The War on the Poor

 

POVERTY-AMERICA- poor homeless

 

 

It’s difficult to believe that it’s in everyone’s best interests to support a system that bestows elite status only to a privileged few on the backs of the underprivileged many. Do we think it’s alright because we hope to someday become one of these lucky few; those one percent?

Could it be that the deck is stacked against us poor huddled masses? Could it be The American Dream is only for those who have the greenbacks to pay for it ?  And if you have to ask how much…you can’t afford it.

I suppose it is unfair of me to say that we the people support such a system per se. I mean if we all had a chance to have our say we may find some of our citizens are fed up with all this damn economic inequality that is deepening by the day. Some may dare to suggest, shudder the thought, that some reshuffling may be in order.

You heard it right; I am suggesting that perhaps the all-mighty capitalistic society where markets regulate themselves and corporations are people too, may not be all that it is cracked up to be.  It is a system that rewards avarice. It promotes those who can take, take, take for themselves. It favors unhealthy and unjust competition and creates an atmosphere of dissatisfaction and mistrust. How can we love thy neighbor if we are continually competing with them?  In this kind of game there must be many losers for one winner. And for the most part the winners are chosen not solely by merit but by luck of birth. We do have a Monarchy in this country, in the world. Money is king and those one percent aim to widen the gap between those that have it and those that don’t.

It’s hard to blame anyone; it is the system after all. I think people should be entitled to what they have worked hard for. Industry should be rewarded. I don’t blame people for wanting to hold on to what they have. It seems that the more money some people have the more they worry about losing it. Our society has driven in that fear of poverty and homelessness.

Many of our community governments and police have adapted ordinances and laws that unfairly punish those who can least afford it. It seems as though they are waging an undeclared war on poor people.

Homeless spikes under-bridge in China  Photo:  Daily Mail

Homeless spikes under-bridge in China Photo: Daily Mail

 

 

Where are we going with this? What is happening to our humanity?

 

St. Louis City street sign

St. Louis, Missouri. USA

 

anti homeless bench

Orlando, Florida. USA

We all know this. There’s no surprise here.  The question is what to do? What can we do? We cannot simply tax the rich to the hilt and expect to save ourselves.  Our problems go way beyond that. It sounds great; Make the rich pay for everything.  This causes people to want to hang on tighter to what they have and that makes it all the worse.  And really it’s not very fair or practical. I’d like to offer an answer or at least part of one. The problems are so massive. It’s hard to know where to begin.  I do know it cannot go on this way forever.  The world is changing regardless of what anyone wants. The sun shines and sets on us all alike. Nothing is forever. This cannot go on.  And the ones on top; those one percent…they can’t believe it can last.  Can they?

 

 

“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.”  ― Philip Slater

“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.”
― Philip Slater

 

“A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things. ”  ― Herman Melville

“A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things. ”
― Herman Melville

 

This wild ride we are on is not the least bit sustainable. It is expensive, messy and just plain stupid how we exploit our dwindling resources. Our value system is wonky. We tend to miss what is truly important. We glorify the empty and the greedy. The perfect smile and the right sound bite being sold to us night after night…and we the people lap it up. The great economic machine feeds on us, then spits us out when it’s through. It asks for our children too and doesn’t give a damn about anything but the bottom line.

We are products of our environment. It can be difficult enough to see someone else’s point of view, but to actually feel how they do; to truly understand…that requires a special insight that is hard to acquire in a life insulated from want, from unsightliness, unpleasantness and misfortune. An extreme hardship for one person may be a mere annoyance for another.   I think some of the more fortunate have no idea how difficult it really is to be poor.  It is easier to blame the victim of circumstance rather than the circumstance itself; that the poor somehow deserve their fate. Otherwise that would mean that bad things happen to good people who try really hard and that we are more at the mercy of the fickle finger of fate than we would like to comfortably acknowledge.

 

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

The rain falls on us all and sometimes a gut of wind can take your umbrella and you are left to get wet. Fate is a funny thing.  Who would have thought? I feel as though we are living in a bad Science Fiction movie with a horrible ending.   What sort of world are we leaving our children?

Something must be done. A lot of somethings must be done….by us all. We cannot afford to wait for it all to trickle down.

Our priorities are skewed but they do not have to remain that way. I think we need a new way of thinking about what success means; what it means to be rich. Perhaps in the future the measure of wealth will be not be what one has but what one is able to give…and we will need more givers in the future if we are going to make it. We are all going to have to work together–all 100% of us.

 

 

 

~Nancy

.

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
Nelson Mandela

  save the world postive children kids happy

 

***References and Related Articles***

John Lennon – Working Class Hero (YouTube)

Woody Guthrie- This Land Is Your Land  (YouTube)

**

The Koch Brothers and the Danger of American Plutocracy (billmoyers.com) 
America’s wealth gap ‘unsustainable,’ warns Harvard study that finds corporations are growing richer as workers grow poorer (Financialpost.com) 
The Republican War on the Poor (Huffingtonpost.com)
Homeless Spikes Popping Up All Over the World — Oligarchs Rejoice
GALLERY: WHAT INEQUALITY LOOKS LIKE   (Ted.com)
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20 thoughts on “The War on the Poor

    • Thank you Gunta. I have to be true to myself and write what I feel. It’s not so easy for me to tackle the hard subjects but I feel so much and care so much I am compelled to write it and it will haunt me if I don’t. There is really not a lot I can add. The subject is far too vast and complicated and probably impossible to scale but I must try. I must add my 2 cents, my voice to the chorus. I can’t just sit here and say nothing.

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  1. It’s a great post, Nancy. You’ve really nailed all the issues and how they relate to each other. I’ve been very surprised to see so many apparently chronically homeless people here in Paris, sleeping on park benches and on street corners, or in subway stations during the day. The safety net we think exists in the European economies has some significant holes.

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    • Hi Janet, I too have assumed the Europeans were more “with it” than we when dealing with the homeless. Alas it is everywhere. My city of Portland has gotten the reputation of being compassionate attitude towards the homeless with many good programs to help them. So much so that other communities have sent some of their homeless here; actually giving them bus fare. Our local safety net has been taxed and the result is a swelling homeless population and services exhausted.

      I hope your trip has been memorable and enjoyable my friend. 🙂

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  2. Well said again, Nancy! A topic near and dear I think to many of us. It is espexially disheartening to see the rise of educational costs which then lead to even more difficulties for people to break free of what they were born into. The “American Dream” is not what it used to be no matter what propaganda is spewed out to the contrary. I am more of a moderate though…still, even then we need some kind of change. This model of Plutocracy (country run by those in wealth if I have my defintions correct, or Oligarchy run by a few in power) can no longer be called a Democratic Republic. It just does not work no matter what the media says. Yet, as a believer in hard work I find it difficult to give in to a Socialist system either. There has to be a middle ground that is equitable. Wish I knew what that looked like and so far the only model I find that seems to work are the European models. I highly doubt those in power will let that happen in the end. Still, we have to push back and start somewhere. Even several billionaires have noted the unsustainablilty of the current model.
    Well written, Nancy! 🙂

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    • Hi Niaaeryn, Thanks for the kind words. I may in the future devote an entire post to the problem with higher education and what amounts to lifelong servitude in my opinion. The system is rigged and we all know it. UGH.

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  3. No animal I know of can sustain unchecked reproduction. All, and I mean all, measures being discussed by people far and wide start off on the wrong foot if they don’t first acknowledge that as long as the population grows unchecked there is no solution to any of our current problems and other problems we’ve not even dreamed of yet . . .

    . . . that discussion is hampered by so many obstacles that I have zero hope it will ever occur.

    Liked by 1 person

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