Tag Archives: progressives

Mispauperism, Right and Left

Update: I haven’t been keeping up with my blog.  I haven’t posted since I got out of the last long hospital admission I had in October, 2016.  Much of my absence is due to attempts to control my symptoms and possibly get a proper diagnosis, with limited success.  Some of it was just plan “bleh” due to the election that the Republicans stole.  At any rate, I will be writing weekly again.  Publishing early this week because I have more tests for pheochromocytoma again tomorrow.

I made up that word, “mispauperism”.  It means “hatred of the poor”.  I wasn’t able to find out if there is an actual word for this, and I invite any readers to let me know if there is.

There are multiple reasons to be concerned or downright scared of the political climate in this country right now.  To me, it’s different only in that it’s more visible than it’s been in a long time. Things that people used to say and do behind closed doors in public and private offices are now proudly being loudly proclaimed by our illegitimate president, his henchmen, most Republicans, and fascists/white supremacists/Christofascists.

You guys know that, though.  You pay attention.  You speak out and you demonstrate, write your congress people, sign petitions, vote, and so on.

What I want to write about today fits in with the theme of my blog, which is “what it’s like to live in poverty”.    I hesitated about this topic today, because I really don’t want to come down too harshly on anyone on “the left” (being a leftist myself and all) – now, more than ever, is a time for unity.

HOWEVER, having been nearly banned from the Raw Story comments section, and having people jump down my throat on other “left-wing” sites’ comments sections,  I want to address this.

We all know the right hates the poor.  From Libertarians to Republicans, there is a deep-seated mindset that people are poor because we are lazy, stupid, uneducated, and addicts/alcoholics. It’s our fault.  No one should help us because that’s just taking money from hardworking people and giving it to us, so we can buy iPhones, big cars, lobster and steak, and our drugs of choice.

Ok, done with them.  I have written about this extensively in my blog already.

What some of us don’t realize, or won’t admit, is that many on the left hate the poor, too. It seems to be on a continuum, though, because the farther left you go, the more compassion you find towards us.  This is where you find real community organizers, ones who come to our neighborhoods and help us lead our own mass actions and what-not.   They are from all kinds of cultural and racial backgrounds.

Nope, this hatred comes from white liberals and white “intellectuals” – strictly middle to upper middle class white “progressives”.

I am not going to give the standard disclaimer of “not all white people”, because if you are getting all defensive….well, I don’t care, actually.  If you don’t hate the poor then you won’t object to what I am writing.  If you do, you’re probably one of the people I am writing about.  And what I write won’t change your mind.  Also, if you hate the poor, you are not one of my friends or one of my family members, so again, I don’t care.

What got me started with all this was the media and the comments sections categorizing 45 supporters as toothless, uneducated rednecks who were virulently racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic and so on.  They think that all 45 supporters are on Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, and SSI/SSDI (or “welfare”, as they ignorantly call it, not being aware that there is very little “welfare” as they heard of it – being middle to upper middle class and all, they don’t keep up with those things).

They think that all 45 supporters live in red states, as if not one single person in blue states voted for 45 – or that no one voted for Democrats in red states.  Even if those of us did vote for Hillary and we live in red states, well it’s our fault anyway because there weren’t enough of us.

And the kicker?  The “progressives” opined that every single poor person should lose their healthcare and die, because “they all voted for 45”.  Those inbred, genetically inferior (yes, they really do write that) yahoos who live so far into the country they have to pipe in sunshine – which is paid for by precious folks’ middle to upper middle class tax dollars, or something – are all “typical Trump voters”.

I thought, “Well, ok, these are supposed to be progressives, maybe they just don’t realize who 45 supporters really are – that the people who elected 45 are not the poor.”

So…I went researching.  And I found this:

The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data. That’s lower than the $91,000 median for Kasich voters. But it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both.

(“The Mythology of Trump’s ‘Working Class’ Support”, Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight website, 5/3/2016)

I have mentioned this on other blog posts, so it might not be new to many of you.

But, despite this oft-quoted and referenced source, and even some from other sources that say the same thing, the “progressives” didn’t believe it, wouldn’t accept it, and some even accused me of being a 45 supporter!

Even the Occupy Democrats told me to piss off, when I cited this and asked them to please stop publishing memes of hillbillies as the sole supporters of 45, because it wasn’t accurate and it contributed to hostility and fear of poor people at a time when we really need allies.

It defies logic.  Poor people make up 14% of the US population (“Basic Statistics”, Talk Poverty website).  Even if every single poor person voted, they wouldn’t make up even half of 45’s base.  But that assumes that there is no voter suppression, no gerrymandering, no economic barriers to voting, or the sense that no one gives a crap about the poor so why vote?  And it is backed up by research that poor people tend to vote for Democrats, when we do vote (“The Politics of Financial Insecurity”, Pew Research website, 1/8/2015).

So it’s not even statistically possible that the majority of 45 supporters are poor.

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Heart of Darkness: Not the Conrad Novel

Before I begin this latest blog rant, I want to reply to a question I received about my recommendations, which I write about at the end of each post.

I do provide links to news stories, products, movies, TV shows, etc that I recommend.  I do this so you can find them easily.  I have never, ever been paid to do this, nor do I receive any compensation for it. In fact, it hadn’t even entered my mind until someone emailed me to ask.

So, no, if you click on those links they won’t do anything but take you to a site related to whatever it is I am recommending. And if a link is broken, please feel free to tell me so I can delete it and/or put up a new one.

Right.  I think it’s obvious to my Facebook friends that I am in a fairly bad mood these days.  It’s because I am so tired of waiting for people to grow up or shut up.

Ever since Trump announced his candidacy, and continuing to this very day, a certain percentage of people have decided that all their little resentments that have built up through the years can now be fully expressed everywhere, and often.  Even if they didn’t vote for Trump and think that he’s an ignorant narcissist.

Some of the same prejudiced remarks Trumpites and Trump himself and incidentally most Republicans and some Democrats and definitely 3rd party people express are now leaking out amongst people who claim to be free of that kind of hate.

“People should lose their benefits because they voted Trump in”.   This assumes that most people who voted for Trump are poor.  As I pointed out in a previous blog post, the average salary of the average Trump supporter is $72,000.   These are not poor people, not by a long shot.

“The Republicans now will make poor people work instead of getting benefits.”  This is just plain stupid.  There has been a work requirement for people under 55 who are not out of work due to a disability for a long time.

Of course, I suppose they could be talking about single mothers with children, the oft-used target of mean and ignorant people everywhere.  I thought that way of thinking went out with the “welfare queen” crap that died out years ago.

People who I never would have thought would harbor such erroneous and hateful thinking have been surprising me at a fairly constant rate since I have gotten into checking Facebook again.  Some of them I just unfriended.  Others I just accused of being mean-spirited.

Finally, I just posted a status that called them all dickheads.

Look, how many of these people ever had to rely on social programs?  How many of them are white and male?  Why, especially now that we have an incompetent president-elect who has surrounded himself by barely-humans whose main delight in life is dismantling every entitlement program there is, are the attacks on the poor and people of color increasing?

Almost as bad are the “progressives” who feel the need to apologize to indigenous and other people while at the same time attempting to hijack the same peoples’ movements because they think they “know better”.

Or they think they need absolution for their guilt, which is a hell of a lot easier than looking inward at their own shit and being aware of how their privilege plays out in American society – which they do nothing about.

These are the same people who run “non-violent protest training” (can you see me rolling my eyes?), or who finance their “activism” so they can make claims, such as one white male environmentalist did, that they are the leadership of the battle over the pipeline at Standing Rock.  Oh, PLEASE.

Even on “Giving Tuesday”, when I posted a plea on Facebook for people to do just ONE kind act for someone who really needed it, I got 2 “likes” and a comment from a friend (who is also on disability) who told me to “not hold my breath” waiting for people to respond.

No one – not one person – related a kindness they had performed.  Uh, except for me, because I took my EBT card and bought *gasp* holiday candy to give out to others on the bus – because in this area, everyone who rides the bus is poor.  Wasn’t much but it was what I could do.

I state that not to brag, but to point out that NO ONE ELSE reported making any attempt to do something nice for someone else.

Thank you, you know who you are, for doing something nice for me.  Which I am still enjoying to this day.

Instead, there were the usual snarky remarks about poor people (but none about Black Lives Matter, because I unfriended everyone who would post “Blue Lives Matter, Too!” and other clueless remarks long ago), even wishes that we all would lose our benefits, and other equally repugnant thoughts.

There were – and still are – dire warnings about how this new administration is going to screw everyone over.  They’re right, the warnings are mostly accurate.  And I have no problem with people pouring out into the streets to protest Trump and his policies.  I think that’s a good thing.

But let’s not make a cottage industry about it, ok?  Why in hell does anyone need “training” for a demonstration (which probably at some point includes passing the hat)?  I was 14 when I was a marshall at a demonstration, which meant I (and many others) walked along the sides of the demonstration and told people to stop agitating.  IT’S EASY.  NO TRAINING REQUIRED.

I even saw a post from someone who insisted she needed training to make a banner!  What??? Get a sheet, get poster paint, write your slogan.  Again, something I did often as a teenager, no training required.

Does anyone doubt that people charge for trainings or t shirts or banners or whatever?  Or at the very least decide they need entertainment at a demonstration, of all places?  That’s rather self-centered and besides the point, don’t you think?

The exception in the past would probably be the first Earth Day, but that wasn’t promoted as a demonstration.

My point is this: try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, really do it.  Really think about what his/her life is like day-to-day, life that I continually try to illustrate for y’all so you can truly understand what it’s like to be poor and ill.

I am trying to grab you by the shirt collar and pull you up to force you to look, to see, to notice. Not so you can feel guilty and/or ask for forgiveness, but so you can DO SOMETHING.  It can be a small something, or a large something, I don’t care.  It just has to mean something to someone else, to make a dent in the horror of existence that is poverty/illness/bigotry.

You can empower others instead of trying to lead, especially if the struggle is not yours.  Even if you justify your attitude by saying something pithy like, “Clean water is everyone’s struggle”, you need to look inside yourself and ask yourself why you think indigenous people are incapable of leading their own struggle.  Hint: it’s a form of racism, sorry to break it to you.

Because if you cannot look inward, if you cannot examine your motives/attitudes, you are more of a hindrance than a help.  You are not only getting in your own way, in terms of personal growth, you’re getting in other peoples’ ways without even being aware of it.

My main work as a therapist was to promote awareness of self.  It’s really not even hard or painful, it’s just change.   It takes practice, every day.  But it becomes a part of you, like driving a car or other “automatic” behavior.

Then you can pass that skill on to others, by example or even by pushing a bit.  In that way, there eventually comes a cultural/political shift – you know, like the one that enabled President Obama to be elected twice.

But make no mistake, it wasn’t enough of a cultural/political shift so we could celebrate the demise of racism.  Oh no, the latest election should have taught you that, if you weren’t already aware that we don’t live in a “post-racial” world.

It was movement in the right direction.  Just treating people as if they are human, recognizing suffering and trying to relieve it when you can, and at the very least not causing further harm.

You know, acting like a caring, intelligent adult.  Easy.

Today’s weird news isn’t really weird, but I like Grumpy Cat, so…from the website SeattlePi, Grumpy Cat’s Top 10 Pet Peeves:

http://www.seattlepi.com/entertainment/article/Grumpy-Cat-counts-down-to-the-new-year-with-top-10632403.php

Today’s recommendation is for something you probably already watch: the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC.  I like her because she does her research, explains things in historical context, and often knows things no one else does (or at least she knows them first).

Be good.  Be kind.   “Life is real only then, when I am.” – Gurdjieff  (ask)