I live in a sick, sick country

Okay, I’m taking a time-out from self-recriminations to be mad at my ridiculous country once again. Why, you may ask?

Well, I was poking around on CNN today after reading the breaking announcement about Sen. Kennedy’s brain tumor (and sending good thoughts to his family) when I came across this story.

I’m not really sure if I’ve read a worse piece of news than that this year. More upsetting even than the individual story that they focused on is the fact that the city of Santa Barbara has set aside 12 parking lots for homeless people to sleep in their cars.

Twelve.

I guess it’s cheaper than actually developing housing that’s affordable, though. Plus, the city gets the added bonus of looking busy at all hours of the day and night!

At the turn of the century, I worked for an organization that was organizing welfare mothers who were being moved from welfare to work. One of my responsibilities there was policy research, and I remember reading a study that someone had done (in the early 90s? not sure) about how the differences between the way that poverty is portrayed in the media during a recession (lots of ‘deserving poor,’ who tend to be white folks that lost a job and fell on hard times) versus the way it is portrayed in good economic times (lots of multi-generational ‘welfare queens’ who drive cadillacs and are black).

I’ve been noticing a lot of poor white folks in the news recently, is all I’m saying.

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May 20, 2008. politically motivated.

5 Comments

  1. Procrastamom replied:

    I find a lot of the comments on that story really sad, especially the ones blaming the homeless for their situations. You know, because there really is no recession taking place right now, oh look over there, something shiny! It hasn’t hit us in Canada yet, but the expectations are there.

  2. Narya replied:

    I like to ask people if they know what the federal poverty level is for one person. (I had to work with these numbers for work recently, which is the only reason I know.) Most people gasp when I tell them. Then I tell them that somewhere around 40% of people in this city live below 200% of the poverty level. Adds a different perspective.

  3. Anjali replied:

    Back in the day I worked with mothers on welfare, and in law school wrote a paper on stereotypes of welfare mothers. It is so disgusting how we not only treat by how we portray the poor.

  4. Marie-Anne replied:

    Our country has problems, but it isn’t as bad as some, and for that we should always be grateful. At least we weren’t born into a country with a dictatorship or no equal rights for women. Here, at least women actually have the choice to work, and the choice to drive a car… it’s not as sick as some, with honour killings and where people are murdered for having affairs. And if you have travelled to developing countries, that also changes your understanding of poverty – for example, in the developed world, for some, being poor means they have only 3 pairs of shoes, whereas in some countries, the poor have no shoes.

  5. Comfort Addict replied:

    Yes, it is a sick country, indeed. We don’t care about or care for those who aren’t affluent (they almost seem invisible). We don’t support single-payer health insurance even though it makes sense not only for general welfare but even business competitiveness. We don’t want to help our struggling citizens prosper even though that would help the standard of living for all.

    If the country were a person, it would need therapy and medication but it wouldn’t seek it because it’s in denial.

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