As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. Ezekiel 16:48-50 (English Standard Version)
When I was coming up, I used to hear people say “It’s a sin to be poor.” What they usually meant was that the financial and material struggles they contended with was sinful in their scope. They implied that there was some moral aspect to the poor-related vicissitudes they faced, despite the fact that they were never below the national poverty level.
Fast-forward to today. Anyone living in the good ol’ US of A could say the same thing. A recent tidbit of news circulating is that in New York City, developers of high-rises that house mostly the monied, will have a “poor door” for the few with low income who live there. To me, this smacks of the “Colored” doors seen in the American South during the Jim Crow era (and some parts of the North too).
Not just in NYC, but in other parts of the US we see this “fuck the poor” attitude. Despite growing numbers of the unemployed and foreclosed, we have representatives in Washington cutting away at long time safety nets for such people. Today, we see more concern for banks, corporations, fat-cat politicians, and celebrities than We The People (or the 99%). We have major cities phasing out low-income neighborhoods for higher-income residents; or increasing the property taxes to chase the low income folk out.
Even amongst We The People (me too), we have this “fuck the poor” attitude. We complain about how our taxes are supporting “welfare queens,” or “lazy” people on unemployment or disability. We play “blame the victim” with those who lost their houses due to the mortgage mess, or were downsized from a company through no fault of their own. We say, “had they been more careful” or “they should’ve been saving their money”. How quickly we forget that a catastrophic illness to us or a family member could wipe out our “wealth” in an instant.
Plus, how many of us are complaining about the fact that our taxes are financing a bloated military that’s dragging the US into bankruptcy while making us pariahs in the world’s eyes? How many of us are protesting the real “welfare queens,” corporations that are given “personhood” status; the very same corporations that laid off some of us while they still generated a profit? How about these career representatives in Washington that are making a killing now, and with their future pension? Have any of us called for scaling down their pay and imposing term limits?
Today’s Scripture was a reminder to Israel about Sodom’s fall. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God warned that is wasn’t a homosexual lifestyle-as some thought-that did Sodom in. It was the inhabitants’ contempt for the poor while they lived in luxury. Many of the Sodomites were “living large” while their fellows were struggling to survive; which sounds a lot like America at present. And in the end, that’s why God destroyed Sodom.
Uhh…America? News flash? What do you think is happening here? Our status as a player on the world stage is going downhill. Our infrastructure’s crumbling. Despite all the police and security technology, We The People are still getting angry. Plus, our economy’s not as robust as Washington and its puppet media wants you to believe. I believe God’s getting tired of our “Fuck the poor” mentality in America; and is soon ready to say, “Fuck America” and let this country go bankrupt. And it will be such a way that not even the wealthy can get away.
We have the means to empower our poor so they can become self-sufficient. This is being done on a smaller scale in parts of our country (and not reported in mainstream media). We can give them to power to contribute to the greater good. We can also crack down on our politicians via the ballet box to make living affordable for the lower-and middle-income crowd. We can also divest our monies from companies that keep fleecing us via the government, and watch them squirm. There are a whole lot of ways we can help and empower the poor so they’ll be poor no more…
Or it will be business as usual.
“Fuck the poor?” We could keep at it. However, we do it at our own peril. Peace.