Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How poor is poor? Do we, on line, really know what that means?

Last night I came across a blog that continues to haunt me. Writing of “these people need to have some self dependence” and “they can’t rely on the government” to take care of them. I read response after response agreeing, and the reference of “we must teach a man to fish” regarding self-sufficiency. Of course this is about the thousands of Katrina victims herded into the convention center and Superdome in New Orleans.

This dialogue has stayed with me today. And I’m disgusted by it. Those that didn’t leave New Orleans were the poor, mainly black population, without the means of transportation. And THEIR GOVERNMENT told them to go to the Superdome, and they would be helped. They believed their government. If they had the means to leave, don’t you think they would have? Self-sufficiency? What do the majority of us on-line know about being poor? Really know about what it means to be poor?

I read this , and I cried.


Anonymous said...

I think you really missed the point about "teaching a man to fish" in the blog you referenced. This did not appear to be written with accolades to the government nor was it a "put down" for the poor. THe government has failed in its attempt to elevate the poor people to a better state of self-reliance by "aiding and abetting" them with welfare checks. God did not create man to rely on anyone but ones self and God Almighty. We have fallen short in many areas, one that was commented on by another in that blog - that is taking God and prayer out of our schools. Taking God out of anywhere is asking for trouble - look at the state this country is in today!
The poor people of this country and this world need to be encouraged and taught to take care of themselves without relying on the government - period. Those who are self-reliant are paying the way for those who REFUSE to be.

LeLo in NoPo said...

I would differ greatly with your opinion about God: with all due respect to you and your religious beliefs, they are yours. Not mine. And not everyone elses. God does not belong in our schools nor in justification for government hypocrisy. There is something called seperation of church and state. But this is going down a different path, isn't it?

Back to the post. Did you read the link? What it means to be poor? The reality of this? Read it and then tell me about misunderstanding. Please.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, since you're going to drag God into this, perhaps you should review what Jesus said in Matthew 25:35,40. Here's a brief excerpt: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me...Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

It makes me so angry when people who claim they are religious (I'm not making any implications regarding your faith) pick and choose passages from the Bible or their faith to rationalize their less-than-Christian actions.

Besides, although I'm a Christian, I agree with Lelo; our government should not legislate faith. Even the most educated religious scholars can not agree on biblical interpretations so how can we expect our politicians to mandate our beliefs? And if that were to change, then government should not choose ala carte from the Bible to suit the whims of those in charge. Faith is all or nothing.

But as Lelo said, this is a whole 'nother subject.

Lelo, I think you're right that many people don't know what it means to be poor and to have no idea that life can be any different. John Scalzi's blog was a wonderful, although heartwrenching, read. Thanks for posting the link.


little sister said...

Wow! great post, lelo! I read the page about being poor, and I could relate to several things in it, having once been among the working poor. How easy it is to forget now that I'm comfortable. How embarrassingly easy to forget...

and thanks for the quote from Matthew 25:35,40, L.

And my two cents' worth is they never intended to help anyone at the Superdome. It was merely a tactic to round up 'those people' and make sure they were contained. Some Bible-thumpers around here are saying the citizens of New Orleans brought this on themselves because they allowed people to practice voodoo, etc., to which I reply, "oh, puh-leeeeeeeeeeze!"

Anonymous said...

Here's a question I'm throwing out to the cosmos - or to whoever is listening.

Why is it that those who think the government shouldn't be in the business of improving people's lives physically think that the government should be in the business of improving people's lives spiritually? Perhaps man does not live by bread alone but he does need the bread in order to live at all.

I don't get it. I really don't get it.

That may not be what the original anonymous poster meant but that's where I went with it.


little sister said...

L, I think that's a damn good question. And I'm guessing that whoever 'original anonymous' is, that person is one of those typical better-than-thou Christians who allow themselves to feel good because they look at what they have as results from their own accomplishments (i.e., I can accomplish something for myself but others /choose/ not to). They forget all accomplishments and the fruits thereof are gifts from God (or whatever you call your higher power).

Further, I've a question for original anonymous: Did you apply for and receive financial aid for college? Student financial aid is another form of welfare. I'm a proud recipient of such aiding and abetting, as it ultimately helped me learn skills to keep me from being as poor as I was before receiving such aid. My Ivy League educated daughter also was 'aided and abetted' and is now gainfully employed as a financial consultant, paying back her student loans and volunteering in local church and civic organizations. The government failed, you say?

geeekgirl said...

The scary thing is that so many of us have actually experienced things on that list.

We have big problems to deal with in this country and I don't want to hear one more person complain about the refugees coming to "their" neighborhood.

...Because even if it does pose a problem, it is our problem to deal with. Lets get these people help and quit ignoring them.

Ja'AmLo said...

anonymous - "Taking God out of anywhere is asking for trouble - look at the state this country is in today! "

The state of the country is the way it is because religion is being injected into our higher ranks. We are not all Christians, and should not be governed as such. If anything, religion need to be eliminated from all facets of government, as faith is a personal decision, not that of the masses.

Methinks you are in serious denial and have no grip on reality.

Anonymous said...

There is a fabulous quote in today's Parade magazine section of the paper that I just had to share. The quote comes from Fahimeh Moussavi-nejad, an Iranian who has opened a center for interreligious dialogue, which is amazing since Iran is the largest religious dictatorship in the world. "I believe that life will be better if we separate the spiritual aspects from the political. If you read history, whenever religion has been used as an instrument for government, the religion has been harmed. Religion is too important for a few men to destroy."

That's food for thought for those who feel we need to ignore the separation of church and state, for the supposed betterment of our country.

L said...

not to be little the lengthy comments but i will keep it simple...

no, we really don't know what it's like to be poor.

i'll take this with me today. ty.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we did get side-tracked...;-)

My first job after college paid so poorly that I qualified for HUD housing. Things were tough but somehow I got by. I was lucky. But I would not say that I was poor, especially not after reading John Scalzi's article.

I'm trying to find the positive in this disaster...maybe now that the existence of poverty in our country has come front and center, more people will be willing to help the needy beyond those affected by Katrina. We've got to improve conditions for everyone in this country. We are only as strong as our weakest link, which is pretty weak right now.