I once read that, "short of genius, a rich man cannot
imagine poverty." Perhaps. But these days, wealthy imaginations are not as
narrow as they used to be as all walks of life (the rich included)
witness the massive poverty increase in the land of plenty. Could it be that, for
most Americans (the 99%), the blessed era of fruitful sustainability is coming
to a close?
Numbers don't lie. The economic injustice that fuels
poverty is very real. And with unemployment soaring, even those lucky enough
to have jobs are either working part-time or lumbering through long hard hours for a
paltry check that is rarely enough to pay the bills. This is not quality of
life. This is not the way it's supposed to be in a civilized society. Along with
the physical aspects, chronic depression and loneliness is an ever-present
life-degrading condition during hard times, and the numbers are staggering. In
fact, with economic absurdities piled upon stress, it makes a
strong emotional case that fragile minds now feel like worn-out
slaves profoundly living on a huge modern-day plantation. This is especially
true with crushing debt burdens, high inflation, job lay-offs and ongoing
austerity measures in this full-blown era of psycho-economic
"globalization." It doesn't take a mental giant to figure out how the system
works and for whom. For details on what to expect here in the U.S., see the
tragic mess in Greece. It's not pretty.
reality on the ground is grave. People are homeless and way too many bread
baskets are empty. All walks of life are affected, including children, the elderly
and the disabled. Inequities continue to widen and people are without crucial
medicine, dental, vision or other basic healthcare needs. For the penniless, the
sick and the disfranchised -- government policymakers are definitely not up to
snuff when it comes to serving our best interest.
However, poverty has awakened
the national psyche. All doubt has melted away and we now know for sure that
most politicians are blowhards without virtue, offering little more than
"fascism" for a corporate empire filled with swelled egos who woefully believe
the rest of us are small inferior bottom-feeders ... and that big ol'
them deserve more, more and more. Although our representatives try to convey
the foolish idea that they are our champions, we know who is bearing the blunt
of policies that slash at already threadbare safety nets.
Numbers don't lie. According to census
data, 47 million Americans now live below the poverty line --
the most in half a century (since the last great depression) -- fueled by years
of high unemployment, home foreclosures, the stock market crash and a
diminishing manufacturing base that has jettisoned American livelihoods in
every direction outside our border. There's no pretending anymore, this is
the economic agenda favored by transnational corporations and the folks on Wall
Street -- as businesses, services and other commerce drift away from our
shores. And with no good jobs to be had, opportunity will continue be out of
reach until we reverse course. Therefore, a great American triumph must be
realized. We must rise above the destructive ideology of "outsourcing" ... and
rebuild America's manufacturing base and put Americans back to work. And it must
be done now!
And so the story goes -- the "news media" has little concern for
publicizing the struggles of the little guy, regardless of the consequences that
those cited above have engineered. Because, when it comes to playing us like like a fiddle under the big tent, media
clowns perform on cue. Indeed, they have taken their "corporatutional" oath to
do us harm in all sectors of newsworthy information, but it really hits home
-- economically -- when it comes to their silence on America's manufacturing
base "fire-sale" to foreign nations.
In terms of their commitment to such kindred spirits
such as Mr. Rupert
(wiretap) Murdock, the media's endless spy/spin cycle will not be
receding anytime soon. However, once in a while a few
discordant images gets through the laughable theme of a
robust economic "recovery." It's usually not music to corporate ears,
but nonetheless ... it does capture the effect of today's widespread
that surrounds us like a thick fog. Here's a few blunt snapshots rarely
caught in that disappearing lens called "mainstream" media.
Children: The ongoing economic crisis has negatively affected
the livelihoods of millions of Americans, but the effect it has on children and
youth is especially tough to bear. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(2012), the unemployment rate is 8.3 percent as of January 2012. Of course, we
already know this number is low-balled at best. For example...
U.S. Census data reveals that from 2009 to 2010, the total number of
children under age 18 living in poverty increased to 16.4 million from 15.5
million. Child poverty rose from 20.7 percent in 2009, to 22 percent in 2010,
and this is the highest it has ever been since 1993.Racial and ethnic disparities in poverty rates persist among children. The
poverty rate for Black children was 38.2 percent; 32.3 percent for Hispanic
children; 17 percent for non-Hispanic White children; and 13 percent for Asian
The National Center for Children in Poverty reports that 17.2 million
children living in the U.S. have a foreign-born parent, and 4.2 million children
of immigrant parents are poor. It is reported that child poverty in immigrant
families is more closely related to low-wage work and barriers to valuable work
supports.The Population Reference Bureau (2010) reports that 24 percent of the 75
million children under age 18 in the U.S. live in a single-mother family. The
poverty rate for children living in female-householder families (no spouse
present) was 42.2 percent in 2010; 7 in 10 children living with a single mother
are poor or low-income, compared to less than a third (32 percent) of children
living in other types of families. A staggering 50.9 percent of female-headed
Hispanic households with children below 18 years of age live in poverty (48.8
percent for Blacks; 31.6 percent Asian, and 32.1 percent non-Hispanic
White).Single-mother headed households are more prevalent among African American
and Hispanic families contributing to ethnic disparities in poverty.
The number of those affected speaks for itself. Poverty is
I have no catchy euphemisms or
metaphors to describe the horrific hardship that has shattered the bond-of-trust
between our nations' people and those who govern in public office. Shame on
them! And although some of them do have their priorities in the right place,
sadly, there is not enough of them to create the change we so desperately need.
Overwhelmingly, most representatives have sold us out and we are nearly
destroyed because of it. The poor souls pictured here will always be in
my prayers. To some degree, I have exploited them, but for a worthy purpose in
order to draw attention to their plight. Their struggle is our struggle, it's a
full-blown human-rights disaster that must be addressed by all of us.
Our Forgotten Solders:
And so it would seem, nothing is sacrosanct in this degenerating
environment. Even our brave soldiers returning home from battle are mystified
at what has happened to their country while they were gone. Most are completely
blown away to say the least! Images such as this, the military routinely sweeps
under the rug, because It's not exactly a moral booster for "enlistment"
The rate of homeless veterans is a
manifestation on the rise. Only eight percent of the general population can
claim veteran status, but nearly one-fifth of the homeless population are
veterans. Based on statistics gathered by the National Coalition
for Homeless Veterans
, there are currently
over 67,000 homeless veterans
in this country and this number
rises higher each day. Roughly 56 percent
of all homeless
veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8
percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population respectively. About 1.5 million
other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to
poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded
or substandard housing.
In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all
homelessness -- extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access
to health care -- a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with
lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse,
which are compounded by a lack of family and social support
networks. Although this obligation is not being
met, A top priority for homeless veterans should be secure, safe and clean
housing that offers a supportive environment free of drugs and alcohol. Having a
father who still suffers the lasting affects of PTSD (a most honorable combat
veteran who served during WWII and Korea), I can relate to the importance of
providing a safe, supportive environment.
Also, In a 2009 article published in
, it was reported that veterans stayed in shelters longer, on average,
than non-veterans. The median length of stay for single veterans was 21 days,
while non-veterans stayed for 17 days. Most homeless veterans -- 96% -- are alone rather than part of a family.
Among all homeless people, 66% are without families. The 136,334 veterans who spent at least one night in a shelter
during the year studied amount to one of every 168 veterans in the USA and one
of every 10 veterans living in poverty.
I would add, many veterans became
financially devastated while serving our country in foreign combat zones. To
me, this is especially unacceptable when we consider the sacrifices they
There is a better way for us
to move forward. Issues such as poverty, corruption, collapse,
homelessness, war, starvation and the like appear to be "symptoms" born out of
an outdated social structure. Our principal focus should include recognizing
that the majority of social problems which plague our nation at this time
are the result of institutional corruption, corporate monopolies, austerity
political policy and a flaw of irresponsible management from the top down.
We need to find optimized
solutions, and we must to do it now! And if that means marching in the street to
get it, so be it. Our allegiance should be to each other in the grand scheme of
things and we should not rely on traditional political platforms or parties to
do it for us. No one should be left behind. The path forward is self-evident,
we must tackle the challenges ahead and make sure all basic resources are
affordable and available to everyone, not just a select few at the top of the
We Are One Humanity.
We are all connected in this tapestry called
"life." Like a pebble dropped in a pond, everything we do affects
the people in our lives, and their reactions in turn affect others. The choices
we make will have far-reaching consequences. Each of us carries within us the
capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse. I say let us be
the heroes we always hoped we could be. Let's heal humanity! God
Vincent L. Guarisco is a freelance writer from Washington State, a frustrated Facebook user, and a founding member of the International Alliance of Atomic Veterans. IAAV with AAV here in the U.S..