>> Monday, April 5, 2010
*Steps on soapbox*
I struggled with not writing this, but it's completely irritating me. I try to be patient. I understand that it's hard on several different levels to struggle, and that people, who work hard for what they have, can be impatient with those who haven't worked so hard.
I totally get that.
The problem is that there are many poor people who have worked just as hard who have nothing and no options and no opportunities. There are many people working two or three jobs who still can barely make ends meet, that still can't afford insurance or child care or get a vacation, or pay the mortgage or a car payment or...
There's a pervasive sense, pushed by certain factions and media, that poor equals laziness and sloth, that every penny spent on social services is money poured into the ungrateful account of a non-working welfare recipient, that people who are financially successful are inherently smarter and more meritous, that they deserve to be wealthy. However, to take that as a given, one has to assume the reverse, that people who are poor deserve it as well.
You know what, being poor is not a reflection on who you are any more than being rich indicates you're cultured, educated and good. No one willing to work "deserves" to see their child go hungry (actually, what child deserves to go hungry no matter who their parent is?). Why are we comfortable with the notion that people deserve to die if they can't afford insurance or that families deserve to go bankrupt if one of them gets ill.
There are educated folks out there struggling with unemployment. There are people who have worked hard their entire lives who are hurting terribly through no fault of their own.
I know I'm lucky to be where I am, that I'm lucky to have people I can count on, that, if something happened to me, my children wouldn't go hungry. But I've been where I needed help, where I didn't know where to turn. Not everyone gets away from that.
Being poor is hard enough without everyone who isn't assuming you deserve it. It's stupid, too. History shows, time and time again, concentrating money in the hands of the very few leads to economic ruin and/or political upheaval (frequently violent).
You know, if we stopped spending so much time and effort in villifying people who are already suffering, perhaps there'd be less suffering.
Is that really so bad?
*steps off soapbox*