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Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, Poverty Thoughts


Society & Culture  (tags: poverty, choices, jobs, children, culture, family, birth control, food, jobs, cigarettes )

Nancy
- 304 days ago - killermartinis.kinja.com
Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get



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Comments

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 9:07 am
This blog dates back to October. I found it in a discussion about poverty at another cite. Found it rather interesting.
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 10:56 am

This does need to be viral, it needs to be read by every member of Congress and legislators every where that dare speak of poverty when they have not been without for a day of their lives. How very easy it is to sit in judgment of others when you have not walked in their shoes. I posted this on Facebook, I hope others will read and learn. Thanks Nancy.
 

Pat B. (353)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:14 am
Thank you, Nancy for this, and Kit for FW...Passing this on too.
 

Just Carole (338)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:20 am

Very well-written!

Thanks for posting, Nancy; and Miss Kitty for leading me here.

 

Deb E. (63)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:31 am
I have mixed feelings about this blog post. People do have the ability to make choices in their lives, sometimes, anyway. And while this person was definitely living the poor life, her attitude made me feel that she blamed others for her being there. I think she needed hope and a hand up more than a handout. I hope that by having people try to help her, she learned that the world isn't all bad and that we can hope and strive for better, believe that we can attain better, and then actually believe that sometimes it even happens when we do.
 

Terrie Williams (772)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:31 am
Thanks for posting this, Kit.
 

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:37 am

I think this woman has hope, or she would not be in school and working two jobs. What she does not have is some idealized version of life. Many of us grew up at a time when our lives were better than any that came before us and, now it seems many that will come after us. Being well educated was not unusual for us, it was the norm. Being upper middle class was expected, and being anything less was a demarcation of failure. I felt this woman put things into a sharp and honest contrast of reality verses what is imagined. Her life is very hard, her future a complete unknown, but if she had no hope she would not have opened up and shared this with all of us.
 

Barbara K. (78)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:04 pm
Yes, Kit, you said it better than I could, and I agree with you. She is at least trying to make a better future by taking classes to improve her chances. Hope she achieves a better life.
 

Esther Z. (96)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:13 pm
KillerMartini's observations can only be described as heartbreaking realism. I can only imagine, her desperation, her never ending fatigue to just survive another day.
What really broke my heart was her following statement of "We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try."
I really do have hope for her and her family. As Kit, stated, KillerMartini is going to school, and she's damn bright enough, and taking from her writing style, feisty enough to overcoming the insurmountable odds facing today's poor. I have faith in her....
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:43 pm
Everyone should send it on, as will I. She does say at the bottom of the lobg that we should all share. Please do.

Deb, I understand your point about her "blaming" others and I am sure there are many who do. Yet, I didn't see it as much. I don't know why.

Thanks for the comments and keep the discussion going.
 

Yvonne White (232)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:46 pm
Where is my comment? I don't see it now..WTF?
 

Yvonne White (232)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:54 pm
Apparently I said Something SomeOne didn't like. Since I didn't "save" the whole thing - screw it..:(
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:56 pm
Well, it wasn't me. And it has shown up in my mail box.
 

Robert B. (58)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 12:58 pm
This is a well written piece on what real poverty is. It struck a chord with me, not because I was ever in that desperate a situation, but because I have had desperate times in my life long ago. I have also worked with people in this situation, they are the HARDWORKING poor. I've seen it first hand and met people like this. I once worked at a warehouse/distribution center on 2nd shift and many of the people there went on to a 2nd job on third shift in order to make ends meet. Criticizing these people in any way only shows a real lack of understanding of their situation. There is a subculture of working poor that the well to do, the rich and the politicians simply DON'T SEE or worse, REFUSE TO SEE. That is the real problem in this country. THERE IS NO REAL PRACTICAL HELP for the working poor. They sink or swim and most people don't care, especially most of our right wing politicians.
 

A F. (132)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:08 pm
thank you
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:17 pm
Thanks for reposting that Yvonne. And for pointing out about the help she has receievd and her appreciation of it.
 

Cal Mendelsohn (1000)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:20 pm
Read and shared--thanks Nancy
 

pam w. (191)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:22 pm
Wishing her well.

(I also wish she didn't smoke...especially as a parent.)
 

LynnCarin LadySeastar (420)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 1:26 pm
Thanks for sharing this, Nancy. It's definitely 'FOOD for Thought!' - I hope the life of the person who wrote the article has gotten better. I can appreciate what she wrote, however, there's much to be said about how a person's attitude in life (about everything) takes them on whatever journey they are on or will be on simply by the way/s they THINK about it/act upon it. I know what my own journey has been like so therefore I cannot hold 'judgement' against her or anyone is similar circumstances, however, one must always strive to do better if they want their life to BE better. There are tons of people in society who are constantly struggling to make it. It's not easy, that's for sure. Hopefully, those who read what she wrote will be more inspired to do better for themselves and never give up - so, when they look back at their lives, they can be proud of what they ended up accomplishing that was positive. I always hope for that, but I know it's not always the reality of the way it is for many. Often I hear a commercial for Kaiser Permanente that says something like: Survive, Strive and Thrive - those words are meaningful but they have to be applied - if one is determined to 'make it happen' - no matter what they have had to endure. There are a ton of 'rags to riches' stories out there - each one different, but all of them overcame their circumstances of 'poverty' (not sure all were stories of 'integrity') but they had hope and they made it. Not everyone can do that, but, at least they can try to do better - hopefully, they will.
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (279)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:22 pm
Thanks for sharing Kit
 

Kamia T. (79)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:26 pm
After having lived in the ghetto, and seen many, many extremely poor people living their lives, I think this is a very good stream of consciousness work on how you CAN choose to feel, and the choices you CAN choose to make when at the bottom. HOWEVER, there is also another choice, and that is NOT to succumb. I know. I remember having $14.16 left, and no money even for a hotel, with an 8-year-old daughter relying upon me. But because I did choose to keep trying and making better choices, I didn't stay there. It's one of the reasons I don't support "poverty" programs that don't confront the mental process. Those too often are exactly what keeps you where you don't want to be be forever.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:29 pm
Thanks Kamia for your comment. I too have lived almost in a ghetto but realized that there were many far worse off than I. But I did not have kids and that does make a world of difference.
 

Allan Yorkowitz (447)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 2:32 pm
The life of millions in this country.
 

Vivian B. (154)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 3:06 pm
This is the life of way too many single mothers. They won't get the chance that she has, but she is ever so grateful! Unfortunately, I have been in her shoes, if only briefly, and can tell you that is not a life to aspire to. It is hard and gritty and unforgiving on your body.
Some people are born in this life to better circumstances and some are not. To those who are not, I hope they can see a way out of it. But with the climate of government now, being in her situation is a crime. Yes, a crime. For if you do not meet their standards and tests, you cannot even participate in their poverty programs. These are the ones that worry me. The ones that don't even pass muster to be in the system.
I am trying to live the life I have earned. By that, I am living as best I can. Not everyone can work at a job. Some people cannot find work that they can do and are left to their own devices.
And one big thing. To attack her for smoking is a terrible way to classify your remarks! She could be out doing drugs or drinking alcohol! She could be doing all manner of stuff that the system would gladly give her all kinds of support for. But she doesn't. She could do so much worse. And I'm sure that the only "money" she spends on it is after she has bought the groceries and paid the rent!
This story is just one of a billion, so be kind when you see that lady that is not so well dressed as you.
 

Ros G. (86)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 3:36 pm
Thanks for the forward Kit.........a very interesting read, and extremely well written....at least the Education system did not fail her..yes, there is a new sub-group emerging..the working poor..we have seen it more and more in Australia over the last 10years as well......just the same as our long term unemployed have increased..those with the prospect of never being in paid employment again...the reality is that there are not enough jobs to go around......I always have a bit of a laugh when people talk about choices..it's as though you have a good choice and a bad choice...sometimes it just boils down to ..the less of two evils...it's true what you say Kamia...not to succumb..and you can do that mentally and physically as you and she has..but that can be taken away..through no fault..an accident, a loss of job, etc..then the choices start to become narrower.
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 3:50 pm
Noted & posted
 

Phyllis P. (398)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 4:13 pm
I'm rich by her standard of living, but been there, done some of that. In the '80's, I won't tell you what I made a year working for the good old state of Virginia, with 2 kids to raise and no child support from their father. I too, took 2 classes a semester, because I worked at the university and got them for free. But I took out student loans so my kids could have Christmas. I too worked a part time job and still took my kids to their activities. I know life is hard for many, but there are good moments and you have to hold on to those moments, to get you to the next food moment.
 

Phyllis P. (398)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 4:21 pm
good moment...stupid computer!!
 

Ray C. (56)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 4:40 pm
Obscene wealth: World’s 85 richest have same wealth as 3.5 billion poorest – Oxfam
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The world’s 85 wealthiest people have as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest people on the planet – half the Earth’s population. That’s according to Oxfam’s latest report on the risks of the widening gap between the super-rich and the poor.

The report, titled “Working for the Few,” was released Monday, and was compiled by Oxfam – an international organization looking for solutions against poverty and injustice.

The document focuses on the extent of global economic inequality caused by rapidly increasing wealth of the richest people that poses the threat to the “human progress.”

A total of 210 people became billionaires last year, joining the existing 1,426 billionaires with a combined net worth of $5.4 trillion.

"Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown," the report stated.

Also, according to the Oxfam data, the richest 1 percent of people across the globe have $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the planet’s population – which effectively “presents significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems.”

“It is staggering that, in the 21st century, half of the world’s population — that’s three and a half billion people — own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all fit comfortably on a double-decker bus,” Oxfam chief executive Winnie Byanyima told a news conference.

And the number of the rich is steadily growing: for example, in India the number of billionaires skyrocketed from six to 61 in the past 10 years, and their combined net worth is currently $250 billion.

The report comes ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos which begins later this week, and urges the world leaders to discuss how to tackle this pressing issue.

Among the solutions presented by Oxfam are measures to avoid tax dodging and using economic wealth to pressure governments, looking for political benefits. Also, the organization calls for “making public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners,” as well as “challenging governments to use tax revenue to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection for citizens.”

Oxfam also said that there are many laws that favor the rich, which were lobbied for in a “power grab” by the world’s wealthiest people.

Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries for which data are available, according to Oxfam.

"A survey in six countries (the US, UK, Spain, Brazil, India and South Africa) showed that a majority of people believe that laws are skewed in favor of the rich," the report said.

For instance, almost 80 percent of the Spanish and the Indians, as well as over 60 per cent of the US and the UK residents, either agree or strongly agree that “the rich have too much influence over where this country is headed.”

http://rt.com/news/wealthy-rich-85-billion-879/

http://www.care2.com/news/member/725222209/3703255

 

Dandelion G. (386)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 4:49 pm
Her comment "Rest is a luxury for the rich." This is what the rich fail to realize when they throw out their trash talk. Being poor takes up a lot of energy and time just to keep those balls juggled in the air. Drop one ball and everything falls apart.

The poor are always wondering how to keep the lights on, where the food is going to come from, a flat tire is a disaster. If you can't figure it out fast one is told by their landlord to fix it or loose their shelter, if you miss a day of work you could loose the job and also be without shelter.

A flat tire to a rich person is minor inconvenience. Call AAA, get the spare placed on, drive to work, get a tire after work and placed on, no problem. If one is truly rich they just have their driver deal with it, call a cab, and be off to whatever meeting they had. Life is barely interrupted. For the poor person they have to figure out a way to get the tire, call and borrow money if they can, forget the electric bill and get the tire and worry later on the lights. Now they owe the friend or fall behind in the utilities so what can be done to make up that money is to look around for another job or cut back on things that is no place left to cut back on. Eat less, it comes down to that many times.

It just goes on and on and on. If one has a well to do family sending them to school they can concentrate on all their studies and when done it's free time. Like this woman, there is no free time when you are poor, even with grants or help, there are no free times, with or without children. Others with money can afford to eat out, hire a cook, but the poor must cook their meals, if they have enough money to have a stove, or the food to cook. Is always the house to clean or laundry to do, no maid service for the poor.

In low rents a lot of people don't think they'll go very far, they party late, if you are trying to study or get some of the needed sleep forget it. Rich people have space around them, silence when they want it. No there is no rest for the poor. Never ever and the rich are certainly mean and out of touch when they call the poor lazy, like they have all this lovely time to just lay around doing their nails or something. It's work to survive, daily. That is to survive, not thrive, and barely to live, for you die younger when you are poor on average.
 

Mandi T. (430)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 5:36 pm
Well written
 

Just Carole (338)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 5:37 pm

I just have to remark that I am LOVING the comments here!

You guys are the BEST!

 

Rebecca F. (34)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 6:00 pm
She commented on her piece.
She wrote:
"Understand that I wrote this as an example of the thought process that we struggle with."
"I am making a few things clear: not all of this piece is about me. That is why I said that they were observations. And this piece is not all of me: that is why I said that they were random observations rather than complete ones."
"People have been asking me to write, and how they can help. After enough people tried to send me paypal money, I set up a gofundme. Find it here. It promptly went insane."
 

Joanne Dixon (40)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 6:44 pm
I don't see any blame in the piece, and I find it difficult to think of a person who is working two jobs and in school full time as "succumbing" to anything.
 

Just Carole (338)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 7:17 pm

I think this piece was a well-composed compendium of the many commonalities faced by the impoverished.

The idea that "If I work hard enough, and keep my nose to the grindstone, I can be anything I want to be" is a delusion.

It is NOT a level playing field. There are many factors that give certain members of society an advantage: If you're attractive -- definite advantage to being hired; an education (unaffordable to many) is another; links to influential civic leaders . . . another one; and the list goes on. I can only applaud those with disabilities and who are of a "questionable" race who still strive.

Unfortunately, especially in light of the current prevailing attitude (as Sheryl mentioned) that people in need are lazy; and the greed of corporations, who resent paying even a living wage to their employees -- while doubling profits (and the salaries of their top executives) -- the situation is not only REAL, but shameful.

We are a country that purports to be concerned about ALL its citizens, but this present government is proving that that notion has changed.

While we remember the history we were taught in school, and were puffed-up proud of, about the nobleness of the American Revolution, and the fight of patriots for representation, we should be saddened by the present state of this government.

 

Ros G. (86)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 7:23 pm
Thanks Rebecca for your comment........I actually did read the full article and all the comments posted as well there..when I read: "I am making a few things clear: not all of this piece is about me", because I was trying to narrow the parts that were about "her" and those that "were others"....that part is really interesting too.

I too didn't see any blame in this article Joanne, and no with 2 jobs and schooling as well she has not succumb..which is was said.....Not succumbing is important...

Thank you Dandelion for your comment.....if there are doubts about the article writer.....there can be no doubts about your words.......open..honest..telling it how it is...with such heart.....
 

Just Carole (338)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 7:57 pm

(Still ranting)

And the unavailability of jobs lost (most of them of which were blue collar, and provided a living for decades for the majority of middle class Americans)? WHO made outsourcing jobs a better alternative for corporations?

And, after deleting all resources for those workers -- on top of removing their food stamp privileges and eliminating their unemployment benefits -- HOW are they expected to be anything BUT poor?

While major corporations make billions -- and pay NO taxes -- even those just subsisting are expected to contribute, or at least to report. Any single individual making $10,000 or more per year is required to file an income tax return.  (See table of requirements here.)
How did this happen? Where the wealthy are given all the tax breaks, while the poor are even more indentured?

We need to stop this.

 

Kathleen R. (203)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:06 pm
Read and noted. Very thoughtful article. I wish her well, She's trying. But I have harsh words for those sanctimonious politicians in Washington and in State Governments who constantly talk down to and insult the mostly women who are trying to improve their situation against almost insurmountable odds.
 

Just Carole (338)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:10 pm

Right, Kathleen! And not only do those same politicians decry welfare benefits to those single mothers raising children . . . BUT they also want to prevent them from obtaining birth control (and abortions). [Sorry, but that just doesn't make any sense to me.]

I always smirk when I notice that they never question the need for testosterone drug coverage.

 

JL A. (272)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:24 pm
This is the face of who Congress is choosing to hurt--someone who is deserving of more respect than that. I won't say more since so many of you have already expressed so much of what I would've said if I'd commented much earlier.
 

Deb E. (63)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 8:50 pm
There was a response to her blog ... the woman who wrote it fit more into the mold of the working poor FOR ME. Thankfully, we don't always have to agree 100% here at Care2 in order to have respect for each other's opinions.

I've had to work 84 hours a week to make it. I was a widow at 29 with two small children, home in foreclosure, and my car was always breaking down. Usually on the dang freeway so I had to walk miles to get to a store with a phone. I didn't live in a big city. Life has been hard. Living paycheck to paycheck is the norm. And, as a child, I didn't come from a high middle class family. I'd say we were low middle class ... we'd probably have been classified as working poor. We lived pay check to pay check, parents were hardly ever home, and I spent a ton of time, from the time I was about 8 years old, at home alone after school. I was sewing my own clothes by 11 years of age because we couldn't afford to buy them. Attitude helps people get through hard times. It's great to have people who will help and I think she realizes just how fortunate she was to have all those people send her money. My point was, about this blog post ... there are a ton of people out there worse off than her and her family. A ton. NO jobs. NO home.

She said in her post "We have learned not to try too hard to be middle-class. It never works out well and always makes you feel worse for having tried and failed yet again. Better not to try. It makes more sense to get food that you know will be palatable and cheap and that keeps well. Junk food is a pleasure that we are allowed to have; why would we give that up? We have very few of them." that sounded like no hope to me. And the words "we are allowed to have" seems to blame someone for not "allowing" her to have many pleasures.

She also said "Convenience food is just that. And we are not allowed many conveniences" there's that word "allowed" again and then she says .... "Especially since the Patriot Act passed, it's hard to get a bank account." "Not allowed many conveniences" says, to ME, she blames others for not having many conveniences ... I can see where others would not see it that way. She also blames the Patriot Act for not being able to get a bank account ... again ... that sounds like blame to ME. There are a lot of reasons why people cannot get a bank account besides not having two IDs and if you are working in the United States, you will have two IDs. She drove ... she has a drivers license ... you have to provide a SS card to work ... she has two IDs. I don't think it was the Patriot Act that caused her an issue getting a back account. I don't doubt that she was having a crappy life ... not for one minute. But I don't think she was being totally honest with herself as to the "entire" reason why her life was so hard. And that is just what I got from it. That doesn't mean I would say anyone is incorrect or didn't read it correctly or that their opinion is wrong if they didn't agree with me.

Here's a link to that response I mentioned:

http://tinashang.kinja.com/i-was-inspired-to-write-this-after-learning-about-mrs-1470915511
 

Ros G. (86)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 10:31 pm
Thanks Deb for the comment.......I don't live in America...so I don't know all the ins and outs of your system... The banking system here in Australia has been tightened up since 9/11 and the Legislation had changed dramatically in so far as reporting any suspicious money..in case it was used for terrorism or proceeds of crime, etc. As I was a Licensed Real Estate Agent I was bound to report by law and our banks were too....so I found this part very interesting: "Especially since the Patriot Act passed, it's hard to get a bank account. But without one, you spend a lot of time figuring out where to cash a check and get money orders to pay bills. Most motels now have a no-credit-card-no-room policy. I wandered around SF for five hours in the rain once with nearly a thousand dollars on me and could not rent a room even if I gave them a $500 cash deposit and surrendered my cell phone to the desk to hold as surety". Yes, the standard ID requirement would be met quite easily I'm sure..but the response to depositing $1000 would be something else... I remember questioning a few...when they came in with a bundle of cash to pay their rent arrears...and banks do too..especially if someone looks less fortunate..they certainly would...a less Judgemental society would go a long way.
 

Just Carole (338)
Wednesday January 22, 2014, 11:03 pm

While Deb's referenced comment may appear to be different from the points illustrated by the article posted, in many ways, they are similar.

The difference is the projected positivity (or lack of it).

Both opinions are correct. Reality is different for every human, and is the sum total of our digested life experiences, and, because of such, our individual conclusive decisions as to how to proceed.

There is no right or wrong when considering subjective thinking. It's a complex personal observation, coupled with unique life experiences.

 

Shirley S. (176)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 1:18 am
Killermartini's blog reminds me of journalistic writing in our Sunday feature magazine.
 

Kerstin Strobl (362)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 3:58 am
Thank you for sharing
 

Giana Peranio-Paz (383)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 3:58 am
A very interesting post and I am happy that I don't know the situation first hand, I am one of the lucky ones. I feel sad for such difficult lives and toil. I understand from her last comments that things are better now as she received assistance. The world's wealth well never be spread around equally and Marxism never worked (not on the kibbutzes in Israel, or in Russia. It's human nature, and it cannot be changed by Uutopiaמ ideas.
 

Melania Padilla (179)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 9:19 am
Thanks, sharing!
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 9:22 am
I know wealth will never be equal all around, not in the systems that are set up today, but people who work one and two jobs should not still be living in poverty. It is one thing if they mismanage their monies, but today's wages that have stagnated, it is difficult to keep just the "musts" going without having any "wants" fulfilled. When 95% of the wealth has gone to the top 1% exists, and others who are working around the clock and still can't meet those basics, something is terribly wrong.

I too, like Deb, recall living in a very similar fashion. My Mother worked in a sweat shop, the textile mills and the shoe shops. When she retired it was the most she ever made in her entire life, $9.80 an hour. I didn't have both parents I lived with a single Mother and a Father, who thankfully paid his Child Support on regular bases. But I grew up in an attic that was converted to an apartment, 2 rooms, a kitchen/living area, a bedroom, and yes a bathroom.

We lived on the wrong side of the tracks, literally, as the train depot was a view outside my window, and the trains coming and going were heard with their whistles, my yard was the empty lot across the street on the other side of the fence from the tracks. I couldn't use the landlords yard as it was kept green and with flowers and children were not allowed to go into it. I also could not have a key to my place, the entry went into the full home of the landlord and she didn't want a child roaming around in her home if she wasn't there. Not that I did that or would of done that, it was just assumed I would. Therefore I had to ring the bell when I came home and let in.

If she wasn't home for whatever reason I had to stay outside in the cold, the rain, the heat, until she did come home. No cells phones to let my Mother know I couldn't get in, and working in the factory, she walked to I don't suppose she could of gone home anyways to let me in. So I quietly sat under the porch of the house next door and waited. My friends from school couldn't let me in, for back then "divorce" was frowned upon, and I was a child of a divorced couple. The children couldn't let me in their home because I guess this "divorce" thing might rub off on their family somehow.

But despite these humble beginnings, Mom was still able to send me to the movie and she sewed my clothes of which I always looked presentable. I had a pair of good shoes, play shoes, and school shoes, and one took a of care with what did did have. I received a used bike, it was in good shape though and Mom taught me to take care of it, there would be no other if I didn't. It wasn't living in the lap of luxury by no means, yet because my Mom WORKED she was able to do it. Also took me on a regular bases to the Dentist for she and I and to the Dr. We ate simple but those were good meals and without all the gmo's and toxins that are now in the foods. Was staples that were always kept within reach of the lower income families and I recall she got her dishes by the laundry detergent, a plate in the box, after awhile a bowl, and green stamps helped too.

So even at lower middle class, life wasn't too bad, one could "do it" but now, the rents are so high, the cost of food going up all the time, medical through the roof, forget about seeing a Dentist as one should. For many, like myself, we had an opportunity to go to college, the tuition was within reach, one could find a job just about any time they went to look for one. If you worked.....you COULD keep your head above water......and even move in a bit up upward mobility.

I don't see that now, in fact, for many who played by the rules for so many years they are loosing everything they worked hard for all these years. Chris Hayes had a woman on his program, single Mother, worked, went to College, got a job, worked hard in the job, now laid off, unemployment run out, she is now in her 50's I'd say from looking at her, and no one will hire her. She is over that age, she had a few extra pounds but still a clean and tidy looking woman, had her education, had experience, but no one will hire her and now she is living on solely her savings and retirement because the unemployment was cut off Jan.1st.

Too many of us are getting caught into these places that no matter what we did, how we stretch those few pennies, it isn't able to happen for us anymore, there just is no way to remain in middle class get to that place for more and more people. Why is it that people can work one and two jobs and still can't make it? Like George Bush even mentioned and laughed about, with a Grandmother who was working 3 jobs to keep her family in food and clothes. Ha ha ha he said, uniquely American isn't it, working 3 jobs. Well I find nothing funny at all about that. A Grandmother having to work 3 jobs, no time off and still barely making it. Why in Germany it is a law that workers must be given 6 weeks off with pay. I just read that the other day. They get Universal Health Care too!

Yes, for some in the USA, they are doing ok maybe even doing rather well, but for more and more it is looking more and more what our ancestors lived like. When their children worked in the mills and mines for half wage just so they could eat. When their parents slaved in those same places from sun up to sun down and still are not making it, living in substandard housing and poor diets. We had that in this Country and we are going right back to it again. For awhile, we were breaking free of that, our ancestors fought hard to give their children a little better, but we are loosing ground.

Loosing ground because the regulations have been loosened upon the rich and tightened for the poor. Now a child can't even open a lemon aid stand without parents taking out permits, one can't watch children in their own homes without all sorts of this or that, wait staff must pay the tax man that assumes that each made the 15% each time someone sat at their table, when they might of received 10% or nothing. My husband, the truly small business, had to pay more and more costs just to go to work each day between this insurance and that insurance and this new policy and that new fee, when he died of cancer he said he was leaving this world in time, because as hard as he worked he could barely keep us going, when he use to offer the Elders and the Disabled breaks on their roofs he could no longer do that, his costs had gone up so high.

He wasn't even able to advertise anymore that he also could install windows or put up a fence, unless he paid more fees to more people and more this and more that to install a window, that he had already done to do a roof. He even accepted from the poorer families eggs and home made bread for his work, and they'd slip him $5. He couldn't do that anymore, if caught he'd pay a huge fine, these Big Box Places and Big Plumbing Chains have taken the handy man or small carpenters right out of the game. Now they want to pay these people little income, charge high prices to poor and rich alike, and then make a handsome profit off of it.

So in 2003 when he took his last breath he said, this isn't a world I want to live in anymore. I can't take care of my family and still help the Elders, Disabled, and hire the Veterans messed up from Vietnam. Those Veterans that were in struggle emotionally and physically. He'd hire them, 2 requirements, don't show up on the job with drugs or drinking. He had some that would go on a 2 week bender, but when they showed up sober he'd put them to work again as long as they worked well when they were there. Many good men, but sores would get them from the Agent Orange, and they'd have to lay low for awhile, who is going to hire those men who can't come in daily? My husband did. He was a well loved man by many, and I could of been more well off too but I as well as he gave back......to those with less......and gave people a chance.

That is not what anyone can do anymore in this Country, we can't help each other, then their are those who do not want the Country to help them, there is lack of opportunity, one struggles to find a living wage job, the youth can't launch, the older ones are being spit out of the work place and having what little they had stolen from them. So yes, my husband left at a good time, this situation he saw in this Country was painful to him. All he said he was sad about was leaving me and his children behind as he knew we were on our own now. So we are.......for there is nothing but HARSHNESS coming out of DC for the most part and from the Plutocrats, all drunk on Greed and not wanting to share any of it. Charles Dickens would have a field day of novels to write.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 9:34 am
I agree with much (all?0 of what you say Dandelion. I don't want everyone to have equal pay or wealth. But we clearly do have something wrong when there are those who bash the poor so much without looking at what their lives are really like and try to understand it.

It is true- life is regressive. Poor, working poor, middle class, etc. will have less time and fewer resources. Everything will cost more. Want to go on vacation at the beach. Will middle class MIGHT be able to save for it. Rich? call the buddy and stay in the guest house for free.

Sick days are for the upper. etc.

Perhaps the resignation in the authors tone was not so much that she had given up or that she was blaming but more that, while still trying, she knew there were limits of where she would end up.
 

Just Carole (338)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 9:37 am

Thanks for sharing that, Sheryl.

I was raised in a very similar situation, (my divorced mother with 5 children, in the 1950's) so I can identify.

 

Val R. (246)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 10:00 am
Great article and so agree - thanks!
 

Kit B. (276)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 10:17 am

I was speaking with a guy not long ago who is filthy rich and enjoys throwing barbs my way because he is of course republican and thinks anyone that needs help is lazy. He said in passing, you know what it is like to grow up poor. Well, no I do not. Being in real poverty is far different, and I was not brought up in poverty and I think it's tasteless to claim what is not mine. I have worked with the poor since high school, I have enjoyed having the ability to give of my time to others.

All of the comments here do each of us proud, it's not important that we agree on every point, only that we can see the reality of this woman. She is by her circumstance considered by some to be one of the "takers". A despicable word to use for another human being.

No one said life would be easy, at least no one told me that. Life presents challenges every day, for some the challenges become defeating, for this woman they are simply her life and I admire her for the ability to keep trying. Not everyone can or will do that. This is however; an excellent example of how some do not have the choices that others have. Her choices (and millions like her) are to work, try to meet the financial responsibilities and to hope that an education will bring an easier life. Some can not find work to save their lives, and yes sometimes it is the lack of proper clothing, or make up, things that would be bought in place of food or other real necessities.

Nothing gives us the insight needed for empathy like a real story from real people.


 

Deb E. (63)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 11:57 am
Yes, it is really hard to live without credit cards and bank accounts, and it does seem that many businesses don't want cash. I had a similar experience with a motel. Ended up sleeping in a highway rest area in my car for 3 nights because of it. My daughter has been living without a checking account or credit cards for 15 years, so I know how hard it can be for those who have to live like that.

Sheryl, you and I definitely have had some parallels in our lives, haven't we? I, too, was literally on the wrong side of the tracks, as well. My "playground" was the cresote covered rails of the train tracks which ran right across the street from my home. Talk about hearing a train whistle!! lol Our favorite game as a kid was to wait until a train was coming and then lay pennies on the tracks. We got so excited to see our flattened pennies after the train went by. We weren't supposed to play there. Our parents had told us we could get sucked under the train by being so close to the tracks when the train went by. But we didn't care.

I agree 100% that it is more difficult today for people to keep their heads above water, and that is why it is so imperative that young people make wise choices as to what they can and cannot do with their lives. Their reality is a very different one from what the boomers reality was as we "came of age". It is very sad that this country has gone this route. Very sad. But it is what it is, and until we get more people in our government that care about the people of this country, until the people in this country quit over consuming and start really taking responsibility for helping this country get turned around, I'm afraid it won't be getting better. I've often said it seems the human race has evolved as much as it will, because we just keep repeating history. I also pray that I am wrong.

I get very angry when people like this lady are called takers or thought of as lazy. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are a lot of politicians who seem to think that anyone who doesn't make it well in the United States is just not trying hard enough. Absolutely a ridiculous mindset. I agree wholeheartedly that the big difference between those two stories at the blog was "attitude". It can make or break you.

I hope that soon we, as a country, can come to the realization that we really are all in the same boat, and it would benefit us all if we all did okay. Some can still have more than others, but no one should have to suffer in the "richest nation on earth".

 

Just Carole (338)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 2:00 pm

I am pleased to see you added more about yourself, Deb!

I have always found you to be an empathetic person, loyal friend and committed activist. For any who may have misunderstood/taken offense about your previous comment, you have definitely corrected the record!

 

Yvonne White (232)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 2:44 pm
I wish I knew WHY my comment was removed again..but relax, I won't repost.
 

Just Carole (338)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 2:46 pm

Yvonne, it may be because you used the p*ss word. (Care2's filters can be extremely prudish!)

LOL!

 

Yvonne White (232)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 3:08 pm
Weird..but possible!;)
 

Yvonne White (232)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 3:10 pm
OH, I just remembered I inserted a portion of the blogger's post that included the f-word..maybe that was it?..But it's part of the article!
 

Sherri G. (113)
Thursday January 23, 2014, 8:43 pm
A brief look into poverty absent of gangs, drugs, or other. The critique by a reader and her response to that person was real world too. I truly hope the rich and powerful who need to listed do but I will not hold my brother. I tweeted this to @followers @barackobama @RepAnnaEshoo @HuffingtonPost and @SenatorBoxer. TY Nancy for posting and TY Kit for the link
 

Susanne R. (249)
Friday January 24, 2014, 12:01 am
Super article! Outstanding responses! I lost track of time for over an hour while reading the comments that appeared in response to the original article. Care2 commenters are more sympathetic/empathetic than the people who commented on the site where the article was originally posted. Kudos to my Care2 friends!

Thanks for posting this, Nancy. And thank you, Kit, for the forward.
 

Ros G. (86)
Friday January 24, 2014, 12:50 am
LOL Yvonne.....still smile about the "first husband" post every time I see your icon... Deb still can't believe that people are forced to sleep in cars even when they have money to pay for for a room.. it's the total reverse here in Australia..thanks for telling us that and thanks to all the other posters as well.....
 

Alfred Donovan (46)
Friday January 24, 2014, 1:20 am
Poverty is a curse on the planet.
 

Dandelion G. (386)
Friday January 24, 2014, 5:40 am
These hotel chains and the credit card people are all in it together. The Plutocrats can't make "interest" if you pay in cash. This "for profit" at all cost doesn't only bleed over into the environment, it bleeds into every aspect of our living. Someone in your pocket for every thing you do, this Capitalistic society with the Plutocrats have figured on every way it can grab more and more. This is why they don't want you growing your own garden or allowing a child to open a lemon aide stand, if they can't make money off of it or figure a way to attach a fee to it they make it so you can't do it. Heck they were trying, and I'm sure they still will, to prevent people from a product they've already bought, from selling it to someone else or even giving it away.

People shout about their freedom.......what freedom? They should look at what real freedom they have anymore; eroding before their eyes. How is one free when they can't grow a garden? How is one free when they can't find a room to lay their head down on despite the fact they have money in their pocket? How much freedom does one have when working on near slave wages. Working around the clock with a few hours of sleep doesn't allow one to have much freedom. Too tired to go anywhere and too poor to go anywhere. Again rest is a luxury. Freedom? When one of the few jobs is to join the military to protect the Elites money sources?

What the same kind of freedom that the former slaves had when they could stay on in the fields but got paid so little they could never leave. The same shack they use to get to live in without cost now had a rent, the nearest town or store was miles away so the food and items they needed, once provided, were now sold to them by the company store. Rent, food, material for clothes, all at a price that they could barely afford, but kept them alive just enough to toil in those fields, but not so much as to be ever able to save to get out of there. Certainly they had their so called "freedom" but......

You have your freedom today if you can BUY it........it matters not the color of skin, although minorities because of many starting at the bottom of the ladder have more of them in that position. Like those of us with Native and Irish blood some did better, taking the dangerous jobs at first, police, fire (yes that is why so many Irish are in those fields) or building the high risers of NYC (Mohawks mostly). Some pulled out of poverty, and into middle class. But it would appear that too was an illusion for a short time. Just like when Native American speak up it is quickly put down. Read about Wounded Knee II, understand what your "new" freedom is all about. Welcome to the Rez.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Friday January 24, 2014, 5:58 am
Good point about the gangs and drugs being absent.

I also note, a friend commented to me personally- where is her husbnad in helping with all this. She does mention him but doesn't really say what his role is in providing for the family.

Curious.
 

Deb E. (63)
Friday January 24, 2014, 10:25 am
That's a good point, Nancy. But she also says that not everything in the story was hers. Her story that she wrote, apparently, was a conglomerate of many working poor? At least that is the impression I got from the phrase that Rebecca quoted. I read the comments at the post. WOW! People there were definitely not very kind at all.

 

Dandelion G. (386)
Friday January 24, 2014, 10:57 am
This is the Corporate mentality out in the masses. Rather than looking at the situation of Eagle and seeing the full picture. Is a very harsh society that is being projected, and we have so called leaders that set that in motion. By these leaders words and actions, those who are not doing well must be flawed, dirty, lazy, drunks, druggies, crazy types, this becomes ingrained into the psyche of the people. Then the reasons behind a lot of this isn't seen.......like a titled economy.

Is like the dirt poor farmer that didn't have a pot to pee in, but he thought he was better than those "heathen savages" or the most uneducated white that won't ask for a better school for their child who still thinks he or she is better than the most educated black.

As long as the Plutocrats can make the others think they are better than someone else, then they'll content themselves in allowing things things to remain the same, because they eat tonight so those who can't do so, why give them food stamps, let them starve. Or the ones that were all in those town meetings saying let those without health care go without, die even. As long as it isn't their family member, until it becomes their family or themselves that fall into that situation......then whoops.

I've stood at rallies and outside in protest on issues and find people who say all the time, "I never thought I'd be doing this". "I used to think that people who protested were this or that".....until they lost their home or business they had for 20 years and sunk their heart and soul into. Or their fancy job was suddenly ripped from under them, then they can see, wow, it happened to me, and I did all the correct things and it still happened to me.

Is easy for others to think that they'd never end up that way, or look at their blessing and be appreciative of it, is easier to spit on those who are down, forgetting that someone above them is spitting on them.
 

Kit B. (276)
Friday January 24, 2014, 11:59 am

It's really no fun if the Oligarchy were step up and take responsibility for the havoc they brought on our heads, therefore; it must be our fault. Poor? Your fault, you made bad choices. Education too expensive, the cost of loans weighing heavy? Your fault, you made bad choices. I am really tired of people that are working to get by, striving to feed themselves and a family taking the blame for the many really lousy actions and inactions by Congress. Just as one more kick in the head:

"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or reproductive system without the help of the government, so be it."

- Mike Huckabee, quoted by Politico
****

I have really enjoyed reading the comments, you guys are terrific.

 

Yvonne White (232)
Friday January 24, 2014, 3:06 pm
Politicians are great at adding insult to injury. We have quickly scraped the bottom of the barrel in finding "representatives" - I'm afraid no Decent people will submit to the Corporate owned Media inquests & the assault of the mob mentality of the RepubliCON Party. So we're losing Both Parties to ignorance & insanity. For every Elizabeth Warren trying to save the people from the machine of oppression, there are 5 Mike Huckabees willing to beat back the starving masses..:(
 

Angela J. (64)
Friday January 24, 2014, 5:27 pm
Thank you.
 

Gina Caracci (231)
Friday January 24, 2014, 7:32 pm
well written!! this needs to be in every newspaper!

just had another stupid conversation regarding why min wage needs to be raised..seems they think only the educated deserve money..well it usually takes money to make it right? *sigh*

TY!!
 

Betsy Bee (1047)
Saturday February 1, 2014, 9:15 pm
Poverty is the most savage and scarring form of violence.
 

LMj Sick Sunshine (134)
Thursday April 24, 2014, 8:02 pm
Great post and comments.
 
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