Equalizing Life’s Chances

It is very convenient for politicians of whatever stripe to speak about the deteriorating middle class and what we need to do about it.  For some reason, it has become respectable to lament the dwindling of that segment of the population, for members thereof are regarded as victims of the recession.  However, making them the center of attention and empathy is scarcely new: it has always been satisfactory ostensibly to succor them while simultaneously lambasting members of the lower and lowest classes.  The latter groups are treated monolithically and saddled with shame for longing to have better opportunities in pursuit of the inveterately out-of-reach American dream.  Even our dear president has grown accustomed to glossing over the plight of the poor in order to fall into line with the tradition of legitimizing the travails of the middle class at the former’s expense.

Apparently, it is less murky to defend and support a recently laid-off person who had a decent job than it is to buttress a person who has been out of work for a long period of time and has since become so frustrated that looking for a job is no longer viable.  The person of low socioeconomic level or no longer pursuing employment is automatically persona non-grata.  This prejudice—though uncritical and unjustifiable—is seemingly universally inoffensive, irrefutable, and acceptable.

Most media outlets portray the so-called good life, and many fall prey to the glamour of the rich and famous.  Some respond by wanting to acquire material things that are fundamentally outside their pay range.  Predatory lenders take advantage of this desire and burden the fantasy chasers with debts they cannot repay.  As a result, there are innumerable foreclosures and out-of-control attempts at robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul.  Perhaps, there are some lenders that sought to assist renters in pursuing their dreams and were outrageously optimistic over the possibilities of return on their investments.

Helping out the poor is a noble profession.  It is common problem-solving technics to address the worst case scenario, for doing so would sufficiently redound to the favor of those further up the success ladder.  Rather than ignore the suffering of the least of these, our neighbors, we should be about the business as a nation of firming up our probity, or moral fiber, by addressing and redressing indigent conditions.  Instead, we are neglecting transforming the structures, processes, and policies that make for persistent poverty and strangely arguing over whether or not wealthy persons should continue getting tax breaks and humongous, insolvent corporations should get stimulus dollars!

What kind of world do you wish to live in?—that’s the perennial, diurnal question!  Do you want to sustain and enlarge the achievement gaps prevalent in our country, or do you wish to effectuate radical, constructive change in such a way to equalize opportunities and life chances for this nation’s inhabitants?  That is the major question facing all residing in the United States during the twenty-first century.  Will we finally get the picture, before it’s too late?

About mdbwell

Pres., Project for the Beloved Community, Inc.; B.A.--Wesleyan University; M.Div.--Yale University; Ph.D.--Boston University; Summer Study--Harvard University; Social ethicist; Ordained minister; Advocate for the poor
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