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View Diary: War on poverty, income inequality and wealth disparity not a winning message (185 comments)

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  •  The point is that no one likes to be called poor.. (1+ / 0-)
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    musiccitymollie

    It's a pride thing.  It doesn't matter if they really are poor or not.  I'm overweight but I do not like to be called fat or even overweight for that matter.  Just because it is true does not mean I want it pointed out or to associate myself with that label.

    People do not like being called poor and most people who technically fit into that category do not consider themselves poor.  A message does not resonate if someone does not identify with the it and especially if a person downright rejects the message (whether they are working against their own interests or not).  

    Working class or working people is more accurate anyways because the vast majority of people being screwed by the 1% are people who are now working, who want to work or who have worked for the majority of their lives and have paid their dues.  "Poor" conjures up visions of hand outs and lazy.  Nobody wants to be associated with that.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 06:06:08 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, we'll have to "agree to disagree" on this-- (3+ / 0-)
      "Poor" conjures up visions of hand outs and lazy.  Nobody wants to be associated with that.
      You just made my point from earlier in this thread--disdain for "the poor" is a mainly a conservative meme.

      I say we (progressives or liberals) need to reframe or redefine the word "poor."

      Just like the word "liberal," it should never have been allowed to have a "negative connotation."

      I have fought the denigration of "the poor" for almost  3-1/2 decades, and will continue to do so.

      Although recently retired, I volunteer my professional services once a week at an all volunteer clinic or mental health professionals, Social Workers, physicians, etc.

      Recently, I was able to obtain a whole slew of social services for a retired "Tea Partier," who was "just above" the official FPL, but under 133%, and therefore qualified for several programs for "the poor."

      (BTW, this is done for all our clients, obviously.  I just thought that readers might be interested to know that some on the "far right" gladly accept government "handouts.")

      I assure you, he didn't 'bat an eye' at the necessary references that I made to the Federal Poverty Level during the intake interview.

      And why would he?

      I was able to get him into several programs--one federal program saves him over $100 per month, for the rest of his life.  Mostly they were federal government programs, but one (with his local telephone company) was a private program--saved him $25 a month.  We also enrolled him in LIHEAP, and got him an "emergency" cell phone, which was important because even with the $25 per month "break" on his landline, he is not sure that he can afford his phone, much longer.

      The truth is that the resentment mostly comes from "not being able to receive help."

      For this reason, some polls show that "the working poor" have a dimmer view of "welfare" than more affluent Americans.

      Not a surprise--it is this group who has often "missed out on" receiving government help (SNAP, TANF, etc.) because their annual household income exceeded the "arbitrary" income cutoff by $1, or $5, $10, etc.

      [Greek] Ptochos (poor) is from a verb meaning “to shrink, cower, or cringe,” as beggars often did in that day.

      It would behoove the progressive community, IMHO, to resist enabling conservatives to demonize "the poor" by reinforcing their memes.

      I certainly respect that you have a different opinion.  My own life's work simply gives me a different perspective.

      But that's what blogging is all about, right?--sharing ideas and perspectives.

      ;-)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


      hiddennplainsight

      by musiccitymollie on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:36:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This isn't the first time that I have had... (1+ / 0-)
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        musiccitymollie

        the pleasure of having a discussion with you where we disagree.  I love how you have the ability to be so polite and congenial that you make a person feel good about themselves even in disagreement.  Do not undervalue that skill. It is shared with the very best people I know.

        I do not disagree with anything that you say except the use of the word "poor".  It is wrapped in negative connotations.  "How was the service?"  "Poor".  "How are you feeling?"  "Poor"  "What would you like to be when you grow up?"  "Anything but poor!"  Unlike the word liberal where there are many positive, well defined, good associations with the word, the word "Poor" is inherently a poor choice (pun intended).  People have pride and they do not want to be considered "poor" regardless of how much money they have.  Unlike the word, "liberal", no one had to create a marketing campaign to make the word poor unfavorable.

        I do not look at people who are "Poor" with distaste or judgement.  I understand that if it were not but for the grace of God (and last month's paycheck) I could easily be right there myself.  I may even be delusional enough to think that I am not among the poor but considering my debt ration and my meager savings, I could be wrong.  But I would rather consider my self fortunate enough to be in the working class.  I am fortunate enough to have a job and a home and some possessions that keep me from that classification.  Many people strive to become more aligned with liberal values which we all encourage that but we fight to keep people from becoming poor.  The war on poverty is meant to keep people from becoming that classification because it is an undesirable thing to be.  

        I applaud all that you do in this war on poverty to help people who need help (even the right wingers) and I admire your convictions.  I spend a lot of time talking about solutions and not nearly enough time actually doing things about it.  You are a doer and I wish there were a lot more of you out there (and I wish I was one of them).

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:14:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for the kind words. The looks of relief (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Buckeye Nut Schell, Oh Mary Oh

          (and sometimes hugs) makes what little I do, a joy--no sacrifice at all.

          Your thinking may be more in sync with public, in general--and you certainly didn't come across as harsh, or judgmental, in your choice of words.

          You quoted one of my favorite axioms, "There But By The Grace Of God, Go I."

          I am not a even a Social Security early-retirement age person yet (but closing in), but having been brought up by parents who were two generations older, so to speak--IOW, in their mid-40's when I was born, I was "raised on that quote," LOL!

          And I am grateful for it.  They were so right!

          My first-hand experience has been that, for good or ill, most folks believe that they are among "the deserving."

          Maybe it's a form of rationalization, so that they don't have to feel "inferior" because they receive help.

          Whatever it is, it's probably a good thing, if it bolsters one's self-esteem under very difficult, not to mention sometimes demeaning circumstances.

          At any rate, I thank you for your patience, and your ability to engage [even when in disagreement] in such a pleasant manner.

          After all, I think it's rather obvious that we share the same goals.

          ;-)

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:32:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  One of my favorite writers, Kahlil Gibrand ... (1+ / 0-)
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            musiccitymollie

            once wrote:

            “You often say ; I would give , but only to the deserving, The trees in your orchard say not so , nor the flocks in your pasture.

            Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and nights is worthy of all else from you.

            And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

            See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver , and an insturument of giving.

            For in truth it is life that gives unto life-while you , who deem yourself a giver , is but a witness.”

            I believe this whole heartedly.  

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:42:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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