What I’ve got to say about: Poverty
I feel as though I am back in my undergraduate Oceanography course, writing about a topic I have no firsthand experience with. The mere fact that I was able to attend college is an indicator of my financially stable existence. Fortunately, poverty is not something that has touched my life. I have become used to a fairly comfortable lifestyle; extremely comfortable when compared to many of the inhabitants of this planet. Many of my family members and friends fall into the huge chunk of Americans currently cringing while they watch their retirement accounts falter before their very eyes.
Dare we gasp, bitch, and moan about the now prolonged date of our smooth and celebrated exit from the working class masses? I must insist that we all consider the fact that in some nations, women will never be able (or allowed) to have careers, children will die of hunger and thirst, and people will be forced to work until their dying day, not one settling back into relaxing, fishing-trip-filled recollections of their time here on Earth.
When I think about how most Americans financially live beyond our means, I am continually amazed by the fact that even our bare-minimum-means are so very high and mighty. I am not advocating asceticism here, but perhaps the simple awareness that while we contemplate our Wal-Mart purchases, thousand dollar gas guzzling vehicles, and credit-card-fueled vacations, there are people out there living in environments so unstable that they don’t know whether or not they will survive the night. They don’t know whether or not their children will be allowed to grow up healthy, unmolested, or sheltered while we choose whether to buy a snowmobile, motorboat, or ocean-front summer home.
America is out of control. I’d like for us to regain control of ourselves, of our country, and of its actions. Today I request that you consider doing two things:
1. Loosen up your expectations. If Americans didn’t expect such an overblown lifestyle, other Americans wouldn’t adhere to the “by any mean necessary” standards of achieving them. It’s a cycle that can only be broken through the elimination of greed, conceit, consumption, revenge, hate, and the obsession of power.
2. Join me in standing up to poverty through participating. Educate. Donate money if you can’t afford time. See what they see. And this November, count your vote for the presidential nominee who address poverty rather than the one who apparently feels it can be overlooked.