Affirming the Positive About the Poor…

Ya know, my intentions are good.  I want people to look at social class differences as cultural differences and the variations being equally valid ways of being rather than constantly trying to make the poor be middle or upper class and hating them for failing or intentionally or unintentionally deviating.   I want people to see all that there is to love about the poor.  The courage, the strength, the generosity, the goodness of the people.  But I hate the rich.  I can’t help it.  They hated me first.  I’m like a fat woman who becomes thin and is trying not to turn my back on my fat friends, or worse, try to conver them and blame them for their fatness.  Actually, I’m just more like a fat woman insisting the world love me as I am and consider me a legitimate variation from the norm that is incessantly projected at us 24/7.

I want middle and upper class people to admit that the “war on poverty” that has supposedly been this huge, expensive failure is in reality an ongoing war on the poor and they have no intention of ever getting any of us out of poverty because they NEED us to be poor so that they can be middle and upper class.  They champion the anomalies among us to show that their “programs” they get paid to invent and administer in the great “poverty industry” so they can continue getting funding to finance their social welfare professions.

Americans are descendants of the English and the English have always had the hierarchy of social classes only they don’t bother denying it like we do.  The rest of Europe is more egalitarian and just in the equitable distribution in their shared resources.

So where was I?  Obama got inaugurated today and nobody got shot.  So far.  I have been through so much and given up faith in so much that I don’t want to be fooled again.  Deep down I want to believe that a historic event like a black, male president will somehow make my life more free sickens me with terror.  Just as white women fought for the abolition of blacks and through their efforts achieved an amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing black men the right to vote long before realizing they themselves could not vote and thus organizing for suffrage, so Americans were more prepared for a black, male president than they were for a white, woman president.  I don’t have a whole lot in common with Hilary anyway and she does not represent my interests but then what president will?

I think we, the poor, are going to have to figure out that we are not terrible people, that we don’t deserve to be social pariahs, that we are not “parasites” on the so-called tax payers, and that women’s reproduction patterns are not a for-profit venture.  We have got to stop believing the “lies we live by”.  We have to come down off the cross and rise in a sea of righteous indignation and fight for the right to be who we are.  A lot of working poor that I know already feel good about themselves.  They take pride in working hard.  Most poor people I know blame themselves for their poverty.  They have internalized the lies.  The lies that we are poor because we are genetically inferior, of the wrong heredity, the wrong pedigree.  The lies that we are poor because we are wasteful or lazy or have the wrong priorities or are given to vices that make us poor and keep us down.  The truth is that poverty is not a moral issue and never has been.  It is a political issue.  The poor are mostly ethnic minorities, women, and children that are discriminated against and exploited by the dominant classes.  But to admit to being preyed on is harder than blaming one’s self.  Every abused child does it and that is why abuse is perpetuated rather than confronted so rarely.

So, who am I?  The self appointed moral outrage barometer?   Mrs. Moses leading her people not in circles but hopefully in upwardly mobile spirals?  Or just one candle flickering dangerously in the windy dark.  I don’t know.  I’m just a writer who wanted to be a scientist but mostly just wanted to be loved.  The choices I made in life that consistently led to my repeated downfall were all choices based on reaching out to be loved by those who cannot love because they are addicted, abusive or otherwise occupied.  So I am trying to love my self but I am finding it difficult because, god dammit, I’m poor.  And I’m scared.  I’m scared that our new president is going to take away the last vestiges of the shredded life boat I am desperately clinging to.  My mother tries to be optimistic.  She quotes the bible verse about God trying to give me “a future and a hope”.  Like Amy Grant sings, “I know it’s hard to see, the past and still believe, love will surely find a way…”

How can I ask a whole class of people to believe in their inherent goodness when I can’t even get the thorn out of my own aching, bleeding side? How can I ever tell the story of my strange and wonderful life if it is too depressing to acknowledge, much less reveal publicly?  Maybe I should just focus on the bus crash and the near-death experience and not talk about the horror of the politics of insurance and injustice and health care.

Yeah, right.

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~ by loriangray on January 21, 2009.

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