Don’t Kick a Dog When It’s Down

Some of us have been harder hit by Capitalism and flung further into poverty then some people in our very own families. When an entire family suffers, maybe they unite and struggle to survive as a team. Maybe they don’t and each battles for his or her own survival. I’m not sure because that’s not the way things are in my family. In my family, there is one person who really got sucker punched in the face and lost everything while the rest held on to their homes and bright, shiny new cars. One fell far and the rest continued their lives much as they were before the bubble burst. They may have lost some money but not enough to change their lifestyle at all. Maybe they had government jobs or wages that didn’t plummet and had also purchased their homes well before the lending crisis. Maybe they were just lucky. They slept peacefully in their cozy, king sized beds blissfully free from the persistent, nagging, gloomy thoughts many of us endure who are painfully aware that ahead is an uncertain and unstable future. 

So, that scenario can, of course, lead to countless different outcomes. There is one outcome that I suspect is quite prevalent however. That is the one where the folks relatively unscathed by the depression feel superior to the ones now captured in the relentless cycle of poverty. They feel that somehow it is their fault they are poor and should be made aware of their folly, for their own good. Surely, they must have made unwise decisions, spent frivolously, went down the wrong career path or “didn’t use” their college education. It’s impossible that other forces contributed. The world isn’t “out to get them”, so the blame sometimes gets placed upon the working poor individual. Repeatedly criticizing people and telling them it is their fault that they are now poverty stricken when the preponderance of evidence proves otherwise, that the government and corporations joined forces and declared an economic war on society, is the ultimate slap in the face and adds insult to injury. How many of you can relate with this scenario? 

I worked so hard, maintained two jobs simultaneously with powerful corporations, but it’s wasn’t enough. I still lost my house and eventually my jobs at both companies. Good bye health insurance. Good bye mediocre wages. Hello, slave wages and total absence of “affordable” health care.

If the working poor don’t experienve humiliation and shame within their own circle of family and friends, not to worry, society as a whole will send the message loud and clear. The media and the government, which is undeniably controlled by the evil and heartless 1%, excels at manipulating and distortion the public’s perception of reality. Years ago, the assault had begun and was overwhelmingly successful at planting an image of our nations welfare recipients and poverty stricken in the minds of the American public. The image depicted many welfare recipients as lazy, abusers of “the system” who lived life high on the hog at the tax payer’s expense. It is to the government’s and elite’s great advantage if we all believed that people receiving public assistance were enjoying life at our expense, cruising around in their BMW’s between appointments at the nail and hair salon, doing nothing to contribute to society. You see, if they were successful in their endeavor and the public disdainfully viewed them all as leeches, there would be no public outcry when slashed funding for social spending. Why “waste” the money hard working Americans paid for with their taxes? That wouldn’t benefit anyone but the greedy. They had a better idea: increase military spending to lead us to victory in our “War on Terror”. That sounds better then, let’s take from the poor and spend billions of dollars on our military fighting to benefit the elite and bring them more profit, in the trillions of dollars. When people are poor, tired, over worked, underpaid and barely able to think of anything beyond their own misery a state of apathy ensues. Hope for the future and the belief that we have the power to change anything slowly erodes away until all hope for a better future is extinguished. As for power, people born into poverty may never feel they have any power to change their own life much less our society as a whole. For people “new” to poverty, that illusion of power fades fast. 

The moral of my ramblings tonight is this: we have a suffered enough. The criminals controlling our government made sure of that. Is it morally just to inflict more pain upon one another? Isn’t it cruel to kick a dog when it’s down? WE ARE THE DOGS. We’re down, people. We have to stop kicking each other.