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Everyone Wants a Piece of the American Pie

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Message Dr. Lenore Daniels

All of the Western nations have been caught in a lie, the lie of pretended humanism; this means that their history has no moral justification, and that the West has no moral authority.

James Baldwin, "To Be Baptized," No Name in the Street

It's embedded in this Western wealth-centric culture. The whole idea behind competition is to teach the young to want what's the best. By hook or crook, huh? By whatever means necessary. Even by sanctioning the oppression of other human beings.

Children aren't encouraged to pursue the interests they love. Instead, children economically disadvantaged and now apparently even children from affluent, very affluent families, are directed to look toward careers in engineering or law or medicine, as if the world could afford to lose the artistic or creative-minded children drawn toward poetry or literature. Humanity, this narrative of wealth seems to suggests, doesn't need another Jane Goodall or Toni Morrison.

Let's think on money or not at all. And some wonder why the Opioid addiction ever took hold in America. Why the despair and depression?

How many times has a news anchor or late-night talk show host report on a news item about the "rich and famous" only to quip in the next breath how he or she should be so luckythat is, to be as wealthyand own an estate, or a massive yacht or any apparel designed by Yves Saint Laurent or Karl Lagerfield. Owning a private jet like the world's wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos, would be arriving at the proverbial gates of heaven: you have been granted entrance, you lucky one!

That must be nice!

How then is it possible to empathize with those without homes, or access to transportation, or a decent pair or shoes or dress?

Politicians announce their agenda, "I'm a candidate for the middle class," and waste their time not with the homeless or the poor working class. It's out in the open. Right there. Audible as well as visible. I'm for the middle class.

In the meantime, the homeless and poor working class waits, as these classes of people have waited and waited and waited for generations. Waiting for the trickle down. For the return of a great America.

So absurd, if not heartless: to want to continue sustaining the existence of a systemically destructive economic apparatus! To say that the lives of our children, or future generations matter, but institute, with due diligence, a hierarchical structuring of society that eliminates from the start the majority of humanity is to continue a vile and shameful practice that is anything but moral, let alone humane.

Privilege the class best situated to run the best race to the top and the hell with everyone else! That's capitalism for you! And there nothing humane about promoting an agenda that sustains a privileged few.

This, as Toni Morrison's Sethe would say, is nothing to pass on! Certainly, nothing for any of us to engage in.

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Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory, PhD.

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