Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My little rant--Being better than Africans is not Good Enough

It's great that we don't live in Libya or Sudan, but being better than third world countries is really not good enough. We need to beat Europe and Australian, and we certainly are not beating them now.

When a father of four has to drag his ass to the factory through his bout with gout because without the $10/hour, his family would starve, when a 25 year old is saddled with 75K in medical bills because an uninsured driver hit his wife who went into premature labor, and when black babies are twice as likely to die as white babies, it means that too many people, arguably as much as 80% of the country, are living in a state of severe economic oppression.

It is a state of oppression that is not mirrored by the other first world countries because they have labor laws and health care laws that prevent those things from happening. The first two stories are from people that I know, and I could come up with a million more. Fortunately, I do not know any dead black babies, but considering that our infant mortality rate is already 30th in the world, I can't imagine how low the rank would be if we were to isolate black babies and consider them as their own country. It's nothing short of tragic.

When the bottom 80% of the population shares 7% of the wealth, it is a travesty, and when the top 1% has 43%, it is an injustice. I will never believe that they do 43% of the work or even 21% of it. Rather, they make the money, in a large part, by giving their employees low wages. Then, their employees are subsidized by the government which actually means that we are, once again, lining the pockets of the richest few citizens. Of course, this idea is not true in every case. Bill Gates, for example, pays his employees well, and I understand they have great benefits. The family that owns Walmart, on the other hand, pays their employees horribly and allows them to be insured out of state coffers. That issue aside, bank CEO's make more than the average American family in an hour or two. That should cause rioting in the street, but it won't until the TV's stop working and no one has gas to get to church. Because Jesus and reality TV are subduing the poor (for now).

It's time to reclaim this money, and although I don't think it's time to don guns and rob banks, it's certainly time to turn to collective action. Maybe I'm naive, but I still believe that our one source for acting collectively is through the government. Anyone who works in the government but runs for office while constantly decrying their efficacy is a fool. If they find it that useless, they should attempt to effect change through another venue.

Until we have labor rights and health care, we suck. I tell my kids all the time, "stop whining at least you're not in a war zone, sucking on dirt just to get a little moisture in your mouth." That works well as a response to stop their whining, but when traded as a reason to halt any ruminations about the need for serious change in this country, it falls short of the mark. Because, after I yell at my kids, they invariably go outside and trade fun stories with the other working class neighborhood kids about which side of their mouths they have to chew on because their parents can't afford to fix their teeth. Sorry, but that is freedom that I really don't need, and I don't need to live in a country that allows its citizens to be treated that way. But what do I know. Let's just cut education, become even more insular, and keep throwing money up to the top.

1 comment:

  1. Re this post: You are definitely preaching to the choir.

    Re your blog moniker: PLEASE tell me you are not referring to the dictionay definition of "minger"; if so, have you never looked at photos of yourself?!