(I wasn’t planning on posting today, but I felt like this hit piece required a response. My progressive American brothers and i can throw punches at each other in our backyard all we want. We’re family – but if someone else from out of the neighborhood thinks they can join our fight, they’re seriously mistaken.)
So I’m perusing my favorite online News source – https://www.realclearpolitics.com/ – when I stumble across this article (https://www.theguardian.com/…/america-extreme-poverty-un-sp…) “Welcome to America, Land of Poverty” written by an Englishman, Ed Pilkington, for The Guardian newpaper, a large British daily with a decidedly Progressive bent.
The primary reason I visit the RealClearPolitics website is because they typically link to news articles and editorials that support both sides of a given topic or issue. I’m a Conservative, but I routinely hold my beliefs against the mirror of Liberal/Progressivism to re-enforce my own views and to try and understand the competing views of others.
It was with this sense open-mindedness that I began to read the article, but the more I read it the angrier I became. I have a very high boiling point (as anyone who knows me will tell you) but it didn’t take me long to reach it while I read this.
The article details the travels of one Phillip Alstan, an Australian Professor – an Academic – to various locales in the United States in search of extreme poverty. Mr. Alstan has this very important title: United Nations Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.
First off, why the hell do I give a shit what some AusComSoc (Australian Communist Socialist) working for the failed United Nations has to say about poverty in America! As for The Guardian and Ed Pilkington, perhaps they need reminded we kicked them and their Lords and Earls and Kings out of our house – twice! Remember the Revolution and The War of 1812? And if it weren’t for us (U.S) they’d be wearing Lederhosen and swilling a hearty Hefeweissen while singing German drinking songs praising Der Fuhrer.
I’m going to get a little ahead of myself here but a persistent theme of this article is the failure of Capitalism to provide for the welfare of its citizens.
Really? Perhaps these “Gentleman” should open up their History textbooks and read about Lend/Lease and the Marshall Plan. It was the powerful engine of American Capitalism that provided the English and the Allies the weapons and resources needed to combat Nazi aggression, and it was American Capitalism that provided the financial resources to rebuild a war-torn Europe – England included. I don’t remember hearing any complaints from the Brits then about the evils of Capitalism.
Anyway, Mr. Alstan’s “mission” is to explore extreme poverty in America – so guess where he goes to find it?
The writer accompanying him calls the homeless encampments of Skid Row – literally in the shadows of LA’s gleaming skyscrapers – “A nightmare in plain view, in the City of Dreams.”
I am as shocked as the writer. My understanding has been for some time that California is a People’s Utopia where the high taxes paid by its citizens ensured a minimum standard of government subsidized living. How can this be?
After all, Democrats have had control of the Governorship and both chambers of the state Senate for quite a few years, and for eight years, a President who shared their governing principles. Shouldn’t all of these problems have been solved by compassionate liberalism? Free housing? Check. Free Food? Check. Free Healthcare? Check. Progressivism is the cure for all that ails us, isn’t it?
And how is it that Liberal Hollywood can see this happening in their own backyard with their own eyes and do nothing about it? I don’t get it – unless they can’t see these people from over the tops of their gated Bel Air mansions.
Generous in theory – but not in practice.
Two homeless people are interviewed for the article, a man and a woman, and their stories are tragic and compelling, but the author glides over the main cause of their homelessness: Drug abuse. She lost her child to the State because of her addiction; and he became homeless because he violated his parole by failing drug tests.
Does Mr. Alstan believe that any of the homeless have any personal responsibility for their condition?
I was also stunned to read that more than 500 anti-homeless laws have been passed in California in recent years. How can people who are so “woke” be so insensitive to the plight of the suffering?
At least one group in California is not so heartless. At St. Boniface Catholic Church, in San Francisco, more than “70 homeless people were quietly sleeping in pews at the back of the Church, as they are allowed to do every weekday morning,” according to the reporter. “The Church welcomes them as part of the Catholic concept of extending the helping hand.”
I’ve no doubts that if Mr. Alstan and his tag-along reporter had visited more churches and places of worship they would have discovered that most – probably all – have charitable outreach programs that serve the poor, the hungry and the homeless to help ameliorate some of their suffering.
In the continuing Progressive effort to blame ALL of societies ills on Conservatism generally – and Republicans specifically – the author lambastes the new secretary of The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, for “decimating government spending on affordable housing.” Mr. Carson has been the director of this Department for less than one year. The homeless of California have been sleeping in tents and boxes on streets and in city parks for much longer than Mr. Carson’s tenure. (Where was the former President and his HUD team back then?) How is Mr. Carson, or President Trump, responsible for this problem? Does the author expect anyone to believe that this is solely a Federal problem and that the State of California has absolutely no ownership of this issue? It’s this type of willful ideological stupidity that pisses me off. I’m willing to have a rational, solution –based discussion about this issue, or any other, with anyone (re:American) – as long as both sides agree they are complicit in the problem’s creation. Let’s point fingers later – but let’s work together now to solve the problem.
To that end, I will thank the author and the envoy for bringing to my attention a very troubling story about the lack of effective waste management in Lowndes County, Alabama. Apparently this is historically one of the poorest counties in all of America. It has a predominantly Black population whose average median income as of 2015 was $25,876. I’m not going to relate the details (please read the full article) but they conclude that the reason this is still an issue is purely racism. Perhaps there’s an element of that – and if there is it makes me sick – but there are a couple of other factors involved; poor soil conditions for the effective use and maintenance of septic systems, and the extreme cost of septic systems as a proportion of these people’s meager incomes.
I share their dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, and wonder why previous government leaders – from both sides of the aisle – haven’t worked harder to solve this problem. Our American brothers and sisters deserve better than this.
FYI: If you wish to contact the Alabama State Representative for District 23, which includes Lowndes County, here is the contact info:
Name: Hank Sanders, Democrat
Phone: (334) 242-7860
Street: 11 South Union Street
Office: Suite 736
Email: None provided
Lastly, these two visit the island of Puerto Rico, which most of you readers probably know was recently devastated by Hurricane Maria. Mr. Alstan is quick to suggest that all of Puerto Rico’s ills, pre- and post-Hurricane are a direct result of oppressive American colonialism. Fucking Really! These two citizen’s of the Realm, products of the world’s most pervasive Colonial power – do they remember how the sun never set on the British Empire? – they’re going to lecture us about Colonialism. The unbelievable nerve of these guys! The people of Puerto Rico have been clamoring to become an official State of the Union for as long as I can remember. Perhaps Mr. Alstan attributes that to some sort of collective Stockholm Syndrome on the part of the Puerto Rican people.
As a measure of where the hearts of the Puerto Rican people are, Mr. Alstan and Mr. Pilkington, you state that “almost 200,000 have packed their bags and quit for Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.”
I have a question: If the America you describe in this article is as terrible a place as you say it is, why are these people fleeing to the United States? Why aren’t they fleeing to the socialist paradises of England and Australia where you two hail from? I’d really like to know.
I suppose the answer is because the America you describe in your brief little foray here isn’t the America real Americans live in. We acknowledge our challenges and we do the best we can to work them out.
Here’s another little FYI for you two: American’s are the most charitable people on Earth.
When natural disasters strike anywhere in the world, who’s the first to respond? The Russians? The Chinese? The Indians? Zimbabweans? Chileans? Japanese? Bulgarians?
You two “gentlemen” know the answer.
It’s the Americans.
I’ll tell you why.
Because that’s who we are. We don’t do it for political or financial gain. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.
If you two think you can come into our house and talk shit about our American family, you’ve got another thing coming:
(Yeah, I know. Judas Priest is a British band, but I really do love the Brits and the Aussies – at least the non-communist ones.)
So as far as I’m concerned, you two can GTFO!
Or, translated into a language you can understand:
Piss off, you Wankers!
(ps: on your airplane (Boeing) flight home enjoy perusing the Internet (MIT/Stanford/US DoD) on your Apple phone or laptop (Jobs and Wozniak) while using Microsoft Windows (Bill Gates) – all brought to you courtesy of American Capitalism).
**Originally Posted on 16 Dec 2017**