Race to the Bottom

OpEdWe are truly a nation to be reckoned with, if you are worried about your position at the bottom of the pile, the bottom of the world ranking in nearly all relevant areas; the United States is working hard to grab the title. We are international bullies, we stand up and are counted policing the world to do what we say not what we do. Our leaders condone torture; in fact, they are proud of their participation or at least their tactic approval of the torture of other human beings. Our nation enters wars, costing tens of thousands of lives, killing heads of state and civilians alike for no good reason but we want the natural resources of that nation, we want to destabilize that region, we want to break the world.

We spend billions, sometimes trillions of dollars in nations other than our own. Nations that do not need our money, that do not appreciate our interference, nations that do not align with our stated values. Meanwhile, here in our own country we have children going without food, shelter, education. We make some of the top lists, such as:

Homelessness, top fifteen cities the USA has the grace to steal six spots on the list, with an estimated total 212,579 homeless living on the streets of these cities alone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once you let that lovely sink in, the idea we have so many on the streets consider this one, we haven’t had such a large income gap since 1928. In fact, the United States made another list; yes indeed, we made the list of nations with the largest income disparity, number 4 on the hit parade of 10. We should be wondering what the hell is wrong, only Chile, Turkey and Mexico are ahead of us on this list, the GOP isn’t doing their job if we haven’t made number 1.

Now while you are absorbing the thought of all your fellow citizens living rough; men, women and children living without shelter consider the findings of Transparency International, we aren’t doing so well on the issue of corruption. In fact, we are suck. Our perception of ourselves, as a nation isn’t great so how do we justify sending our military out to police others? Just asking mind you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now let’s discuss the idiocy on the Hill, yes that hill Capital hill. While the nation falls down around our ears, the ijits on the Hill are busy writing twenty-four new anti-choice bills, well to be fair one of them is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. You know they do this because they are afraid of women, they are afraid of our power if we should ever figure out we actually have a majority in this nation and we band together, breaking down all the false lines they have drawn to keep us apart. If the vast majority of us reach across the walls of race, religion, classism and poverty we will find we have far more in common than not. When we do this, we might find most of these Bills are intended only to infantilize all of us, stripping of us of our rights to both body integrity and economic freedom.

We could talk about so many other things, the education system in this nation and our lack of commitment to excellence. Our race to the bottom of the heap, our fear of intellectualism, our on-IgnoranceMapgoing outsourcing of innovation. Despite our great wealth we don’t even come in at the top ten of the Pearson ranking. In our race to the bottom though, we have achieved one top score, we are the second most ignorant country in the world, on the Ipsos Mori social survey only Italy is more ignorant that the US.

We could discuss the bulging prisons, the one thing we are number one in the world. With over two million of our fellow citizens within the Industrial Prison Complex, this is not something to be proud of. The problem of course is, the prison system is another capitalist scam, with well over one billion a year in profits to be made, no one is going to start dismantling it in favor of better justice, not when the favored few can line their pockets on the backs of the disadvantaged.

We could discuss the horror of joblessness and ask the question, why in the world this administration the GOP, along with several Democrats wants so badly to continue to destroy our future opportunity to grow through trade agreements. Trade agreements the citizens of this country are kept in the dark about. Trade agreements that do not favor us, but instead favor multi-national business. The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement is not about free trade, believe me.

As we continue our race to the bottom, I ask myself where does it end? I wish we would all ask the same question. I continue to love this clip from the Newsroom, it says it all; we sure use to be.

Generations Lost

Children Lost

Another generation, not ours, not even our children’s but a next generation of children. Children lost to poverty, poor health, illiteracy, ignorance, hate and yes, even hopelessness and violence. You might be shaking your head as you read these words, saying not in my backyard, not my grandchild or not any child I know. I can only ask you to think, to consider are your assumptions really true? If this is you, wake up! You are either living in a very rarified position, away from the rest of us, or you are blind too what is truly happening in what was once possibly the greatest country in the World.

1 in 45 children are homeless today, living either on the street or in homeless shelters.

1 in 5 children will go to bed hungry tonight, during the summer months this is even more devastating as there will be no school lunch program so they may remain hungry through the day. Of course, many states have already cut the school lunch program from their budget so they will already be use to the daily hunger especially at this time of the month when food stamps have stretched as far as they will go. We can dress this up all we like (Food Insecure = HUNGRY) but the simple fact is, they are without food.

50,000 children sleep on the street in this country at any given time. These are the runaways, the at risk children.

250,000 families with children are in shelters at any time. This number doesn’t account for families living on the street or in their cars, families squatting in empty buildings or on park benches.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

To make it more real, perhaps easier to see the numbers:

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Youth violence, a nice way to say our young are killing each other without remorse; their weapons include their fists, guns and even words. Bullying is on the rise along with suicide. Our Juvenile Justice system overflows with the spillover to the adult prisons; the coffers of the for profit prison system in nearly every state of the union overflowing. Youthful offenders, boys and girls as young as twelve remanded as adults for crimes even a decade ago they couldn’t have imagined and now they commit without understanding the consequence, they will have a lifetime to consider though as they sit in cells and on yards never intended for them. Wasted lives, wasted futures, wasted potential and all our futures are at risk, as an entire generation turned more antisocial, even sociopathic.

What were we thinking in our Greed and Self-Absorption, what did we think when we failed so miserably to provide communities and schools for all the children of this nation and not just our own. Did we really believe we could draw invisible lines, build invisible walls high enough and escape with our ‘White Flight’ and the wretchedness and purity of our selfishness wouldn’t follow us, is that what we believed? Those birds have come home to roost, each generation becoming more entitled than the last; each generation in this millennium more inclined to demand their place at the table while contributing nothing. It is our fault for training them and providing nothing but our own sense of entitlement, our own self-absorption and lack of compassion, along the way. What will we do now?

Generations Lost used the following sources and my own broken heart:

http://www.familyhomelessness.org/LookingIntoLight/

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2011/HUDNo.11-121

http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/state-of-americas-children-2011/intro.html

http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/us_hunger_facts.htm

http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/4361

%d bloggers like this: