I have actually spoken to people in my lifetime who believe that there is no “real” class division in the United States, no “major” division between color lines. If the tragic event of the Gulf Coast teaches us nothing else, it at least demonstrates that those above assertions are as incorrect as, say, snow in July. As Elijah E. Cummings stated, as seen by the New York Times article
Across U.S. Outrage at Response, “We cannot allow it to be said that the difference between those who lived and those who died” amounted to “nothing more than poverty, age, or skin color.” Furthermore, as discussing as sad as it may seen, in the United States, poverty coincides with the concept of “non-white.” (Note: as a friend of mine reminded me through an email she forwarded, early Irish immigrants were, at one time, considered “non-white” as well as Italians and other immigrants. As difficult as it is for us to accept today, such was the case historically in the United States.)
Yet, that is exactly what is happening. Certainly not every citizen left there was poor and/or “not-white,” (I saw an interview with some vacationers from Scotland who arrived the day of the storm and has been stuck there ever since) but the majority, those who had no means to allow them to evacuate, were.
Why? What is so damned wrong with us as a people that we continue to think and act, if not outwardly than inwardly (we’ve learned to hold our tongues but not change our thinking), as if we live in the 1700-1900’s?
Again, I ask you dear reader, what is our responsibility to the so-called “least” in our society? I am reminded lately of Jonathan Swift’s 1729 sarcastic essay the
“Modest Proposal”. To start the essay out, Swift, in an almost academic tone, writes:
FOR PREVENTING THE CHILDREN OF POOR PEOPLE IN IRELAND FROM BEING A BURDEN TO THEIR PARENTS OR COUNTRY, AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE PUBLIC
Next, Swift goes on to make an outrageous suggestion:
I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
Nobody back then (including Mr. Swift) and No One today is suggesting we eat our poor. And yet, this sarcastic and poignant piece by Swift captures the overall attitude we often hold toward the poor in our society: “They are a Burdon, they take up good land, they are the uneducated masses, the barbarians,” and so on and so on. How easily we forget that they, we, are all humans . . . period. And that by a simple bad turn, a momentary disaster, we all could end up in poverty. It takes but a blink. How will we feel once we too are seen as “disposable”?
Finally, I want to end this post with some question I have for our government, questions that many have right now and that no new
“PR” can really change:
There is nothing more disgusting, in my opinion, than watching G.W. Bush trying to appear as if he was riding into New Orleans on the mythical white horse, carrying in tow emergency supplies that should have been sent day’s ago.
What is this crap? Was this planned because, in all honesty, I cannot see how it wasn’t planned? Were you only thinking about your falling approval rate? Tell me goddamn it! And I don’t want to hear that its “hard work” again. No shit it’s hard work asshole. But you wanted it–you asked for it–you stole it. Did you really think that you, unlike all the other presidents in history, would not age one damn bit doing the job you so wanted?
And why the hell did the US Government not allow Red Cross to go into the areas effected initially? What is hell is this? Explain it to me, please, I am angry but I want to understand.
On the Mike Malloy show of Air American I heard this little bit of information Friday night.
And I keep hearing that this isn’t a good time for finger pointing—we must save that for later. That is fucking bullshit. There was never a better time for finger pointing than now. Finger pointing does not mean, or equate, doing nothing to help. We are a multi-tasking country, lets multi-task. The “powers-that-be” want you to ignore the real problem here and, instead, only deal with the fall out. They hope you will forget who is at fault. Don’t let them pull this rhetorical shit on you. Finger point and work. And finally let’s look at the real problem—the war that should be declared on poverty here in the United States.
Oh, I wanted to than the commenter from my last post, dear Emily—was that you? Your points are well taken and appreciated. R-