Monday, May 13, 2013

Give Us a Break!

The two most damning misconceptions about poverty in America is that it is the result of a weak economy, and that poverty is, 'in fact' , caused by poor people.

Weak economy?  

The details of an historically unprecedented explosion in wealth among a small percentage of the population in America during the last 40 years has been well-documented. If you need a refresher please revisit this video from Upworthy:

Or this article from Alternet .

And yet, despite this, there is a significant number of people in our political elite who are waging a war against poor people.   "The war against working people should be understood to be a real war.... Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class.... And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except they don't want anybody else to know about it." -- Noam Chomsky

Why? I think the simple answer is greed. But if you are going to be greedy in public, one must then find a way to justify such an otherwise socially unacceptable behavior.

Here's where it gets interesting, and creepy: after you abscond the nation's wealth you then blame the poor for being poor, for creating the economically and socially degraded condition they find themselves in.

To pull this off requires advanced wizardry (or as they used to call it in my hood, blarney):  I'll just use one such person as an example, Paul Ryan -- the wanna be VP. It's his Christian faith, specifically Catholicism, that informs and inspires him to be tough on the poor -- "for their own good". As if the current wealth disparity isn't tough enough on poor people, let's clobber them further with self-righteous moral judgments.  

I quoted Chomsky above. Now I'll retell an anecdote from one of his books. Alexander the Great is having a  marvelous time reeking havoc on the world as he goes about plundering and conquering it. Then one day he comes upon a man who has set up shop on a small Mediterranean port, where he is making a modest living pilfering from the largess of wealthy seafarers.

When Alexander encounters the man, he is beside himself with contempt: "My dear sir, how dare you pirate these waters?" 

The man looks back with world-weary eyes: 'My dearest Lord, how dare yay pirate the whole world?'

Give us a break.

Please visit my Facebook group: Advocate for Economic Fairness!

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