Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty - Blog Action Day 2008

"They" say you should write what you know. I can't say that I know poverty but poverty is the topic of Blog Action Day 2008 and so I'll try.

The closest I ever came to poverty was in 1982 when I fled from my ex-husband with my daughter and the $300 that I had squirreled away from the grocery money my ex doled out to me. Even then, though I had no money and no job, I had the support of my mother,SIL, brother, father, grandparents and BFD so I knew I'd be fine. I'd have a place to stay and food to eat. I had an education and a good work ethic. I was broke but I wasn't poor. And now, 26 years later, I have a good job, a house that's almost paid for, a daughter who is self-sufficient and, when the stock market recovers, a pleasant retirement on my horizon. And I still have family and friends I can count on. I'm blessed.

Some people are not so blessed. They don't have a place to stay or food to sustain them. They have no skills, no education and no support system. They depend on the kindness of strangers. Those of us who are blessed are the strangers who contribute to the support of those who have less. In a perfect world, we would all contribute what we feel is appropriate and that would be enough to help those who have nothing. Charitable donations would be sufficient to provide for those who can't provide for themselves.

Sadly, it doesn't work that way and so, together, as a government, we attempt to create a system that takes contributions from some of us and redistributes those contributions to others. We don't know the people our money goes to and unfortunately, with anonymity comes contempt. You can see that just by observing conversation on the internet. People insult each other and engage in hate speech they'd never use with their neighbors and friends. And when money is involved it becomes even more vicious. We're sure that other person doesn't "deserve" the money or is scamming us. They could work if they wanted to. We're giving them the money for food so how dare they buy Filet Mignon when we're eating pot roast. Negative feelings spawn resentment; those of us who have resent those who have not. We argue about who is deserving and who is not. One group says we should help everyone and one group says we shouldn't help anyone.

I don't have any answers, only observations. I can only imagine a world where everyone has the basics they need to survive; shelter, food and health care. Those are my basics. If every person had those basics, wouldn't it be great? Imagine.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
- John Lennon


kouji haiku said...

that's quite a story in the first paragraph. it's brilliant that you were able to carve out success for yourself. :)

saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it's great that you're participating. :)

Brian said...

I meant to say yesterday, Sue, very inspirational post. Literally--it inspired me to write my own longest post yet I think!

Like you say, having support around you is so important.