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IF You Are Going To Be Poor... Do So In America

Updated on July 21, 2011

If You Are Going To Poor… Be Poor In America

Hold your horses, I am not advocating indolence, but I am simply saying that it is a mark of a great country - notwithstanding her current woes - that being poor in America is living large to most of the world. By the way, I must give credit to Bill O'reilly for coining the words used in the title of this blog and I, personally, can attest to the difference in poverty from whence I came to what I see here.

Most of us here who are poor have the amenities many do not have elsewhere. I fondly remembered, my friends and I, going to the local Police Station to watch Wrestling and Wolf-Man-Jack’s ‘Midnight Special’ because we did not have electricity, much less a television. And I supposed poverty didn't sting as hard then because I had access to countless fruits for free in my grandma’s back yard.

I am not saying we should stop looking out for the poor here, but believe me when I say that our poverty here is ‘living large’ elsewhere. I mean you could walk into a hospital and get treatment and the food we have a tendency to complain about is like a full course tasty meal to many. I remembered the first time I had Ketchup – I was around thirteen or so… I thought my taste buds had died and gone to Jesus. This rich friend - rich Saint Kitts standard - I used to follow around – one, because he played a mean piano, and, also, I used to be his gopher... taking messages to his bevy of girlfriends - made home made fries and put the red stuff on it he called ketchup and gave it to me.

But I digress, I think of the WIC program and the countless church programs like what my wife and others at other churches support; and the many outreach programs designed to take care of those who are less fortunate is what makes the poor here more fortunate than those around the world. Most, we consider poor here, have access to television, a refrigerator, in-door-plumbing, and the sympathy of the generous American people – the most generous in the world. Think of all the charities you know of – not all of course are geared toward the poor, but many are and annually, they take in monies that are more than the GNP of most of the emerging countries.

The reason why poverty is so conspicuous here too is because it is smack dab and surrounded by prodigious wealth, which in essence is why are reminded by the dire straits. And lest we forget, there are those who make a mint out of “advocating” for the poor and seem to want to keep the poor in that status for the betterment of said advocates. It is why we hear horrid stories about those who abuse the charities for the less fortunate… whereby seventy- five- percent out of every dollar that was supposed to go to the charities lined someone else’s pocket to the detriment of those in need.

Years ago, when I worked at a hospital as a security guard, I once tried to calm down a couple of unruly kids by giving them each a can of coke - later on, the kids would ask me if they could come back to the hospital so that I can buy them more cans of coke – it almost broke my heart because, apparently, this was a luxury to those kids. I know that poverty is a relative term, but it leaves an indelible mark and hurts all the same.


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