Yesterday I posted this image that my sister, Laura and I created together.
This morning I was looking at the comments on that post as it was shared around Facebook.
I saw that one man said this, "Poverty is succumbing to tough external circumstances. I'll never starve or be in want. Determination will make a way..." I think that is a cocky and ignorant attitude.
I think of physical illness, like in the case of, my quadriplegic
grandmother who used every ounce of her determination each day simply
trying to live. Were her husband like another man I met with a sick
wife, she would have been divorced and left in some institution
somewhere. But for the grace of love and a little luck, she would have
had a very different life and no amount of determination or good choices
would have changed that. Maybe we should remember that phrase, "But for
the Grace of Love and Luck" and spend a little more time counting our
lucky stars and less time disparaging those without such grace and luck.
I think of the failures of our society toward children and the young
women and men who are turned out of their homes for stupid things
ranging from being gay to dating someone out of their race which is
disgusting for their parents to do. Some get kicked out for using drugs
or getting pregnant. I do not fault teens for these lapses of personal
responsibility, that's why we don't let them sign contracts, be
independent or go to war till they are 18 - they are known for a lack of
personal responsibility. As a result we have young people with no home,
no education and no real ability to work themselves out of poverty.
Again, "But for the Grace of Love and Luck..." my life, and probably
yours, would be very different wouldn't it?
I think of mental
illness and the scars of war that many citizens and veterans carry that
have nothing to do with succumbing to weakness or not being tough enough
to survive external circumstances. They are simply victims of illness
and disease that our society doesn't understand and thus, discards.
Think of that - whole people lost to nothing but carelessness and
apathy. These people are not weak, they are sick. There is a difference.
They did not choose this illness, they did not choose to carry the
heaviest of burdens, their lives are half chance just like everybody
else's. Just like yours and mine. (Here we are again - But for the grace
To assume that people have earned poverty as a
punishment for poor behavior is a denial of every shitty thing that you
ever did. It is looking another person in the eye and saying "I am
holier than thou. My sins deserve and beget wealth, while yours don't."
That makes no sense. That is kicking a broken person when they are down.
That is a failure to understand that at any given moment a person can
fail desperately at survival. The world is a tough place. It doesn't
discriminate toward riches, or cater to determination.
ever, be so cocky as to believe that you are better than the 2-3
million people (mostly children) living in poverty today in America. You
are lucky plain and simple. If you don't believe me, think about the
fact that your spirit could just as easily have been born to a starving
AIDS baby in Africa... How would your determination get you out of that
If you are one of those lucky souls who doesn't fight for
survival on a daily basis, own it. Pay it forward. Lift somebody else up
the way fate did you. Have some humanity - as the most recent meme I
saw passing around this morning read, "You are the product of 4 billion years of evolutionary success- act like it."