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The problem as I see it -- that I've been having -- is I merely say there are indeed people in the US living under these dreadful conditions. That it's not an insignificant number. That we ignore it. Very simple statements of fact, which have been established.
And then people drag in the statistics and say it's relative or we need some perspective. No. No we don't. We allow a certain segment of society to fend for themselves. We just flat out let it happen to women, to children, we don't care.
And that's not right. We need to admit it and deal with it. That kind of poverty exists here. It's not relative, it's extreme. It's not people thinking they're poor because they don't know any better, it's a life and death struggle. And we have the resources to fix it and we're not even trying. That's a political problem. To deny or minimize it -- to be politically narrow minded -- is one of the definitions of bigotry.
Now, I'm one of the ones saying this problem exists. I have never claimed 12 -20% live this way. I've just said many do and it's near impossible to get out of. I state simple facts and then have to defend them with descriptions -- do your friends not believe there are people starving and dying?
Because I think they do know this, but they say -- ohh, you mean the homeless, the ghettos, the immigrants, the underclass -- what does that imply to you? Because to me, it reeks of bigotry. "Those" people live in America. Those people are Americans. This problem exists in America. Yes, they're in "certain" areas, "certain" segments. But they are our people in our country and I'm sick of people acting as though they don't count.
Forget the statistics. Add up the population in our prisons. Add up the population in our inner cities. Add up the population in the fields. Add up the junkies and the whores. Add up the elderly who die from heat every summer and cold every winter because they can't afford utilities. Add up the homeless teenagers you can find in every city.
Add up the people in the Appalachians and the reservations. Add up the people still in tents from hurricanes in Florida last year. Add up the folks from Katrina. Add up the folks in the shelters and under bridges and on the streets. Add up everyone who dies every year from AIDS or from suicide, scraped off the street every year from killing frosts in New York to crushing heat in Arizona.
Add all those up and tell me how small that number is. Add it up and tell me my rhetoric is over the top.
Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
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