer without a second thought. He argued that he could not spend that much money on one grandchild when he has 13 of them. The mafia sent him one of his grandson’s ears, threatening to send the other ear if the money was not sent in 10 days, but Getty did not budge. In the end, the child’s father pleaded to his father and was able to save his son by loaning some of his inheritance money at a four percent interest rate.
But that’s not all. He had a public telephone installed in his mansion to stop the workers there from using his telephone. He was frugal, but he was also a big donator. He bought a 3.07 million sq. meter (758.6 acres) piece of land and donated all his money to build a public museum, even making the entrance free.
I brought up Getty like this because the hottest issue in the U.S. presidential election campaign, which has come to its final trimester, is that of the campaign finance donations made by rich people.
Recently, Hillary Clinton was widely criticized for being too busy meeting with the wealthy and collecting funds. Considering she collected $50 million in the last two weeks through 22 fundraising events, the criticism seems logical.
Changing the perspective entirely, however, the decision by rich people to take money out of their own pockets to donate to the candidate they like is amazing. No matter how much money you have, it’s not as easy as it seems. Whether donating to a political campaign, helping to reduce wealth disparity, or enhancing art and science techniques, I am jealous of their donating culture. The “big hands” claiming that donations are not only investments in a candidate, but also a way of giving back to society, does not seem to be just an excuse.
However, the aspects standing out to me in this trimester of the presidential election campaign are those in the dark, not the light.
This is something I heard recently from an official in Arizona. A group of Korean tourists in a hotel’s buffet restaurant asked for the prime rib steaks to be cut. The Caucasian employee insulted them: “You Asians should just have some roast beef.” A dispute over nothing but food, and the situation got bigger. It ended with the hotel manager apologizing to the tourists, but the result was bitter; this presidential election campaign shows the extent to which racism and conflict between white and colored folks has intensified.
With two months left in this campaign, what worries me as much as “President Trump” is the “Trump Phenomena” that has rooted itself in America. Even if Clinton is elected in this battle for “who is the least unlikable person?” this does not seem like an issue that will be easily resolved. “The 2nd Trump, 2020,” and “2024, 3rd Trump,” are approaching as established facts.