Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Why Do We Demonize Poor People?

with 4 comments


Having read the comments on this Plain Dealer article and this one, I couldn’t help but wonder why the commenters attack the very people that need help more than any of us.  How do the borrowers who are victims of predatory lending become the cause of the problem?  I believe that the statistics show that at least 80% of the loans are being paid.  And are we ignoring the fact that at this point in time 10% of conventional loans are 60 days past due?  What are the causes of THAT statistic? How have the women, children, and chronically ill who rely on Medicaid become the reason that an HMO contract is seen by a hospital as too restrictive and not sustainable?

The poor in this country are our children who certainly are not perpatrators but victims and our elderly that live longer lives without resources.  I grant that there is a group of people who have made poor choices that end up the recipient of public assistance, but how large a percentage?  And when we focus on that segment do we diminish our ability to solve the social issues that cause extreme poverty?

For the majority of us, I think that the underlying emotion that fuels this animosity is fear.  After all, many of us in this country are just a heartbeat away from that which we fear.  And if not a heartbeat, just a phrase away.  Downsizing  will certainly start rolling off the lips of employers for many reasons.

Now is not the time to be fearful and attack the victims of what has occurred.  Now is the time to be bold, to invent new ways of dealing with runaway healthcare costs, to innovate new ways to create jobs and to educate our children so that they will be prepared to compete in the world.  A sure way of  losing what we have is to jealously guard it from unseen “foes”.

I believe that the opportunity here in NEO to reverse twenty years of poverty has never been better.  We have the talent, the resources and the capabilities to become very prosperous here if we don’t forget that inclusiveness serves a better purpose than exclusivity.   The possibilities for innovation are almost endless-new ways of educating our youth, creating jobs through new industries, approaching healthcare from the viewpoint of wellness instead of sickness, collaboration among businesses to create an enterprise mind set…. 

I believe that if we heed these words of Hubert Humphrey:

It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.

when moving forward that we indeed will be prosperous.  We as a society–forget government– cannot forget the children, the elderly, the sick, the needy and the disabled.  We should not be looking elsewhere for the answers on how to transform our region.  It is not up to the government.  It is our task.  We must be fearless.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 17th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

4 Responses to 'Why Do We Demonize Poor People?'

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  1. Well said, Gloria. I have cards of the “Four Agreements” that I’ve been reading in the morning. Today’s was under the “Don’t take anything personally” agreement and was something to the effect of “when people talk about you, they aren’t really talking about you, they’re talking about them.” Both politics and media are very much fueled by fear these days. It’s important that we start writing and talking about topics like this as a counterpoint to the FUD.

    George Nemeth

    17 Oct 08 at 1:29 PM

  2. Thanks, George. I believe that if ALL of us based each day on The Four Agreements we would all benefit.

    Gloria Ferris

    17 Oct 08 at 3:45 PM

  3. Their is a sense of fear of “poor people” who believe the way out of poverty is by using the power of the state to take other peoples wealth and give it to them…i.e….voting the Treasury. Whenever a majority of people in a democracy begin to vote themselves the Treasury (their fellow citizens wealth) then it is only a matter of time before that nation as a democracy is finished.

    Lance Athanasius

    24 Oct 08 at 4:19 PM

  4. Lance-
    Why did you put poor people in quotation marks? Where would you put a county that exacts taxes without a vote? Is that using the power of the state to take other people’s wealth? How do we vote the Treasury exactly? We elect officials who exact taxes. We would hope that they exact taxes as fairly as possible. We would hope that ALL segments of society would be taken into consideration. The “poor people I know would like a level playing field-equal opportunity where jobs, good education, and fairness takes precedence. Could it be that everyone votes the treasury? Could it be that there are just two sides of the coin? Should we be acting from a position of abundance rather than scarcity? In my opinion, we live in a truly wonderful country and we need to change gears if we are to continue to be so.

    Gloria Ferris

    26 Oct 08 at 12:42 PM

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