Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Make Poverty History Blog Action Day

The dream is to end poverty globally by 2015. That's seven years from now. Seven years. I wonder about the reality of this on a global scale, until I remember that we can think globally but act locally.

A few days ago, I read an article in the LA Times which described how a homeless man, called John, was burned to death by an unknown assailant. John had been a fixture in the Beverly Wilshire District of Los Angeles for about 20 years. People fed him, took him once a week to get a shower, gave him cigarettes. They were kind to him. He was harmless, he was homeless, he was a face of poverty. Some punks decided to burn him up for whatever reason - anger? Hatred? Some bizarre gang initiation? Whatever it was, murdering John does nothing to eradicate poverty.

I had originally thought to write something else, but this climate of hatred, anger, fear and destruction is the root cause of poverty. Fear breeds a poverty of spirit; fear breeds a poverty of hatred; fear breeds the poverty of "otherness" that keeps us separate from one another. Fear causes us to lie, to hoard, to steal, to cheat, all in the name of getting ahead. Remember that bumper sticker that said "He who has the most toys wins"? The more stuff, the more money, marbles and chalk you have, theoretically, the better you were. Not true.

I'm not claiming that this murdered homeless man was a saint - he was homeless, he was apparently mentally ill. Yet he did not deserve to meet this horrific end. Nor do the people who have worked hard but are losing their homes deserve to be cast out on the street. People who have saved, only to see their savings wiped out by the banking crisis and Wall Street crash. Nobody deserves to have pain or tragedy come into their life - at the same time, everybody has an obligation to try and end this growing poverty.

Actions we can take are as simple as supporting local farms by going to local farmers markets; driving less, and walking more for short trips; recycling; using CFS bulbs; conserving water. We can also help by creating jobs - something along the lines of what FDR did when he created The New Deal, which created jobs for the unemployed, and regulated business and banking.

We have to act. We have to think of us as connected - not just in the USA, but to all people, in all nations. Let's make poverty history. Yes, we can.


Randal Graves said...

The Gordon Gekko that has become part of the DNA of the American spirit, even if not as overt as it once was, is going to have to be brutally murdered before poverty ever goes away on a long-term basis. Too many jokers still think they're owed some bizarro Horatio Alger Murkan dream.

Anonymous said...

Well, Randal, it all depends on how you define that dream. If it's getting rich at the expense of others without remorse, then, yes, you are right. However, speaking for myself, I'd just like to have what I can use and live in relative peace and comfort. It's a mindset of cooperation and communion that sadly has long passed this country by.

thailandchani said...

I agree with Randal. The way of life and way of thinking needs to be radically changed. In short, it's time for Americans to grow up and realize it is part of a global community. It needs to stop exporting its consumer culture throughout the world through dominance and exploitation.

Sorry for the bluntness.. but there it is!


Dusty said...

Border Explorer's video tells us a lot of the whys and where-for's about our consumer culture here in Amerika.

We recently had a homeless man beaten to death by 17 year old kids. So they could steal his aluminum cans.

Utah Savage said...

This is the world Uncle Milty and St Ronnie wrought. Why are poor ignorant values voters buying this load of crap still?

susan said...

Utah mentioned St. Ronnie and I'm reminded of an old friend who went to medical school at UCLA at no cost. Our friend devoted many years to charity clinic practice. Reagan changed all that and made it so doctors could no longer afford to practice in low or no income areas.

I agree with Randal too.

FranIAm said...

This is a great post- thank you Jood.

Oh that poor man... it is so tragic.

Thanks for your inspiration here.

Dean Wormer said...

It's simple- jobs for those poor and homeless who don't have them and mental health care for those that Reagan put on the street oh so many years ago.