Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plight of the Poor and Working Poor

After I watch this video all I want to say is…SEE?! SEE?! Everybody wants to judge poor people's eating habits, savings practices, work ethic…that is…UNTIL YOU BECOME POOR!  Then rice-a-MSG-roni is fine, cause you're just trying to make it. "We have teenage jobs!" selling shoes and working at a bakery, "and we're trying to raise three kids. We're scared.  It's hard…sniff sniff. We've looked for jobs for TWO YEARS?! We don't know what we're going to do!"

I don't mean to be insensitive because it is hard.  It is depressing.  It IS frustrating.  It's not fair.  You DO work hard. You try to save money. You get as educated as best as you can.  BUT… poor, and the working poor, have been saying this - - FOR YEARS!!!  They have been having it hard for DECADES. No one has been listening and as a matter of fact, so far as some are concerned, all the problems they've been having are due to their lack of virtue, perseverance, and planning. 

But let's get this straight: the working poor can and does include some teachers, daycare workers and university professors. Yet for years there has been this cynical mantra in the public discourse that says, when you're part of the poor and working poor, you're just sucking at the addictive teat of government. Poor people can't make mistakes like everyone else.  Poor need to eat healthier meals and should work harder to feed their family fruits and vegetables rather than cheap sodas and boxed mac and cheese mixes.  Why don't poor people spend more time with their kids, making sure they do their homework and seeing to their needs rather than just letting them watch TV all the time. Children should be getting sleep, and not taken to work with their hard working parent at midnight, while they clean up someone's office building at 2am, because they have no one to watch them. (True story).  It's ALL their fault.  "Get it together, Poor People!" says the conventional wisdom of many.

Now that true middle and upper middle class people are joining the working poor due to the harsh economic realities of The Great Recession, they are beginning to understand.  When YOU become a part of the story, you find out that not having enough money in a very rich society is HELLA HARD! The poor are just like us, just slobs like all of us.  We are the poor, and the poor are us. They are no more or less virtuous, hard working or well meaning than anyone else.  They just don't have enough money! Now that some of you don't have enough cash, maybe you'll be a tad bit more understanding…

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