Blog Action Day this year is about Poverty. And how poignant it seems as the world is afraid of falling into a full depression. The last major one was almost 100 years ago. The majority of the world was out of work and most often, barely making ends meet. Today, we still see that. Many people go without food so they can have money for rent in housing conditions that are abhorrent. And those are the lucky ones. There are those .. well, I could go on. The reality is it exists. We cannot hide it and we cannot pretend it doesn’t exist. I see it when I travel and it’s been going on and getting worse of late. Traveling I get to see the communities that society tries to hide. Take a train somewhere rather than a plane. You’ll see the many not so great houses that abutt against the tracks and the make-shift homes that some create. I’ve met some on the streets who I’ve given $20 to so they could get a decent meal.
We don’t do enough to help those that are truly in need. We worry more about our own successes, our own ambition, our own power because we’re taught that we want to be like the “Jones”, we want to be rich, we want the next big toy. We have built this continent that only the rich and powerful deserve respect and admiration and that those that are not rich or wealthy are less than human. And if you are a citizen of either nation and happen to fit outside of the norm — transsexual — you are cast aside and left to wallow in whatever hole you find, as long as you don’t touch them. Because them don’t want the “stank” of the underclass on them. Them believe that it’s possible for anyone to succeed, but only if you fit them‘s vision of who anyone is.
Anyone is white, male, straight and preferably Christian. If any of those are violated then forget it. Deal with the system we’ve put in place to keep the likes of you away from us, the them. And that is one of the issues. The system in place is designed, unfortunately, to keep those that are living in poverty to stay there. The system is made up of more than government policies and departments. It includes the culture we have surrounding us. We have been conditioned to believe that we have to have the latest gadget to be part of them, we have to have the name brand clothes to be part of them, we have to look and act like them to be.. well.. you get the idea. Thing is, it has been setup for failure no matter one.
The recent financial crisis is a good example. The world went, Oh poor them! They are suffering so. Oh woe!
Ya, really? What about those that have been suffering for a long time, that only wanted even the simplest of dreams, of realities — to own their own homes? Heck, why are we tied down so much to property and the trading of it?
Poverty is defined as (by Princeton WordNet) “the state of having little or no money and few or no material possessions“. It is an absence of riches, basically. But the Western world sees poverty as more than that. It was interesting when looking for this definition that I found the following in Wikipedia’s entry: Poverty (also called penury) is deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens. It’s interesting to see how we view poverty.
We are deprived of the enjoyment of respect of fellow citizens.
That shouldn’t be part of poverty. Respect of fellow citizens should be a given, regardless of material status. We shouldn’t be treating those who are living below the standard of living with any less respect than anyone else. They deserve respect. They deserve to be treated like human beings, recognized. When a panhandler asks for money, ever ponder what it’d be like if it were you and the world ignored you? If it treated you like an inconvenience, an invisible? You may be thinking “Thank gawd it’s not me!”.
But it could be you. Perhaps it’s time to show a little respect to those who are just like you. Please make a donation to either Feeding America (US Food Bank service) or Daily Bread (Canadian one — please choose to have the donation go to food).
It could change someone’s life.