How Democrats Help The GOP Empower The Rich And Embalm The PoorAs the gay-marriage debate heads for another sound defeat in Washington, I got into an argument elsewhere with ReThugs and "politically correct" Democrats about this very gay-marriage issue as well as the issue of poverty. I noticed an interesting trend when both of these issues are debated in American political landscape: On the subject of poverty, rightwingers (and some middle/upper middle class Democrats) often cite third-world criteria (such as comparing African poverty to America poverty) in order to defend the notion that America's poor people are "living the high life", don't have it so bad, and their continued poorness is probably "their own fault" for either not prostrating themselves in front of the belligerent feet of Mammon, the great false Balaam of Capitalism (e.g. "our way of life") or not prostrating themselves in front of the belligerent feet of Jeeebus, the great false Balaam of Christian Fundamentalism. But when the subject turns away from poverty to gay marriage, suddenly using third-world criteria and comparisons is verbotten because "we're not supposed to take our cues from the Canucks and Spaniards!"
In other words, when dealing with American poor people not having their basic needs, wants, or desires, we're allowed to point to Africa as a means to justify that our poor people don't have it that bad, but when dealing with American gay people not having their basic needs, wants, or desires, we're suddenly not allowed to point to Canada and Spain's recent legalization of gay marriage to show that America is way behind the curve in championing civil/human rights. I caught unto this interesting kabuki dance and dared to ask the question that makes me a bad ol' dirty American that should be pumped full of liquid Thorizine, tossed into Club Gitmo, and waterboarded until the Rapture: WHY?!?!?
Resisting the urge to twist my scrawny, inquisitive neck, a well-healed "political correct" middle/upper middle class, "left of center" Democrat explained it to me:
... the short answer is that, in the 3rd world, poverty means you lack for basic material needs such as a place to live or food. In the US, poverty has no relation to the standard of living.
Where I come from, this explaination sounds like the perfect definition of a double-standard to me ... and I doubt I need three guesses who is responsible for pushing such a double-standard into wide acceptance: a hodge-podge of Capitalistic bureaucrats, pundits, and think tanks with a vested interest in "managing" the "perceptions" of middle class, upper-middle class, and rich Americans into feeling better (not thinking better; feel = emotion) about their own habitats and to continue to be self-asorbed in their EverQuest/WorldOfWarcraft fantasy-laden, reality-defunct lives.
Why? Simple: Fantasy is escapism; makes life appear cool and great. It's the only thing that can hold a monopoly on their otherwise short-as-the-wick-on-a-lady-finger attention spans. Escapism from what, though? Reality! Ewww. Not cool at all. Reality fuckin' bites. Hard. Wakes people up. Forces them to scrutinize their surroundings for truth. Makes them question things or even question everything ............ and we don't wanna deal with uber-logical assholes who pester us with their damndable pesky fuckin' questions, especially that mean ol' turban-wearing question of ... WHY?!??!
The well-healed liberal went on and started citing statistics:
...almost half of those living in poverty own their home, and the average size is 3 bedrooms. Only 6% live in overcrowded housing, and over 2/3's have more than 2 rooms per person. On average, they have more living space that the average person living in cities such as Paris and London. Almost all of them own a color TV and over half have at least 2. Over 75% have a DVD or VCR and over 60% have cable or satellite for their TVs.
All of that is something I read a few years back from The Heritage Foundation -- a think thank that has a vested interest in keeping the Capitalist corportocracy well greased (especially via advancing Conservative Republicanism) by feeding people propaganda that LOOKS good, FEELS good, SOUNDS good but is actually pretty goddamned far from BEING good.
The Heritage Foundation got this information by pouring over Census Data and let's be realistic here, folks: the Census people aren't going to be asking for reciepts. They're just going to look around, make check marks on their little forms, and thats about it. So, deconstructing all the above is pretty damned easy ...
... Almost half of those living in poverty own their home, and the average size is 3 bedrooms.
What kind of home? A home is a place, a setting, it's a state of mind. Doesn't actually have to be a tangible, physical structure made of brick, wood, or mortar. Could be metal, especially amongst people I've known who live in their CARS, for crying out loud. They've called it home and some would even point to every tree or bush in sight outside of the car and say, "Gotta choice of bathrooms" and then point to the back seat and both front bucket seats and say, "Them's my three bedrooms."
What kind of home? I've been in nice looking trailers and mobile homes that have 3 bedrooms. I've been inside run-down, ratty ass looking trailers, mobile homes, and converted pole barns that have 3 bedrooms. The fact that they own a home doesn't tell you about the quality of the home. It also doesn't tell you how did they get that home, too. Just because a poor person might OWN a home doesn't mean they actually BOUGHT it -- they could've inherited it, a compassionate successful American could've given it to them -- deed and all. They could've been renting from an elderly landlord with poor health where, upon his death, he either left to it them in his will or his family might have just said, "No since in uprooting you folks. Keep it, it's yours! We'll sell the old man's other property and move on with our lives." Simply saying "They own a home" doesn't tell the story on either the quality of the home nor how they actually got it.
Almost 75% own a car, and 30% own at least 2 cars.
Big deal - what's the year, make, and model and/or blue book value of the car or cars in question. And did they really buy it or did they come to own it by other means?!? I've known poor people that -- regardless of the year, make, model, or physical condition of the car they own/drive -- tell me that it didn't cost them a freakin' penny. How? Simple: the previous owner told them, "If you can fix that piece of shit and drive it outta here, it's yours! I'm tired of looking at it!"
They fixed it with little to no cost out of pocket (mechanics can improvise in a pinch) and drove it away. The brother of a buddy of mine spent 10-15 hours a day for a week underneath a car trying to fix it so that he can drive it home. The point is If poor people want or need a car that bad, a good portion will go to any length to get one that doesn't require dropping money they don't have. Furthermore, in order to find jobs or remain employed and pay their bills and feed themselves or their kids, they'll break any goddamned law out there -- specifically those laws that prohibit driving without a license to driving without insurance. And when they get their paycheck, they weigh things in matters of importance -- "Hmmm, feed my kids or get a paper license? Pay the water and gas bill to keep taking showers, flush my toilets, wash my dishes, etc. or insure the jalopy?!?"
Guess what? Water bill, gas bill, gasoline, and the kids win. Driver's license and insurance loses. The next day, they'll hit the road again hoping like hell they don't crash or kill someone, someone doesn't crash or kill them, or get hit by a routine traffic stop, get hauled off to jail, and thus lose their job.
Almost all of them own a color TV and over half have at least 2.
What?!? They got a *gasp* color tv or two?!? AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Dem thar welfare leeches are livin' da high life now and summun oughta put a stop to dat!!
What the fuck? First off, um this is 2006, people, not 1956. Color TVs have outnumbered black and white tvs for a good few decades now. Again, how did they come to own that color TV or two?!? Just because they own a color TV or two doesn't mean they swaggered into Wal-Mart, slapped a few hundred dollars on the counter, and said, "Gimme dat sumbitch right there and this mahfuckah over here!"
I've owned plenty of Color and B&W tvs in my 32 years of life -- the last B&W was back when I was 14. Wanna to know how many times I've paid full retail price for a TV off a store shelf? ONCE! And I freakin' regreted it, too -- a piece of shit 32" RCA display model for $269. My current color TV is an older, better, RCA floor model 24" from the early 1990s with S-VHS jacks and a swivel base. How much did it cost my poor, liberal, Murika-hatin, Commie-Socialist ass? Nothing -- my sister traded it to me for my 32" because it was newer, fit nicely in an entertainment center or pedestal, and was about 60 pounds lighter. Every other TV in my life was either a hand-me-down or one my father and I saw in some middle-class/upper-middle class/rich American's garbage on the curb where we proceeded to load in his Chevy S-10 (which he didn't own - work appointed), bring it home, see if it worked or not, and fixed it if it didn't. Even if we didn't need it, we still brought it home, give a good gander, fixed it if it needed it, and either gave it to someone, donated it, or stored it somewhere until it was needed. Same with VCRs, stoves, refigerators, air conditioners, etc.
The majority of these TVs and appliances were in perfectly good condition with nothing wrong with them accept for their pretentious Middle/Upper-Middle/Rich Class owner who wheeled it out to his curb shortly after lugging that big, long, overpriced, widescreen Plasma HDTV into his living room and not because he wanted it, or could afford it, but because the Best Buy flunky bullshitted him into thinking that if a DVD and gaming console demonstration looked that good, imagine what jacking off to the local news chicks will be like once they totally flip to true HD when nothing will be further from the truth as local news stations will require new sets, new lighting, and more makeup tricks to hide all the scars, blemishes, pockmarks and pimples of the on-air talent that neither current HD compression and resolution tricks or current NTSC television don't or can't show.
Mark my words, as Mr. Entitlement Culture witnesses how different (read: FUGLY) Kyra Phillips and Laurie Dhue look on a true HD broadcast of CNN and FOX NEWS, they're gonna either wish they kept their old analog NTSC TVs or regret ever jacking off to these "skanks" in the past (and don't get me started on Ann Coulter -- if you think she looks like a dude now, you haven't seen nothing yet!) They're gonna feel pretty bad that some poor bastard jacked his old TV set from the trash and get real jealous "for moochin' off me again". If these prima-donna, Entitlement Culture, "We're Deserving" motherfuckers really wanted to put a stop to welfare-riddled mooches snatching their perfectly good garbage up from their posh lawns on the curb, they should just a hammer right through the CRT picture tube. Yeah -- that'll show them fuckin' leeches from owning color TVs!
Over 75% have a DVD or VCR ...
A brand new 4-head VCR retails for about $30 and an Apex DVD player retails for about $50. So, even if poor people buy it new (what?!? Poor people might have disposable income at some point?!? NOOOOO! Call the law on them!), it won't set them back much.
But, once again, they don't have to actually BUY a DVD or VCR in order to OWN one. They can just sit back and wait for the early adopters of Mr. and Mrs. Middle/Upper Class "Gotta Have Them New Gadgets To Keep Up With The Joneses" to prove itself all over again, and then yank their old DVDs and VCRs out of their trash. Afterall, my mother owns a DVD player. How much did she pay for it? Nothing. It was given to her by someone who bought a new one and no longer needed their older one. Better yet, my jobless nephew the other day got a brand new, slim-line, "Progressive Scan" DVD player. Came in a box the size of a 800 page hardcover novel. How much did it cost him? ZILCH -- the bank at the corner gave it to him for free just for opening an account.
and over 60% have cable or satellite for their TVs.
Cable/Satelite TV is rapidly becoming a necessity. Why? Because the FCC and the Government is pushing all digital and wants the analog signals back. That means analog TV in on life support. Furthermore, it also means that we're spiraling even further into Corporate Facism. How come? The public (alledgedly) owns the analog radio and TV signals ... and a whole lot of good it does them since the repealing of the Fairness Doctrine and the institution of the 1996 Deregulation Act made the whole idea of "public interest" to be dictated (read: ignored) by the 3 multinational entertainment conglomerates and 1 defense contractor that own the media and the networks now, hence the reason why overturned tanker trucks, the Clinton marriage, panda fucking, and missing, upper-middle class, white women dominate the airwaves over killed soldiers and their coffins and the NSA spying scandal.
Who owns the signals that digital HDTVs require?!? Good question -- I sure as hell doubt it isn't the public as I wouldn't put it passed the manufacturers of HDTV televisions and the entertainment conglomerates are making damned sure that, when the Government forces them move to all digital and abandon old fashioned analog, the conglomerates will jockey for being the landlords and superintendents of the waves; not the public. They'll own everything -- the signals, the technology, all of it. Thus, since they own and control "their assets", they will get decide what goes on it (and when) and what doesn't. We, the people, are along for the ride ...
So what's the poor people supposed to do -- sit there with an analog TV playing pink noise all day?!? Or Christian music videos?!? Home Fucking' Shopping Club?!? How are they going to get their news?!? How are they going to get severe weather information like hurricanes and tornados?!?
Even that right now, the latter is being undermined -- just over a week ago, Monroe Michigan was under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning as well as a Tornado Watch. I was watching The Weather Channel trying to read the red warning bar at the bottom of the screen where it suddenly disappeared for 30-45 seconds. Why did it disappear? Because Charter Communications believes their right to profit from selling advertisments for COMCAST -- their competitor -- trumps my right to know about dangerous weather. The first time I witnessed this ridiculous assault on public interest was a few years ago and, all by itself, it put me directly in favor of Net Neutrality.
For all any Monroe resident, tax-payer, and Charter subscriber knew watching The Weather Channel, that Severe Thunderstorm Warning could've been upgraded to a Tornado Warning during that 30-45 seconds, putting lives at risk. The Weather Channel is direct from the National Weather Service, meaning they're going to be first to warn people about serious weather conditions while it STILL to this very day takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes for local stations to catch up or for local governments to sound the alarm sirens.
Tornados, hurricanes, flash floods, mudslides, and religious lunatics -- crescent or cross -- don't discriminate. Neither of them give a rat's ass who you vote for, work for, or how much money you gross in a year. If they want to kill or destroy you, your home, or your loved ones, they're not going to stop and ask permission first nor push the PAUSE button on their terrorism and wait for The Decider to decide whether or not they're allowed to practice their "Unitary Executive Theory". In other words, you don't have to BUY a tornado ... in order to get OWNED by one.
Notions such as these are beyond the acumen and concern of Republicans, Capitalists, Multinational Corporations, religious shysters and extremists, and unfortunately most Democrats. There's no hope at all in changing the hearts and minds of the former because they are totally lost and morally bankrupt.
The latter -- our Democrats -- aren't as totally lost and morally bankrupt yet. But if they keep insisting on marching even further to the right, they will be and it'll only spark and violent and relentless yank on their leash by the human rights based thinkers the comprise of their base. If such a yank back to the left ends up choking a few Democrats in the process, good. They're just as replaceable as a TV set sitting out on curbs of Mr. and Mrs. Upper-Middle/Rich Entitlement Class.
They had better remember that.