18 March 2011

Voices from the past

History is cyclical.  It seems that all around the United States, we currently find ourselves residing in a place in time that belongs almost entirely to provide to the whims of the wealthy while the numbers of poor increase.  In America, the disparity between the richest among us and the poorest has grown exponentially since the end of World War II. 

Now at this same time, in places around the world, in Egypt, the people are rising up to better their position in reference to the money mongers and power brokers.  In Libya, the oppressed have risen to fight out against their oppressors. 

In the United States, people have made the excuse that we are luckier than most of the people in the world.  And yet those in power trample our constitutional and statutory rights. Our poor do not live in filth and squalor, they say.  Our poor have access to food and shelter, they say.  Our poor can seek charity and find it, they say.  Our poor have the opportunity to succeed, they say.  Who says these things?  The wealthy business owners and land owners, the hedge fund managers and politicians who for the most part have never had to go a day without food.  They are wrong that the poor in this country are not suffering.

In a way the fact that so many people in this great country are suffering is worse than the fact that poor are suffering in third world nations.  This country should be one that takes care of its citizens, and new arrivals. 

But as has so often been the case throughout history, avarice and greed have taken over the heart of this country.  Politicians spew divisive rhetoric; people bicker among themselves about petty issues; and all the while the richest among us gloat and goad us to continue quibbling over issues that matter naught; to throttle each other with ideological rhetoric meant to keep us from uniting against our common foe, while tax cuts and tax credits are awarded to them.

More and more prisons house more and more prisoners.  I declare that these are prisoners of war.  War has been declared long ago against the working people of this country.  We are nearing a time when war must be waged against the malevolent forces that have initiated this war;  those that strive to grind the working person down.

John Brown said at his trial, " . . . I believe to have interfered as I have done, . . . in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now, if it be deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit: so let it be done." 

Nothing has changed.  As I write today there are hundreds of young men and women being held in jails around the country who have never had a hearing, have never been to trial, have never been proven guilty, and yet they sit in jail.  They sit because they cannot afford representation that isn't overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people who need representation. Would any one of them be sitting imprisoned against their will if they had the means to pay?

This divide is getting worse each day.  Politicians act as the mouth pieces for the wealthy and money and greed have tainted justice.

"The millions who are poor in the United States tend to become increasingly invisible.  Here is a great mass of people, yet it takes an effort of the intellect and will even to see them," wrote Michael Harrington.

The time has come for the people to rise up against the new form of indentured servitude.  The poor in this country have laid low for too long.  The poor in this country have been invisible too long.  Let the CEOs and bankers, politicians and lobbyists know that you are here.  You do count.  We count.  You do matter.  We matter.  People matter.  Together we can bring the necessary change to make this country the great country it should be for all not the select fortunate few.

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