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)

The Easy Way

 forest-rocks-waterfalls-rivers-rapids-2048x2560

Beware of the easy way.

Most of my life I have taken the easy way. I convinced myself that the path of least resistance is always better. I attempted to justify my inaction to myself with excuses and feel-good sayings but in actuality I was letting my fears take over my life. This is no way to live.  Where has this gotten me?  Nowhere. Fate let me drift along. At times I would be lucky and float into good fortune.  I believed that just being good in my heart was enough. I meant well but I never stood for anything. I let others take the wheel. I lied to myself and have learned the hard way that the easy way is not always the best way. In many cases the easy way will lead you downstream into a false sense of reality and sooner or later you are left high and dry.

I have learned that what is truly worthwhile is rarely easy and that anything worth anything takes hard work and perseverance. Most success stories are about people who never gave up; people who had fallen time and time again but always got back up.  It hurts to fall and sometimes it hurts even more to struggle to one’s feet.  History is full of stories of inspirational people who succeed beyond all odds and it was perseverance and plain old-fashioned hard work more than anything that was the cause of their success.

Many never try because they are afraid of failure. This is the easy way. Thomas Edison didn’t take the easy route.  Once called “addled” by his teacher, Edison only had three months of formal education. This self-taught man called “The Wizard of Menlo Park” went on to hold 1,093 US patents in his name; Including a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.  His most famous invention; the first commercially practical incandescent light took 10,000 tries to perfect.

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” ― Thomas A. Edison
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison

This river we call life is tough and it is not fair.  As someone with Asperger’s I have struggled with this one; the supreme unfairness of life. Nelson Mandela the anti-apartheid revolutionary who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 could teach us about the unfairness of life.  He certainly did not take the easy way. As a lawyer and leader he fought his own government’s policy of apartheid and because of that in 1962 he was arrested, convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.   This great leader served 27 years in prison and was finally released in 1990 after an international campaign lobbied on his behalf.

"There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires." ~Nelson Mandela
“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”
~Nelson Mandela

Speaking up for the truth is seldom the easy way and the Reverend Martin Niemoller certainly did not take the easy way.  This one-time Nazi turned his back on the Fascist Movement in 1933 and organized the Pastor’s Emergency League to protect Lutheran pastors from the police. In 1934, he was one of the leading organizers at the Barmen Synod, which produced the theological basis for the Confessing Church, which despite its persecution became an enduring symbol of German resistance to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested for treason and spent the rest of of WW II in concentration camps, narrowly escaping execution. After the war, Niemoller emerged from prison to preach pacifism and reconciliation. He won acclaim and awards and died in 1984 at the ripe old age of 92. He was probably best known for the following:

Pastor Martin Niemöller posthum in den USA geehrt

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I did not speak out;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
As I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Martin Niemöller 1946

Inspiring words that still inspire today. It takes courage to swim upstream; to go one’s own way. It takes strength of will and determination to stand up for what you believe. This may entail rising up against the tide of popular opinion. This could be a lonely task; standing up for your convictions but soon enough others will join you. It just takes one to start. I recall the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, it only took one small child to stand up and speak the truth.  There are many truths and everyone has their own. Sing you song loud and proud, and don’t be surprised if a whole chorus of voices join in.

easy we shall OVERCOME

.

Thanks for listening,

Strawberryindigo.

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

 

 

“If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way.”
― Terry Goodkind

.


**INSPIRING WORDS (Please listen)**

The Greatest Speech Ever Made (YouTube)

We Shall Overcome by Martin Luther King Jr  (YouTube)

Harvey Milk speech-HOPE (YouTube) 

**Related Articles** 

Nelson Mandela’s Release From Prison (YouTube)

The One Thing Successful People Don’t Do (And 9 Famous Examples) (forbes.com)

The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost (poetryfoundation.org)

How do I make a difference (nortonsofholland.wordpress.com)

Untrodden Path (tauqueersvaani.wordpress.com)

**REFERENCES**

Thomas Edison (wikipedia.org)

Nelson Mandela (wikipedia.org)

Martin Niemoller (hoboes.com)

Inspiring Stories–Never Give Up (Brucemuzik.com)