Friday, April 23, 2010
Recently, I entered a few comments on an online newspaper opinion page. I refuted arguments, tried to explain my position, remained civil, and attempted to take the opposing comments seriously as I responded. The result was that several people on the message board were actually taken aback and were admonishing people of their own party not to insult "the new liberal" because they finally had a courteous person to oppose. What does that say for regular, middle-class America?
Are we too caught up in the necessity of being right to consider another's opinion? What makes us believe that our own political beliefs are irrefutable and the other side is going to Hell? Seriously, why do we alienate hundreds of groups simply because we must be right?
It doesn't matter that we descended from immigrants--Mexican immigrants must go. It doesn't matter that there are many illegal immigrants from other countries--it's totally okay to institute a racist regime to potentially arrest every Mexican-looking human being. It doesn't matter that someone else's inborn sexuality is something they cannot help--you want your Bible to say it does, so they must be eradicated or educated out of their perversions. It doesn't matter that the glaciers and ice caps are melting and the sea level rising--the politicians who will supposedly save you the most money (!) say that's ridiculous, and you are happy to believe them. It doesn't matter that America has hundreds of thousands of people thrown into unemployment by this recent economic crash; no one who can't be bothered to get a job and help themselves should be allowed to take your tax dollars. Listen to yourselves!
The stock market crashes. Car plants close. Factories shut down. Businesses go into bankruptcy. Layoffs occur all over the country. Money has to be saved everywhere. Result--people lose their jobs. And you are telling these people that it's their fault they don't have a job? It's their fault that they can't support themselves? How do you know how hard people are trying to survive, to find a job? All you want to see is the homeless guy chugging vodka and spending his welfare check, because that is easy for you to see! That easily scorned picture means you don't have to help! YES, for God's sake, there are many people out there who find it easier to remain on welfare than to work. But there are thousands more who are trying every day to get a job, scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep their houses, there are some who are working two or three jobs to stay afloat, there are single mothers, single fathers--countless miserable situations that many people are trying to pull themselves out of! How dare you suggest that they aren't worthy of their country's help?
You are not alone. Without the well-being of this country, your life would be in the toilet. You don't know how to do anything without the success of the grocery store, the hardware store, the people who run your water, your plumbing, your electricity, who make your televisions and your clothes. Most of you can't make your own clothes and a great deal more don't know how to raise your own food. When this country tanks, so do you. When a young man with an IQ of 195 has to drop out of college because he doesn't have the money, you've lost an incredible asset to society and to your own life. It will be your fault when the potential discoverer of a cure for AIDS or cancer has to drop out of school and work three jobs because the family can't afford food or rent, or when that person has to die because her greedy insurance company doesn't want to spend the money on an experimental bone marrow treatment.
We are responsible for everyone in our society. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can quit this idiotic warring with everyone of a different opinion, religion, skin color, or origin. STOP IT. None of you have the right to condemn another human being to poverty.
Like it or not, our social structure benefits the rich, even in matters of success. Malcolm Gladwell wrote extensively about research done over a period of years on children with incredibly high IQs. The children who generally succeeded were the ones from well-to-do families. Why?
Rich kids have parents who are far more involved. They are told to do their homework, they are encouraged to speak up to authorities (this includes people like doctors), whereas poor children are generally ingrained with the idea of authority's power. They are taken to soccer practice, they can get tutors, they travel, and they're given far more opportunities. Poor kids very often have to take care of their education themselves, and they've got to battle against self-consciousness while trying to prove equality with the rich kids. This has nothing to do with skin color, nothing at all. It's simply an economic state of mind that people fall into. And this means that, when looking down on the poor, we're condemning kids for their grandparents' social positions.
We're interconnected, not just across the present world but across the past. Your ancestors made you who you are today. So open your eyes and help the struggling people who need just a leg up in order to become a person who can found a university, win your divorce case, or design your house better than anyone else could. It is everyone's fault that we have poverty. Stop pretending to be independent and claim your own responsibility.