OK

The top diary is all about America being a "third world country."  Anybody who thinks that has never lived in a third world country.

Please do not misunderstand me.  I think what is happening right now in places like Texas, North Carolina, and Michigan is appalling and undemocratic and un-American, but the hyperbole does not help.  I know the lady who said that had legitimate reasons to be angry and disappointed, and I support her cause, but she was in Austin, Texas.

Jump below the fold for a little more about being a third-world country.

Here is Khayelitsha township in Cape Town South Africa.  I was there a couple of months ago.

Half a million people live there.  This is just one (the largest) of many such townships in one of the wealthiest, most developed cities in all of Africa.  Even there, most people live in conditions like this.

Here is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where I lived for three years.

Again, this is not some pocket of poverty one has to drive all day to go see.  It is everywhere.  It is the way most people there live.  It is the norm.  Perhaps it is comparable to the worst block in Detroit, or the worst holler in Appalachia, or the poorest part of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, but those places are the exception in America.  We do have such places that if expanded to cover 80-90% of the United States would make it a third-world country, but that is exactly my point.

There is brutal poverty in America.  There are forces at work making it worse, but this is not the third world.  I have potable water and electricity coming right into my house, reliably, all day long.  When I go to the grocery store, everything I need is on the shelf, no matter when I go.  If there is a crime, fire, or medical emergency in my home, I can call on a phone that works all the time and have help in minutes.  There is a public library (two in fact) within a few miles of my house with hundreds of thousands of books available to me for free any time.  These things are all the norm in America.  Perhaps we are headed in a direction where such expectations are at risk.  That concerns me too, but it is unfair to people who really live in third-world countries to say that America is one.

Sorry if I ranted a little, but I don't think hyperbole like this helps our cause.

Originally posted to illinifan17 on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 10:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks.

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