Something that’s always on my heart are poverty issues, both poverty of spirit, (the negative kind) and a lack of money. I know the issues that arise from poverty well, I grew up dumpster diving dirt poor and had to scratch my way up to working class. That is not so easy. It’s taken me a lifetime to arrive at “working class,” although it is a bit funny to look back and to realize that my concept of “wealth” involved having enough food to eat all the time, and having hot running water. That was my jackpot. To this day I will turn on a tap and go wow, I have arrived.
My husband grew up somewhat better off, although there were 15 kids in his family, so scarcity yes, but his parents were married and they both worked. In those days that provided a living, a quality of life. People back then didn’t make a whole lot of money, but you could still buy a house for a few thousand dollars. Hubby and I were looking at one such modest home from his childhood the other day. It’s for sale again, 870,000 dollars. A starter home. Wow, times have changed, things have changed. The economy has changed.
I actually really enjoy talking with people of a more conservative bent about poverty, about the economy, about culture, both on the internet and in real life. They often have some good insights and if they have a Christian background they can be focused on trying to serve people. How can we get you profitable, stable, solvent? How can we build the economy and encourage entrepreneurial skills? Some are very aware and a pleasure to chat with. Some are actually doing some amazing work.
There are the other kind of course, the “just pull yourself up by the bootstraps” kind. The kind that really just have no idea what it means to have been disenfranchised. Disenfranchised means, “deprived of power; marginalized.” Locked out, shut out, not having access to the tools others have access to. They also don’t get learned helplessness. They cannot see the issues clearly and so they say things like, “those people should just pick themselves up like I did.” They just have no idea what poverty it is even like. You aren’t knocked down once, you’re surrounded on all sides and if you even try to get up, you’re knocked down again. You learn to just stay down. That’s learned helplessness.
It’s a conversation I want to have, a discussion I’d like to see more of. I think conservatives can have some really good ideas when it comes to social issues, to issues around poverty. We’re living in this crazy world of social justice where to be seen as conservative is be perceived as well off, as not caring about the poor. I don’t see that reflected in the real world at all. I can be very conservative about many things and yet I care about people, I care about social issues.
So, let’s start a conversation.