WARNING: May contain opinions
Each day as we tune in to our local, national or international news, we witness more and more stories of how the poor has become vulnerable to elimination as a group. In various ways, including the testing of new drugs in Africa, overcharging for water in India, pesticide fumigation in Ecuador, and eradication of those newly found living in poverty from their homes; poor people are being treated as separate from the majority. Wikipedia describes the poor as “living on the fringe of the social order,” so OCCUPY POVERTY, therefore, declares that the poor are becoming portrayed as a species unto themselves based on their class, economic, and far too often, mental deficiencies. This portrayal has caused them to be degraded to a position of endangerment.
In America, this class, social, and economic difference includes all ethnic and racial groups but is most vulnerable among inner city blacks and Hispanics, Native Americans on the reservation, and the whites of Appalachia. These three segments of our society are being hardest hit and abolished as outcasts from the rest of Americans. While in other parts of the world, war, health problems, pollution, water privatization, genetically modified and pesticide exposed food, abuse of the environment, destruction of homes and habitats, and contamination of water and ground water by big corporations are among those inhumane activities responsible for the destruction and death of thousands of humans, plants and animals.
Recognizing that some cuts to services and other entitlements to the poor in the U.S. may be understandable because everyone is feeling the pinch of tightening the economic belt, in many situations the shrinking of services to the poor seems to have a diabolic edge. For instance, requiring welfare recipients to only buy clothes from the thrift store, or ordering them for drug tests, or voting “to deny cash refunds under the child tax credit to those who file tax returns using “individual taxpayer identification number” issued by the IRS,” are recent ideas which have been considered by legislators.
Understandably, drug use is a serious problem, but punishing the children of drug abusers by putting more discriminatory demands on the parents like where to shop, group drug testing or denying “unauthorized immigrants” without social security the right to work, but not to collect credit they have earned, will only create more difficulty which will lead to more drugs and alcohol use, and thus more death. This strategy of increased stress will only cause the poor to find other means to support their needs or habits, which in turn will result in more crime, institutionalizations and victimization.
The plight of the poor is similar to the continuing problems for former black slaves in this country. Without financial and social assistance and support, most will be left without means of sustainability and have to fend for themselves. The majority, being un-or-undereducated and unskilled, will become predators on the haves rather than their current identity as preying on the system’s entitlement programs. This will lead to fear, more people arming themselves, and killings.
One result of cutting the income of the poor rarely considered is how it will affect their moral sensibilities. Many recipients are already being forced to become liars and thieves in order to obtain education for their children; public housing, food stamps, medical care, and any other available services. More are conflicted by their choices to marry or live in common law in order not to lose their benefits; some abort children they will not be able to support; others kill their young and themselves; thousands become addicts and alcoholics to deal with the pain of everyday life; innumerable ones commit child and spousal abuse out of desperation due to overbearing pressure.
Cuts in income and social programs and the elimination of support for people living in poverty may be the means to reduce the financial burden of the government, but for the future of those dependent on government hand-outs, there are serious reasons to consider the consequences of those cuts. Poor people are human beings who for whatever reason either choose to, or through no fault of their own, have no choice but to rely on entitlements.
Until we can get a grip on our responsibility to treat each other as human beings, and through common sense, education, training, and simple sharing of our humanity and compassion, the poor will continue to be endangered. According to Wikipedia, “…environmental groups and some governments are concerned with the extinction of species caused by humanity. … Humans can cause extinction of a species through overharvesting, pollution, habitat destruction, introduction of new predators and food competitors, overhunting and other influences.”
We are seeing all of the signs and activities which lead to extinction fostered on the poor. It is horrible to think that from among them there may be another Dr. King, or Gandhi, or Mother Teresa who will bring something awe inspiring to the world. From its ranks could be the discoverer of the cure for cancer, AIDS, or the simple cold. The value of each human is not determined by their circumstance of birth, but merely by the fact of their being alive. OCCUPY POVERTY stands in solidarity with OWS and the Occupy movement to bring attention to the plight of the poor, their human rights and all their needs, especially their survival and restoration to full citizenship and humanity.
Add a Comment