"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is this Poverty? Part 2

I wrote Part 1 of this series the other day. If you haven't read Is this Poverty? Part 1, click here to read it first.  When I began this series I had no idea of the response that I would receive both here and in the email. I am heading in a certain direction and decided that I am going to need to write one more part for this series.

Below are a series of photos and once again I am going to have a few questions at the end.
1. Is this poverty?  
Note the lack of any utility line, the lack nails to secure roofing, the lack of actual roofing.

2.  Is this poverty? 
Note the lack of walkways or roads, and see how the walls and fencing are held up. 

 3. Photo Credit
Note the gas stove,the microwave, the running water, the medications on the window ledge.

4. Photo Credit
 Is this Poverty?
Note the bottle that the child is drinking from, bedding,
 the room that the family is sitting in,and the cup with a drink in the woman's hand.

5. Photo Credit

Is this Poverty? 
Note the structure for a home, the automobile in the background. the AC unit in the window, the pets, the garden around the house,and the toys on the ground and about.
6. Photo Credit
Is this Poverty?

7. Photo Credit

 Is this Poverty?
8. Photo Credit

Is this Poverty?

America is having some hard times right now and I wish to make it very clear that I have no disrespect for those that are having tough times. We have been in a recession or a depression or something that is being ignored by our government for a few years. Times are very bad in many places and millions upon millions are struggling. 

When I began my series on Is this Poverty it was triggered by a conversation I had with one of my siblings. I have been on a journey for several years that has opened my eyes to things I never totally appreciated at any other time in my life. Our family and our life on the Double Nickel Farm are the theme of this blog to share what it is like when you basically have to start over with nothing. I am not writing these posts to be condescending, although I have been treated quite differently on this side of my journey. I have been challenged because I live in a structure that did not cost me what the average price home in the United States cost. In fact, my home cost a bit under half the national average, and it is a modular home. In case you are wondering what that is, it is fancy talk for a trailer. At some point my home was driven to the property. It was run down when we moved in, but having this house up a bit saved us tremendously during the hundred year flood that hit our farm a few years ago. (see here, here).

As I reflect upon poverty and ask the question is this poverty or is one poor, I need to be very clear: The Double Nickel Farm is not a representation of poverty nor of a family that is poor. I did not write my post hoping that folks would defend the farm and me. Instead I was writing this with a very serious point I wanted to make. I wanted readers to note the photos from my life to help with the conclusion I am heading towards with this series.

The photos from Is this Poverty? Part 2, are different than my farm photo montage. These photos were all drawn from sites that were writing about poverty and the poor.  The last two images are graphic yet brutally honest. American poor is far different than world poor.  America does have the genuinely poor but we also are the nation with the most resources to assist them. We have a net, tons of churches, and of course restaurants everywhere that throw away tons of food-for the taking. 

In these images which ones genuinely reflect what you imagine of poverty or of the poor? 
How do these images impact you? Compare the first post to these images...

The politicians of the United States should be ashamed.  We are electing officials that are dumping billions upon billions of dollars into programs addressing those that are 'poor.' In truth, many of these dollars are buying votes and doing nothing but prostituting people to ensure an election. There are 45 million Americans on Food Stamps(SNAP-supplemental nutritional assistance program).  Most certainly there are those in this program that need food assistance, but when we allow students in college to receive SNAP, we no longer are assisting. The students are being used and/or duped in promise of voting for the enabler(the politician). In fact the government spent 80 billion dollars for the program but will NOT reveal how the money is being spent. 

Think long and hard about my next question.  
If you know a person or family that is receiving benefits, or a family that you believe to be poor, do they look like people in the last two images of this post?

Part 3 will wrap up why I began this series. Be sure to stay tuned.

To read the rest of the series:


kymber said...

i have already gotten it. our poor - let's just be frank - aren't poor. and the occupy idiots - well i just don't have a clue to who they are representing.

i have seen Canadian poor in a poor Canadian town - i can't speak to anything American - tho i dearly love my American bros and sisters. what i know of poor is that everyone in the whole community pitches in - so that everyone is about the same. nobody is rich and nobody is poor.

i hope this comment makes sense to you. i don't care what any of your readers read in this comment...i want YOU, my glorious and spicey friend, to know that i get it. i get it, hon.

your friend,

Carrie said...

You are certainly hitting on something here. Also, thanks for the reality check, sometimes I start worrying about money when I should just count my blessings!

Amish Stories said...

Just when you think that you have it the worse, until you look beyond yourself. But to be honest things in the USA are not very good now. Richard

Humble wife said...

Kymber-(((hugs)) my friend!

Carrie-it is true that we all should sit back and appraise our lives as we are far more fortunate than we realize.

Richard-yes times are tough for America right now. We are on a path that will take many years to bring us out(if we can get out), but we are still with nets at this point.

Anonymous said...

Well WOW. I truely wonder how we are so alike after so many years apart.
Love you

Humble wife said...

VA SIS-we are alike because we are! Of course our home was one of strong (hard) work, constant challenging of the mind and affording us every opportunity to read to learn and to step outside of any situation. I wish the height thing would have stretched to the end of the line though. Anna and I kind of lost out on that...darn you tall siblings! Darn you all....lol

Glenn B said...

I was going to make alengthy comment on this but for once in my life I will hold my pen and my tongue and not put down what I was already in the process of writing. Suffice it for me to say, briefly, what I believe: The poor are often their own worst enemy (adults not young children). The only other thing I will add is that their second worst enemy is the charitable, who dole out handouts but not true support to get them on their feet again (along with birth control pills). As for poverty, it is relative to your situation and comes in all degrees from the not so poor to the terribly so. Perhaps, I ahve said too much a;lready, I do not want to start an argument or get anyone all emotional.

I do agree on the politicians though, they give to get votes for the most part.

All the best,

Humble wife said...

Glenn, Part 1

I think a longer comment would have been just fine. I am going to respond to a few parts of your comment as I think they are pretty important.

The poor are often their own worst enemy (adults not young children).
>>True. They cannot help but be emotionally bogged down as well as financially, you see when you have nothing your first impression is well of one that is poor. As a society that sees image as everything many are overlooked. That said- I know you meant this in another way. As a nation we have trained our poor. We have taught them that they are fine in the situation that they are in, and that they should get say, Obama money, or foodstamps that pay them more than my family spends a money-for the same number of members. We have seen after Hurricane Katrina poor b*tching because they need more, when the images should people with cell phones, large screen tvs, and more. We have trained a certain group of Americans that they are indeed poor, when they are not. I am not suggesting any race so anyone that reads this and says so please recognize this crosses all racial groups, all ages, and all areas of our nation. We also are a nation with a huge awareness of how to climb out. We see poor disable their children by not allowing them to move forward. We see a lack of support for the children at home, where they can raise the child up via books, time, and of course hope. These thoughts may seem callous, as how can one be upbeat or whatnot when day after day life is hard. I do have my solution. It is through a greater POwer.

Humble wife said...

Glenn, Part 2

The only other thing I will add is that their second worst enemy is the charitable, who dole out handouts but not true support to get them on their feet again (along with birth control pills).

>>>>>>Yes, it is so subtle but true. When one acts in charity the recipient often times comes back for more. We have seen this in our humble church, when we can hire folks on the farm, and even when we share that we give Bibles away. I kind of think that the poor are no different than anyone else. I mean if someone is going to provide it, why work? The rich do not work(Think Paris Hilton)but do as much as possible to not work(think the Kennedy's and the trust to protect future generations).

Humble wife said...

Glenn Part 3

>>>So a hand out only brings out the human trait I suppose of laziness. I mean most procrastinate on work, reports, finances etc, so why not in this arena too?

>>>I am not sure if you meant this about the birth control pills but I see giving birth control pills out like handouts.We see more sexual activity, not less, when a woman is on the pill. The more we give a handout, then perhaps the same connection can be made...the more they will return for a handout.

As for poverty, it is relative to your situation and comes in all degrees from the not so poor to the terribly so. Perhaps, I have said too much already, I do not want to start an argument or get anyone all emotional.

>>>I think subjects that are touchy have been left alone either out of compassion or for the sake of peace. I think we NEED to discuss poverty, the poor, and what they both mean. I am certain my comments are good as much as I am certain they are bad, We live in such a divided time where people cannot find a middle ground. Bill and I are not ever going to be higher on the ladder of financial success, so this topic is VERY relative to us, but at the same time it must be addressed.

>>>We do need to find what we should be doing as a society. Biblically we are told that there will always be poor, so what should we do? The book of Ruth allows us to see how hunger was addressed because the fields were not stripped bare but left with enough for the poor to come and glean the fields. We know we are to take care of the widow, the fatherless, and the poor. Not by leveling the field because of some random chance that made Paris born in a rich family and my children raised in a very not so rich family. NOOOO. Instead we need to allow the poor to see hope in our actions by assisting in work projects to allow them to work. Not by the government but by local communities. We cannot meet the needs of New Yorkers in New Mexico and vise versa, but I know what the poor children in my area need as I live here. I know what can be provided here and that can offer a leg up. In fact job placing is a very real thing to allow the poor to be in the work force. Not handouts for the long haul. Not permissions to buy anything. Not permissions to go to the doctor 2 times a month every month for things that are treated over the counter.

Oh yes Glenn, this is a touchy subject that will be sensitive to some maybe all. Stay tuned for part three.

Part 3 will have some conclusions...

Gayle said...

Physically, monetarily poor? No, Americans are rich. If you mean soulfully, mentally, with heartfelt gut..then we are poor. Very poor.

*for the most part* Poor in America means you had to cancel your smartphone or you can't have Internet. Poor is limited cable channels or (gasp)no cable at all. Poor is shopping in "second rate" stores and not eating out more than once a week. Our sense of "poor" is ridiculous. Sure, I can say to you I am poor.... I can't have everything I want and my debts are huge, but goodness...in reality I am far from poor. If I did not have a roof over my head, if I could not put food in my children's bellies, if we were cold and damp, if tomorrow seemed a remote possibility...well then I would be poor. But in America...one is never truly poor if one has any ambition at all because if you can get up and ask...there are so many places that will feed, clothe, house you and help you find work.

One is not poor if they have hope.... and all Americans have hope (and the ones who don't are sitting around waiting for hope to come to them).

And all the talk about America's economy pisses me off... see my opening comments... so many are whining about how tough times are because they had to cut back cellphones, tv, movies, etc..... that is not hard times at all. Your child crying themselves to sleep because they are hungry is hard. Worse...when they are so week they cannot cry. I'm quite sure there may have been a time when there were Americans that truly experienced this...but today...no one in this country is really poor.

Just my opinion.

Humble wife said...

Oh Gayle I agree so much with how you described many Americans. I sadly agree, as we cry and moan as a society when children do not eat a meal provided by the school, although a parent sent a packed lunch(note that the child has multiple options for food).

We cry and moan about a law in NY about banning soda over 32 oz...in many places in the world folks don't even have access to clean water...imagine a place where the wealth is so grand that a city goes to such measures to control obesity(btw-wrong in my opinion).

We do have poor in the US, but the poor we have are far different than the world has. We should of course assist but NOT FROM cradle to grave.

More in part 3

dennis said...

...food stamps. Go figure I can grow my own food. I'd much rather get doctor stamps. Somehow preforming open heat surgery on myself kinda scares me. Yet we keep voting the idiots back into office!

Humble wife said...

Dennis-doctor stamps-seems like if healthcare is not overturned(oops I mean obama care)we may have to have a booklet of doctor stamps. I have a cousin who says he is done if healthcare is not overturned. Weird to turn away our young. Too bad we will not voting the way we do... :(