Tuesday, November 18, 2008
What about America’s poor?
It is not unusual for the poor to be forgotten. They are easy to forget. We rarely see them, purposely. We definitely don’t have long drawn out conversations about America’s throwaways. Why would we? We would be forced then to address their issues. Issues that those of us are either unwilling to revisit because we were once among the poor class (too snooty to even think about where we use to be) or we understand that if there is an effective governmental emphasis placed on the destitute there may be a REAL discussion about Socialism: Redistributing wealth and income. Are you willing to give up some of your riches so that the homeless can eat?
Last week I was reminded of my childhood and college poverty all in the same day. Fortunately, the career path that I have taken keeps me connected to the disenfranchised. Nonetheless, I must honestly admit that I have wanted to pretty much mind-block my former poverty timeframes and evade the life of the poor. Why would I want to intermittently think about having to share pieces of cheap soap with my former roommate, Johnny High? Why would I want to face poor people with varying complex issues? My answer to both questions has been the same for the past 10 years: To keep me unpretentious.
Throughout a two year long presidential campaign only two men mentioned poor people, Bob Barr and Dennis Kucinich. Primarily, all I heard from those with enough campaign finances to highjack our emotions were statements pertaining to “the middle class” and “those on Main Street”.
Tavis Smiley, the man black America threw to the wolves just because he challenged The Golden Boy (Obama), touched my conscious Sunday morning while he was a guest on Meet the Press. He said, “All this talk about Main Street America…What about the Americans on the side streets? Those streets we avoid. The streets that prompts us to take another route in our Infiniti’s just because we cannot stand to see the bowls of America.”
I thank Tavis because he was the only member of the press who stood-up for the men and women who just lost their DHL jobs in Ohio. He was the man who once again challenged us to see past our small comfortable worlds. I wonder if the plethora of talk show host will cast him away for bringing forth the truth. For addressing America’s dirty little secret: Poverty among the working poor has been forgotten!
As we go back to normalcy since the charade (the election) is over, I want to challenge each of us (including myself) not to forget where we came from, that’s if you grew-up poor or within ten miles of an urban/rural center that was considered financially downtrodden. I want us not to forget that the attempts to eradicate poverty have been an ongoing battle in the United States of America with NO success. Not sure what the problem is – but for some reason we just can’t eliminate what the poorest of the poor have to endure on the daily: malnourishment, unemployment, paid day loan scams, substandard childcare, Rent-A-Center interest rates, and pawn shop hocking.
Keeping the poor poor may be intentional. What say you?
Written by a man who grew-up on a side street and who is not too proud to admit that if he misses a pay day he is headed to the POOR HOUSE. Inspired by Mr. Tavis Smiley. Black America owes him an apology!