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Conditioned to Hate the Poor

Nov 9, 2008
Michael Hogan

We all know the president and congress pass laws that benefit the super wealthy and mega corporations. That\'s there job and it\'s hard work. The president never tires of telling us how hard he works. The president, senators and congressmen are there to take phone calls from lobbyists who work hard on behalf of the super rich and monopolies. So, the system is working like a well oiled wheel.

But what about the middle class? They are thrown the bone of recognition. That is, when one watches TV, the talking heads are always concerned about the plight of the middle class. In fact, some talking heads claim there is a war on the middle class. However, nothing can be done because government officials have there plate full taking care of the super wealthy. The middle class understand.

The poor and working class are unseen and unheard. However, the poor and working class are described in mass media as unmotivated criminals who could educate themselves and work hard to be successful, but choose not to. This has been the social narrative or paradigmn for at least 30 years. Simple minded Americans repeat the narrative without an iota of compassion. When I say simple minded, what do I mean?

All Americans I met along the way have been conditioned to accept the poor are unmotivated bums theory of society. Please allow me assure readers that none of the social sciences supports the American narrative that the poor are bums. Yet, all Americans I have met believe we are all living on a level playing field in a meritocracy. How do Americans do it? How can we so easily deny the obvious?

Who are the super rich? Did they work their way up from poverty? While there are annectdotes (stories) about folks who worked their way from poverty to plenty, sociologists tell us that the super wealthy as a class generally inherit their wealth. In fact, sociologists know that wealth at all classes of society is generally inherited. That fact alone eliminates the illusion of society as a level playing field. The Americans I met in life never made any allowances for those poor among us who are children (over half of the poor are children), disabled or unemployed. The Americans I met thought that anyone can get a job at any time. In a sense it\'s true. When the American steel industry was destroyed by foreign competition in the 1970\'s, the men making $35/hr has no problem finding work at McDonalds for $5/hr.

As the middle class continues to disappear in such social adjustments, they join the ranks of the working class and the poor. There is little actual difference today between the working class and the poor. As this happens the formerly middle class soon observe there is little affordable housing, virtually no efficient public transportation and no medical insurance. These are the 3 pillars of a life without fear and want. All 3 are available in every country of western europe.

When the formerly middle class was still middle class, it was their position that the poor and working claas don\'t deserve help because they are bums and even if the poor weren\'t bums, it would cost to much  in increased taxes to help the bums. Americans would often complain about the high taxes in european countries. Yet, I never met an American who understood American taxes are low because we borrow the rest to run the show - from our bankers: China, Japan & Europe. The American middle class has beed conned into leaving their children a legacy of debt and concommitant weakness.

While the American middle class were never willing to spend money on themselves, they were always ever egar to follow any tyrant into costly wars. How much affordable housing, public transportation, education and health care could have been bought with the money stolen in Iraq? As the formerly middle class become the new poor, the transition will be a shock. The formerly middle class will be required to hate themselves. The American social narative will remain the same: the poor are lazy bums.

Will America\'s social narrative ever change? No! The super rich are Big Brother. Their social narative or paradigm is the only one you will ever hear in America. Are there other social naratives available to us? Yes! Historians will tell you there were social thinkers long ago who had a different view of the world in which we live. In general, the alternate view is that the rich steal from the poor and use governments to do so.
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