Have you noticed lately that the louder the voices condemning the tax cuts for the rich become, the more hateful the rhetoric against poor people flows from the right?
The poor are lazy, stupid, slobs, drug addicts, etc, etc, etc. And because they are the nation's embarrassing degenerates, it is a waste of taxpayer money to have government programs that would help these good-for-nothings live a life of doing nothing.
I feel as if the first 'shot' was fired and the war has begun. The Class War. The 'Haves' vs the 'Have Nots'. Or, as one good christian conservative right wing talking head thinks, the 'should not have's'
Well, I am a 'have not' that has a lot of stuff I shouldn't have.
The most important being a reasonably happy childhood, a great education (although I didn't attend college right after high school). Instead I raised three kids who grew up to be amazing adults.
And I did it all being poor.
My father died when I was seven years old, and my mother raised seven kids on a VA check and part time jobs. We all went to parochial school which meant we wore the same outfit to school every day. Play outfit for Saturday, and Sunday's best dress. One pair of good shoes, one pair of sneakers.
We drank powered milk and ate noodles and gravy. Jelly sandwiches and goulash.
But we lived at the beach- the ocean was my backyard. The same ocean 'rich people' spend a fortune to keep all to themselves. 'The City', that great island of Manhattan was a train ride away. There we would stroll down Fifth Avenue, visit museums, play in Central Park. As a teen I spent a lot of time in 'The Village' (Greenwich Village) a wonderful place to exist during the late '60's. Being poor.
And like almost 50% of my generation, I got married, had two kids, bought a house, had another child, got divorced, and gave my kids the same childhood I enjoyed so much. As a single parent raising them on what back then was called "Aid To Dependent Children" until my youngest turned 5. Then it was child support and part time jobs.
We lived at the beach, although this one charged money to park. Our bikes brought us there. And the city was still a train ride away, but longer and more expensive. So I fed my kids noodles and gravy, eggs and pancakes, jelly sandwiches and goulash so they could stroll down Fifth Avenue, visit museums and play in Central Park. Being poor.
My children attended public school. Catholic schools were declining and tuition was unaffordable. But the local schools were great and they received a great education.
Except they now needed clothes, which were bought at the Salvation Army.
None of my kids went to college after high school. The concept was never even discussed. My son joined the army (as did almost every eligible member of my family. Or Navy. Or Marines. We are a military bunch.) My daughters left for another state, to, as they put it, "Get as far away from New York as they can get." Oh well.
I was able to attend college by applying for and receiving a grant to the local community college. From there I received a partial scholarship to a four year college. I am now a preschool teacher. And I am still poor.
I am intelligent, amazingly kind, generous, and a very hard worker. I care deeply for this country-my country.
I am so proud that I marched for Civil Rights during the sixties, became active in the PTA and coached and led my kids' activities during the seventies, stopped a nuclear plant in the eighties, became an advocate for victims of domestic violence during the nineties and now a staunch fighter for 'truth and justice' from all.
And all that happened while I was poor.
So OK. I'm ready. If it's a Class War they want, then they have it. I breathe the same air. I am protected by that same constitution. And I have that same one vote.
And I am so much a better person than those who think they can bring me down.