Thursday, January 3, 2019
The political & Christian right tell us that the poor are incompetent lazy pigs, who can't create jobs and watch too much porn
Above: The description for this photograph, taken in May 1936, reads, "Stony Creek CCC Camp, Ross County. CCC boys are shown grouped together with an Emergency School teacher who is giving them lessons in advanced algebra. These fellows are taking this course with the expectation that it will assist them in later jobs that they may get." Most CCC enrollees came from low-income families, and were considered by many Americans to be lazy good-for-nothings. But, when given opportunities from the New Deal, instead of insults, they thrived. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
On a recent episode of Fox & Friends, right-wing ideologue Star Parker shamed low-income men who receive food assistance: "These guys are not working... They're watching porn, they're watching TV, they're watching women, they're watching everything, but they're not working."
However, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Most Working-Age SNAP Participants Work, But Often in Unstable Jobs" (March 15, 2018). That sounds right; because if there's anything America's holy "JOB CREATORS" are proficient at, it's in making unstable low-wage jobs.
Jerry Falwell, Jr., leader of the Christian right, recently mocked low-income Americans: "A poor person never gave anyone a job."
But poor people (and the middle-class) do create jobs. Every time they make a purchase they put money back into the economy. If people stopped spending we'd enter another Great Depression.
Falwell's comments are reminiscent of President Donald Trump's statement that he doesn't want a poor person running the economy. The implication, of course, is that poor people are far too incompetent to run things. But let's think about that for a moment: What have the rich accomplished during their management of the economy? A ballooning national debt, crumbling infrastructure, stagnant wages, mass incarceration, rising suicide rates, and a planet heating so rapidly that human existence is now in serious jeopardy. In fact, one of the few real accomplishments of the rich is that they've enriched themselves further. They've been gorging on so much money these past few decades, while everyone else suffers mentally and/or financially, that they're now enjoying record-breaking fortunes.
Insulting the poor is a central feature of the modern political & Christian right. Whether they're calling them "takers," "wild animals," or "lazy pigs," they LOVE to mock and ridicule the less fortunate. Sometimes they'll frame it as "tough love," i.e., shaming the poor into correct behavior. But to me, that's like punching someone in the stomach, and causing internal bleeding, to let them know that they should be exercising and strengthening their abdominal muscles.
Insulting the poor does not improve their lot in life. If anything, it just exacerbates the cultural belief & myth that the poor are ne'er-do-wells who are not worth hiring, promoting, or trusting with responsibility.
Above: A WPA worker in Webb City, Missouri, 1936. The WPA hired millions of poor, unemployed Americans to modernize America's infrastructure. Their vast public works are still in use today. Isn't it funny that so many on the political right consider the poor to be worthless, or even sub-human, yet they're benefiting so greatly from the work of the poor (roads, bridges, airports, parks, water lines, sewers, etc.)? Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
"If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven... I say again - it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"
--Jesus, from the book of Matthew. No words from Jesus are more despised by the political & Christian right. They hate that he said this, and willfully disobey. The disobedience can be seen, for example, when televangelists live opulent lifestyles and their flocks continue to follow them, and also when conservative politicians insult the poor but evangelicals repeatedly vote for them anyway. What a sham, what a farce.