Sunday, January 28, 2007

Or A (melting) Pot To Piss In

"The American poor are incomparably more lucky than those in Asia and Africa and the Middle East who die by the hundreds in the streets. The American poor live better than the average citizen in many an underdeveloped country. They are better off in important ways than the rich of a hundred years ago and royalty of the Dark Ages. But poverty is not measured by history. It is measured by the standards of a man's own community. If most of America is well-fed, the man who can't find three meals a day for his family is poor. If most of America has modern weather-proof housing, the man whose home is leaky and has no piped water is poor. If most of America has enough medical care to stay alive until age seventy, the man who can't afford to live beyond age fifty-five is poor. Such a man is poor statistically. But he is poor in a more damaging way; he is a failure in his neighbor's eye and in his own."

"In the Midst of Plenty: The Poor in America" by Ben H. Bagdikian

This is just one perspective among many, but I am touched by the undeniable truth of these lines:

"...poverty is not measured by history. It is measured by the standards of a man's own community.
...he is poor in a more damaging way; he is a failure in his neighbor's eye and in his own."

Not everyone can keep up with the Jonses. Not everyone even wants to. A poor person can feel like the richest muther around, so long as value is given to an affluence that isn't an inventory of material wealth.

9 comments:

steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

Another reason why I left this reponse to a comment you left on an older post-
KF- every time you say something you further prove that you are the smartest of the weirdest, which may make you the weirdest; I am not smart enough to solve this Equation. I need to do a blog about the Blogs that I have chosen to read. You are always interesting, not only for your answers, but for your Questions, and the intelligent randomness I find at Charm School. It allows me to suspend my disbelief for a moment.

Citizen H said...

I'm a voluntarily-unemployed full-time student, and I have never felt better, really. I was glad to get out of that rat race. It helps that years of military pay taught me how to make it on a shoestring budget.

My extracurricular activities are cheap too, only an occasional buck or two for a boat ramp or park fee.

Of course, it's only a matter of time before I've stretched my savings down to the last buck, and getting hit by that stupid, possibly-drunk driver the other night isn't helping.

At least I have resumes out for much better jobs than that stupid fuel-truck driver gig I was pulling for a while, for some God-unknown reason.

UF Mike said...

Why does failure have such a bad rap? Failure, to my way of thinking, is a sign of character.

kissyface said...

"there is no failure, there is only experience."
i don't know who said it, but they said it, so there.

Citizen H said...

Id depends on the nature of the failure. I'm not going to fault someone for making an effort.

To me, failure is standing by and doing nothing. When you think about it, that's the only way to be poor (materially and otherwise)in this country. To do nothing, idly watching the rest of the world pass one by, and opting out on new experiences. One doesn't have to go fast or slow, or far for that matter, one just has to get out there.

kissyface said...

true H, one must try, and really that's all we can ask of anyone. and it's imperative that we all try to help one another, as well.

so sorry about your recent accident. i posted a comment about it a couple of days ago, but it didn't take on your page. hmm. anyway, glad you are unhurt. or did you just not tell us? how's the back, that was a pretty big hit your little car took?

steve said...

What the Citizenn says is true, and I have been there, not doing; there are far worse things than being without money.

Citizen H said...

Back's fine. I only got a few minor cuts from the shower of broken glass that cascaded down the back of my neck when the rear windshield was blown out by the impact.I'm actually ashamed to be gratified that the white-trasher who hit me wasn't wearing her seatbelt and got busted up something hideous (a huge, livid bruise on her face and a cut lip). She was damned lucky that's all it was. If I hadn't just started a turn when I was hit it would have been worse (i.e. if I was still stopped, with my foot on the brake). She has a felony Fleeing the Scene rap to deal with now too, the genius.