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Friday, February 5, 2010

Cultural Poverty

What is it about America that is so unaccepting of poverty?  Is the country such a competitavely based 'meritacracy' that it not only turns a blind eye, but actually shuns the poor - the 'losers'?  Is it only America?  Think of the concept of state assistance.  Does one on assistance share their plight with anyone, do they tell everyone about it?  Most people don't, culturally it is frowned upon.  Why must there be shame in this admonition?  Is it that American culture sees no reason or holds no compassion of the less fortunate, or do they see simply see it as 'their own fault'. 

If you tell someone that you are on food stamps or the like, the reaction is humbling - like you shoud be ashamed of being on them.  Does each and every person actually hold the keys to their own fate.  This is simply a falacy.  Look at today's systemic collapse.  There are simply no jobs.  The world economy is a mess, and it is a result of its own large-scale self.  Yet it is the individual selves throughout it that are truely suffering as there really is no support for them.  And the saddest thing about this suffering is that it is worst when they have to look culture in the eyes and act like there is something wrong with them.  This is wrong.  It should be the responsibility of a civilized society to look after and protect all of its citizens - after all, isn't the true measure of a 'civilization' how it treats its poor?  There should be no shame in taking assistance.  If life really is a team game, don't some players pick up the slack for other players that aren't at their best that day or are playing hurt?  The best teams have different players stepping up every night.  If one is off do you look at them like they are a pity case?  No, they contribute when they can and you respect them for it - at least good teams do this.  They win as a team and lose as a team.  But we are not a good team, we are a bickering, infighting, self obsessed group of individuals looking only to ourselves to make the final shot, to be the star. 

We should be proud of who we are, be proud that we have the courage to look society in the face and reject its stereotypes, rise above snide remarks and dirty looks.  Why can't we all look at each other as commonly human, commonly oriented, and on a common journey. 

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