Us-vs-Them…Poverty

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photo credits Christian Silva (1&2) Propaganda Times (3rd)

 

 

I’m not really even sure how to start this post, but it’s been burning since last night, since I saw yet another
oh-so-popular Bash The Poor meme on FaceBook. But it’s not JUST FB. I hear it on radio shows, on the news, on television when I have a chance and bother to watch. There are YouTube videos, and print ads, and articles. There are angry politicians, what a crock that is when they are getting rich on the backs of the middle class. Makes me think, “you know, if we just gas chambered everyone who makes less than $50k a year, all of America’s problems would be solved apparently!” Then I remember I’m one of them.

Yet we call ourselves a Christian nation. I call BS on that. Sorry, Jesus’ whole ministry was to the poor and downtrodden, and having the people for lunch who screamed all of the equivalent of what I wrote above in His time period. And He didn’t demand to know how many jobs they were working, not to mention how they were spending every last penny they made on those jobs, and then grill them as to why they thought they deserved to eat or have clothes or a roof over their heads like normal, contributing to society humans do. Or, *gasp*, where did you get that donkey or embroidered shawl when by god, you claim to be poor!! “But Goodwill donkeys are on sale for a penny on Fridays, Lord, and it might help me get out of poverty, because now I have access to other work….” I can just see the poor man saying.

That’s what he has to say today. How dare you have a cell phone and be poor, you lazy rotten liar! per the new, lovely meme.

Somehow, I don’t see the love of Christ in that.

Let’s face it, the goal isn’t helping the poor get out of that position for our society. The goal is keeping them there so we have a scapegoat.

Rising health care costs-it’s not corporate greed, or the fact that companies have billions if not trillions in profits and WANT MORE, more to sit on and say “we are rich” and do nothing with. It’s those darned poor people going into the ER because they have a cold and can’t pay a doctor and can’t get insurance. And it’s those darned poor people having accidents or cancer and doing the same.

Increases in the cost of living are now the fault of the poor, too.

Cities costs to “clean up their streets” due to those filthy rotten homeless folks. How dare they need a place to live like the rest of us? Ban them…jail them, and then tell people their taxes have to go up to pay for those costs. How about taking some of the abandoned buildings and handing those homeless a hammer and nails, some paint, and saying fix it up, it’s yours. Win win. Abandoned building isn’t dragging down the property values, homeless person off the street. Even America’s god, Mammon, is somewhat served in that (not dragging down property values). But cash isn’t changing hands up front, so it’s no good…

NPR did a report a couple months ago on a city in Oregon, or Washington…I can’t remember which. The new (a few years ago) leaders decided to do something about their homeless. Instead of jailing them or chasing them off to die somewhere, they did a RADICAL THING. They gave them homes.
The report talked about HOW VERY MANY naysayers there were. You can’t just do that-they will expect handouts, they aren’t worth it, they won’t change, they are worthless, less than human, how can you be so stupid to think that will make a difference, and so on.
A couple of years later, guess what? 98% success rate, or maybe it was 96%. The people, be they single or families, fixed up their places, cleaned up their lives. Alcohol addiction and drug addictions went out the window. They got jobs. THEY KEPT JOBS. Some went to school, got their ged, are getting college degrees. The few whom it didn’t work for turned out to be seriously mentally ill. They needed help of a different kind, and if I remember rightly, they are getting it.
The report brought me to tears. I had to pull over, as I was driving at the time. Why can’t people who call themselves human see this?
What the poor need is HOPE.
When you have NO HOPE, why the hell bother?
When you have NO HOPE, your only options are to escape, somehow. Guess what humanity’s best routes of escape have been for millenia? Alcohol and drugs. And if that doesn’t deal with the pain that you can’t escape because humans can’t survive without hope, you slit your wrist or drink yourself to death or OD or some other way to get away from the pain.

If we ever want to be a Christian nation as we claim, we have to take care of the poor. No, that doesn’t mean give them handouts for the rest of their lives. It means give them hope. Give them a reason to live, to TRY. And give them what help they need in the meantime to prove to them that there ARE people who give a damn, who will help them up, who believe that they are worth something, worth the effort and expense.

Sure, there are those who play the system. You know what, they aren’t hard to spot. What’s hard is getting a pair and doing something about it, like kicking them out of the system. What’s even harder is taking the time to get to know them, hear their stories, FIND OUT WHY they do what they do, and then offer them hope, call them up higher, call out the good in them to step up and show itself off.

I’m told I’m naive. I’m a country and small town girl, I can’t begin to understand the way inner city poor think and scheme to get away with all that they can. I’m sorry, but the country has poor too. I grew up in my small town in a 20×30 box with 5 people. I grew up…have you any idea how many broken down single wide trailers that can’t begin to hold heat house people in southern IN? And people wonder why meth labs are such a problem there?

You have a problem with the drug trade? Help the poor. It will be a lot more effective than the billions we’ve poured into the “war on drugs”. True, not all drug users are poor. But they are the only ones anyone gets angry about.

And yes, I’m NOT naive enough to think everyone will reform, become contributing members of society. There are some people who are just bad. Trust me, I know. But I’m guessing those bad apples would become more apparent. Then only the bad apples would get labeled as such, instead of the current situation of all poor are criminals, up to something, trying to leach off the system.

We have to get past the “Us vs Them” thinking. I didn’t even get started on the media mongering of race…ah well, that’s another day 😉

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Categories: Faith and Wrestling, Pain and mourning, rants =) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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