Monday, October 3, 2016

The Inequality Of Wealth

The Inequality Of Wealth

          The idea of wealth is really starting to sink into my psyche. Whenever I venture down by the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue in Newark I am acutely aware of poverty. People come up to my almost every time I am down there. They ask for money for food, coffee or bus fare. Being a minister and thus a representative of the Church I almost never decline. The only exception is when I know the recipient squanders their money on drugs. Otherwise I am glad to buy a person a cup of coffee and I am grateful to have the funds to do so.
          But the concept of poverty hit me harder when I recently had to go to court. Where people had to pay fifty dollar fines and needed a payment plan to take care of it. The idea of living off of a fixed income really struck me. That people have to watch their budget so tightly they cannot even pay a small fine. Contrasting this are others who have every luxury and don't even need to have a budget. So my thoughts focused on 'the inequality of wealth'.
          In capitalistic America we are presented with this theory that we are all created equal. Also in our so called 'free market' we have the ability to act as we sit fit. Simply put, we all have skills and abilities and we can use our talents however we like. Success and failure occurs just like evolution with the superior rising to the top. We are all competing for the slice of the pie.
          Perhaps on a certain level this might seem just. That we all do our best. The person who works harder or is more clever succeeds. Those who are lazy or make bad decisions fail. Even at this base and accepted level this system seems harsh. What about the weak and wounded in our society? Shouldn't we make a special effort to take care to them?
          Let me now shatter all pretenses of righteousness in capitalism. Let us examine the history of the United States. If we are competing for a fair slice of the pie we must first recognize that the whole pie has been stolen. That's right, Europeans came here and through violence, treachery and deceit they gained power over the land. The takeover was done in a most detrimental way to the indigenous peoples. It is one of the most grievous examples of genocide ever in the history of mankind. We are taught that God gave the Europeans a mandate called 'Manifest Destiny' to seize the land. In all honesty I care not to know that wicked God and furthermore it is not the God of the Bible.
          Secondly the empire was built on cruel, forced labor or chattel slavery. People were stolen or kidnapped from their homeland. They were brought here in filthy conditions. The mode of transportation was so atrocious that a businessman wouldn't even transport stock in suck a fashion. Once arriving the slaves were dehumanized and robbed of their own identity. The women were raped. The children were sold on the auction block. And all were worked with no regard to their welfare.
          When chattel slavery ended great waves of immigration came to America. The newcomers were put to work in terrible conditions, for long hours and scant pay. Here when they workers organized and fought back things actually changed. Work hours got reduced. Pay was raised. Safety conditions improved. Child labor was banned. It is proof things can change if we fight for it.
          That is an economic history of the United States in a succinct and simplistic manner. Understand that wealth was originally stolen and then it was increased by the oppression of others.  Opportunity was never fair and equal nor was it ever just. Furthermore the conditions continue today in hideous forms. The oppression of the inner city is a prime example. Young African America youth are denied opportunity through various insidious methods. Primarily through the racist nature of the system. This is evidenced by the extremely high rate of incarceration.
          Now here is the key. Many have tried to fight for the oppressed. You would think that somebody wishing to eliminate poverty or to improve social status of people would be welcomed. Isn't it a noble thing to lift your fellow human being up in life?  Instead anybody advocating for anything remotely righteous is met with the fiercest resistance of the system. Whether it was Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, American Indian Movement, The Black Panthers, MOVE or the I.W.W. to mention a few. All these groups have been met with physical violence aimed to eradicate them directed by the United States Government. For the uninitiated research COINTELPRO. 
          I am saying that in the United States there is no free speech and certainly no freedom to practices as one feels politically inclined to. To prove the latter I just simply have to ask  you how much influence you feel you have in selecting the candidate. Rather it is the wealthy people or the upper one percent who have selected two shills for us to chose from. Even then I doubt the votes will be counted fairly. In addition left wing groups like socialists and communists are repressed. Eugene Debs the Socialist candidate for president of the United States of America was thrown in jail for saying World War 1 was not a war for freedom.
          As far as free speech surely we must have it, after all you are reading this very anti government treatise. Free speech is indeed tolerated. However when a person starts to have influence they are quickly delt with in a very hostile way. Keep on paying attention to those who speak out against the system.  They will either be co-opted or destroyed in the struggle. 
          The point of the whole matter is that there is an inequality of wealth in the United States. None can deny this. The overwhelming majority of those who have wealth have gotten it by the most despicable ways. Furthermore they maintain it in an equally evil way.
          There are other options. The Native Americans had an idealistic system based on cultural community. Certainly we could spend less money on war and on other things. Let me make this very personal. My wife is suffering from dementia. My car is getting fixed and I can't take her out to calm her down. Due to my limited economics my wife is suffering needlessly. First of all the burden of her care shouldn't fall entirely on me. Society should be there to support me in this manner. I cannot afford to pay for her health care in a day program. Thus I have to tough it out on my own. In a capitalistic society you can get the finest of things, but only if you have the necessary money.

          When people such as I advocate for redistribution of wealth I am derided by the rich and called a 'thief'. I know the history and I know the truth. The rich people are the ones who have stolen this country. The rich people used immoral and unscrupulous methods to create and maintain their wealth. I agree with Joe Hill that we should organize. Let's let the dialogue continue on this matter. There is so much that needs to be explored. Let us have a just world in every way. Let us end "The Inequality Of Wealth". 

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