Democratic Underground

Mister, I Hear You
June 9, 2001
by Nelson Addison

I understand what you're saying better than some conservatives. You think poverty is a crime - greedy, lazy people stealing our tax dollars instead of working for a living. You work hard to put food on your family's dinner table. Why should you have to foot the bill for some slob who won't pull his own weight? It's an extremely strong argument. I would almost be inclined to agree with you. Almost.

The flaw in your argument - the fly in your ointment - is that poverty is not a crime, it is a societal ill. Poverty is a disease that has plagued mankind since the beginnng of recorded history. You don't fight a disease, you cure it. When a loved-one is in bed with a fever, you don't brow-beat them about their responsibilities, you don't blame them for being sick and you don't tell them to cure themselves. Instead, you help that person. You take them to a doctor, you lay them in bed, you place a cool cloth on their head and you comfort them and patiently wait for a recovery. My man, if you've ever been ill I hope someone kind and gentle took care of you.

Likewise, our society has a disease. Our society has a bad case of poverty. But, unlike when an individual gets sick and has someone to care for them, our society stands alone and, logically, the solitary society must learn to heal itself. This is our task. This is our responsibility. And it is every individual's responsibility to do what they can to nurse us to better health.

Now, if you want to fight a crime, I can name the crime that is killing our society. I can point you at the people who, in fact, our not fulfilling their share of their responsibility around here. I can show you the people who hold the very resourses that would cure our society. The true crime is greed and the perpetrators are the same people that have victimized you by laying an unfair burden on your shoulders It is those who have more resources than they could ever use that are infecting our society with the disease of poverty. If the rich were paying their fair share of taxes, dollar for dollar, we could cure our society. And it is up to you and I to fight the crime of greed and economic injustice.

You can call me a populist, a socialist, a comunist, or a liberal - all the words that they have convinced you are dirty, but I'm just a guy calling it like I see it.

Fight greed, cure poverty.

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