[Marxism] The Mean Country

Intense Red intnsred at golgotha.net
Mon Oct 5 06:16:53 MDT 2009


The Mean Country
<http://open.salon.com/blog/david_cox/2009/10/01/the_mean_country>
By David Glenn Cox

Last winter I wrote a story about the number of people who were dying in 
house fires after having their utilities turned off. I began to do some 
research on the growing numbers of tent cities springing up across America. 
How, I wondered, will these people deal with the coming months of winter 
cold?

But, as I find is so often the case, I start off on one story and end up 
doing another. Officially there are over fourteen million unemployed in 
America. That is the official number that the politicians will own up to; 
in actuality the number could be as high as twenty million.

I have been unemployed myself for well over a year. I have twenty years of 
management experience, and I have a great track record with a proven record 
for results. However, I am over fifty years old and to prospective 
employers that is the kiss of death. They perceive you as about to keel 
over from a heart attack at any moment.

There are very few jobs to be had; the department of labor reports six 
people looking for every one job available. Because of the economy I became 
homeless and now live in a garage. I am not an alcoholic, and I’m not 
hooked on drugs. I’m just unemployed.

So as I began to research the tent cities across the country, what surprised 
me, although it really shouldn’t have, was the attitudes of my countrymen 
towards their fellow homeless Americans.

Several years ago I read a book about a woman who was a holocaust survivor. 
She described how she would drag out the dead bodies from the barracks in 
the morning so that she could have the corpse's clothing. She could then 
trade the clothing for extra food or necessities. She said something that 
has always stuck with me. “Many people gave up on life because this was a 
world where it was very easy to give up on life. When you gave up then you 
just died.”

When you are homeless it is very easy to give up on life. Every activity is 
an uphill struggle, cooking food, doing laundry, looking for work, etc. The 
industry in which I worked has virtually ceased to exist. Many unemployed 
workers were employed in industries that have now ceased to exist. Their 
jobs and careers are gone, and yet the public sneers, “Get a job.” They 
also offer up the following helpful solutions, direct quotes all.

“As others have said..does it really help the homeless by providing them 
with a free home? I bet not. There are other solutions. I notice that when 
I give things to my children it does not tend to make them more 
responsible.. Just the opposite.”

“I don’t know the actual number, but what, isn’t it like 70-80 percent of 
all homeless people have drug/addiction problems? Even if it’s less how is 
tent city doing anything but enabling this problem? I know this is more 
about tent cities in general but honestly giving someone a free place to 
live along with free meals is not really motivating them to change.”

“The poverty pimps will not allow the homeless to be housed without 24/7 
babysitting. Without the babysitting the homeless could move on with their 
live and thrive; NO MONEY IN THAT FOR THE POVERTY PIMPS!”

Homeless people are not children. For the most part they want the same 
things that any other citizen of this country wants.

In my two decades in management I have had to deal with employees with both 
drug and mental problems. Mental problems are sometimes masked by drug 
problems; just stopping the drugs does nothing to solve the emotional 
issues. It is not uncommon for a widower or a divorcee to struggle with 
depression and to then medicate themselves with drugs or alcohol. Why 
should it be so difficult to understand that a person who has lost 
everything they’ve owned and worked for to use the same treatment?

Many of these people have lost husbands, wives, and children. Why is it so 
hard to understand their pain? These people are not made of wood or stone; 
they are breakable. “Many people gave up on life because this was a world 
where it was very easy to give up on life.”

“You don't have to go beyond the first page of a Google search 
for "homelessness and criminal behavior" to find several links to studies, 
which find much higher rates of drug use, crime, and mental illness among 
the chronically homeless. It's sad, but some people are truly beyond 
saving.”

“I understand unemployment is up and some people have lost homes and need a 
hand to get back on their feet. These tent city's are not for these people. 
History shows that this is just a party camp for the homeless. Help the 
people who want to help themselves not the ones who just want a hand out to 
support their criminal activity.”

What is truly sad is how these people tend to view crime. They worry about 
the homeless man who might steal their purse but don’t give a thought to 
the corporate executives who might steal their pension. They want all drug 
abusers locked away in prison because they are beyond saving. Then they 
listen to and watch talk show hosts with long and chronic histories of drug 
abuse and bob their heads, agreeing in unison.

“If I lost my job and house, I would literally have 10 options as to where 
to stay til I got back on my feet. I understand I am lucky for having a 
good support system. But how does someone get to the point where there is 
not even a couch or friends garage they can crash in? the only answer I can 
come up with is Drugs. You guys can paint these people as business men down 
on their luck all you want, an it might be the case for a very tiny 
minority of them, but last I checked McDonald’s is still hiring.”

Almost ten million homes have been foreclosed on in the last three years. 
That means forty million Americans have been dispossessed. That number does 
not include renters who have also been evicted. So maybe these people are 
living with relatives but maybe the relatives also enforced 
conditions. “You can stay but that good for nothing husband or lazy, 
fat-ass wife can’t!” Take your choice, live with mom and dad by yourself? 
Or live in the street with your spouse? If children are involved what real 
choice is there?

As I peruse the want ads each day, I see many jobs that literally don’t pay 
enough money to keep the lights on. I had written about the job offered by 
the storage facility. Be available 24/7 to do sales, bookkeeping, 
maintenance and janitorial work at any facility in Atlanta. $300 per week, 
no mileage, no gas money, no benefits, no promise of steady work. I read an 
ad yesterday to rewrite 400-word articles for five dollars each. I thought 
to myself that at ten or twelve thousand words a day I could make a decent 
living. McDonalds and many large corporations take applications to keep a 
current stock of applicants on hand, but it doesn’t mean that they are 
hiring.

When Chrysler went through its recent bankruptcy I read about thousands in 
Chrysler management who had been permanently laid off. Most had worked 
their entire adult lives in the automobile industry, and I thought, "Where 
will these people find new jobs?" The problem is not drugs or alcoholism or 
even homelessness; the problem is jobs. Strange, isn’t it, that when 
America had a strong manufacturing base and a strong job market that we had 
few so-called defective people.

I live in the South and there are a great many literal Biblical believers 
who take the Bible at face value. I’ve always tended to view it in the same 
way as the Old Testament was written, in the form of parables. The stories 
are told in a way to make us see ourselves in them. Why else would they 
dwell on Christ’s long walk to Calvary? Dragging his cross, an innocent man 
convicted by society. As the onlookers heckle and throw things at him, 
mocking his burden, only one of the multitude stopped to offer him any 
kindness or assistance.

As Lenny Bruce said, “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic 
school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks 
instead of crosses.” This is a mean country that calls the victims 
criminals and the criminals innocents. So I’ve stopped worrying about the 
coldness of winter, as it will never blow colder than an American’s heart.


-- 
Fast fact: Since the mid-1970s, the richest one percent of households have 
doubled their percentage of the US national wealth. As the 2nd richest man 
in the world, Warren Buffet, bluntly said, "If[sic] class warfare is being 
waged in America, my class is clearly winning."




More information about the Marxism mailing list