Last Week when our main stream media made a big to do about the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the “War On Poverty” they gave plenty of time for Republicans to strut in front of cameras across the country proudly declaring that poverty had not been beaten. AND THEY WERE PROUD OF IT!
For the life of me I can not understand why making sure that some segment of our fellow citizens live in poverty and squalor is a badge of honor for the Republican Party. Not only today’s Republican Party, but that of the 60s to 90s when there were some Republicans with less than cold hearts. To see today’s Republican cheer and work for the misfortune of others is pretty much standard fair, so seeing them cheer for the failure of the War On Poverty is expected.
Why does someone in a position of power want to see others suffer? Why do they want to destroy the lives of children they have never met or will never meet? Why is it so important to demonstrate such a dominance over certain sectors of our society? It is as if they enjoy seeing people suffer.
Not everyone is born with a portfolio. Not everyone has the talent to run their own business. In my working days my employer had a big push on leadership. They hyped leadership on everything. Soon we had workers who were so infused with the concept of being leaders we could no longer find someone to sweep the floor or clean the bathrooms. Sweeping floors and cleaning bathrooms are among the most basic and necessary work. People who do these jobs deserve just as much respect and decent pay as anyone else.
This 50th anniversary should be a time that we survey the landscape and resolve to balance things out a bit. We are without a doubt the richest country that has ever existed. We have more than enough resources in this country to give every citizen medical care. We have more than enough money to give every citizen a minimum standard of living. There is work in this country that needs to be done that would easily employ all Americans. What is wrong with having medical care, a decent standard of living and work for all citizens as goals?
On his program Thom Hartmann noted that the average American family will pay $6,000 in subsidies to American corporations. The billions that go to families named Walton, Mars, Pritzker, DeVos, Buffet, Gates, Koch need to be redirected to make life better for all.
So why the Republicans want to drive poor families further into despair and create conditions such that even more families will join them is at best despicable. Add in that much of this is focusing on race and single mothers and you have a situation that is just about as low as a human can crawl.
The unemployment situation, the cutting of aid, the cutting of food supplements, the cutting of jobs are all the result of Republican policies. It is time for Democrats to step up and turn these policies on their heads. And it is time for the electorate to go to the poll and reject outright those who are members of a group or party that would enact such scurrilous laws.
Salon has a very interesting interview with Frances Fox Pivens. The very mention of her name throws Fox into a tizzy. Ms. Pivens also supports an uprising among those affected. I recommend taking a few minutes to read this interview. Here is a short excerpt to get a flavor:
How do you believe that can be turned around?
Well, I think what would really help is what helped in the 1960s and helped in the 1930s, which is the mobilization of the poor themselves.
Poverty policy, policy initiatives in the United States that come from on high, have never been as effective as the threat posed by the mobilized poor. And that’s what happened in the 1930s. It’s what happened in the 1960s. We didn’t get a War on Poverty because of the activity of left-liberal policy wonks in Washington. We got it because [of] the combination of the civil rights movements and the economic rights movement that was emerging in the Northern cities among African-Americans and Hispanics. Those movements forced responses, because they threatened, really, ungovernability in American cities.
And without that, the liberal-left — what people would call progressive, the NGOs, even the labor leadership — will not be enough to either halt the assault — on food stamps now, on unemployment insurance — or reverse. Which is what we really need to do.