Sunday, February 14, 2016


There are many different reasons why a person or a family might be poor and/or unemployed. Politicians spout statistics off their glib tongues and the public (a generality) just lets it slip by without stopping to think what those statistics actually represent. If we stop to think, there is a better chance we might actually be able to do something to help, to improve the circumstances of people who deserve help while filtering out those who are in trouble of their own making.

For example:

He is poor because -

He lost his job due to no fault of his own and he has been looking for work every day without success.

He fell ill and he has not been able to work. Furthermore, the costs incurred by his condition have drained his resources.

He is poor because he has been looking for a job that suits his standards and he will not settle for work that he consider demeaning.

He is poor because he did not complete school and he doesn't have the skills needed for a good job. He will not accept menial work, so he stands around street corners with others like him conjuring up ways of causing trouble instead of going back to school.

He is poor because he is alone and does not know how to seek help and support.

He is poor because his wife left him and he has been suffering from depression. He has no heart to go out and face the world. So he uses whatever funds he can panhandle to buy alcohol or drugs.

He is poor because he is physically disabled and he has not been able to find resources to help him. He makes dozens of phone calls, visits different social services, to no avail. Press this button. Press that button. Hold. Call back. Leave a message. There is no one here who speaks English. Parlez-vous Francais?  Wait in this line. Take a number. We will be with you shortly. shortly, shortly, shortly. Next?

She is poor because she is newly widowed, grieving and just lost. She is highly skilled and willing to work, but she is told she is "over qualified". She is sick, drained, but serious about finding a job and she works at that every day and takes courses to help her find work. 

When she uses a homeless shelter, young social workers who come from "good homes" tell her what she should do and what she shouldn't do and they scoff at her opinions and reject her needs.  They tell her she must find a place to live before looking for a job. She tells them she does not want to sign a lease for a cockroach infested apartment with rusted fixtures and filthy appliances. She wants to find a job first so that she can afford a decent place to live. The society social workers treat her as a pain in the neck.

I collapsed on the floor. Picked myself up and continued.

Don't accept generalizations and statistics. Look at the individual. When politicians generalize and spout statistics, stop them and pin them down and insist that they provide specific details.

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