Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Poor as Pawns

Dell Gines at the Urban Conservative has an intriguiging viewpoint on how the left and right are more interested in scoring partisan points about the poor in New Orleans instead of putting for solid solutions. Here is the money quote:

Through the political rhetoric designed to appease constituents, two points have noticeably occurred in the post Katrina debate. The first point is that the poor have become a pimping point by both sides, as each attempt to capitalize the death and storm based disenfranchisement of the black poor by assigning blame to the other side. The second point is that through the midst of the finger pointing and polarizing of Katrina, no relevant policy discussions or even good solid op-ed pieces in the national news, geared towards positing solutions to this thematic concentration of poverty amongst African-Americans in the inner-city.

So even as America comes together in a way they have never had before in terms of providing relief to the victims of Katrina, we must ask ourselves this…

When it is all said and done, will anyone really remember the poor or will they just continue to be used as pawns on the political chess boards of the neo-conservatives and the liberals?

I agree with Dell. Both sides are using the devastation that took place in the aftermath of Katrina just to score points. I've heard very little about how we can alleviate poverty.

And that is the problem here. Katrina revealed the fact that America, not just Democrats or just Republicans, but all of us have failed to tackle poverty.

Most of what I've heard in the last week has been nothing more than hand-wringing and moralizing. What we need are ideas. But we live in an age where there is a lot of talking (spin), but no ideas.

This has got to change. Will Katrina do that? Only if we really care about making the lives of poor Americans better and not just point fingers.


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Dell Gines said...

Dennis, if I may ask what is a 'Rockfeller Republican'? I never heard the term.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Brian said...

The poor have indeed been invoked. The problems faced by poor residents during the evacuation either a) proves that the government hasn't done enough to fight poverty or b) proves that the war on poverty is a failure and should be abandoned.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Brian said...

As for your comments: good points. And I'd love to hear some of your ideas.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Lincolnfirst said...

Political opposites always want to score points but this is more profound than scoring points.

In the '60 an activist in Philly talked about "structural racism" as racism that was not overt, and yet very real. Today we have relatively few examples of overt racism, e.g., lynchings, poll tax,.... As long as people overlook alleged educational, hiring and housing discrimination, because we all know that there are laws to protect all citizens in these areas, some people will say that there is racism and others will deny it.

If as a nation we can accept that structural racism does exist to some degree and its not just 'unfortunate choices' then we may be able to address the issues and not stake out extreme positions just to make points.

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Kirkrrt said...

Good post.
You are correct in that Katina put poverty on the radar for the first time in decades.
I am not sure the last couple weeks have been the appropriate time for the discussion you are asking for.
I agree that America needs to have a discussion about poverty and what it means to our society. That is why I like it when Ralph Nadar runs for president.


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