The first and foremost reason Republican’s hate the poor is that the poor are a constant reminder that someone had to lose for them to win. And the saddest part is that it isn’t true. No one lost in order for them to succeed, but that’s the way they see the world. For Republican’s, we live in a dog eat dog, survival of the fittest world. How sad it is that they don’t see the world we so-called liberal’s see. We see a world where there is more than enough for everyone. All we need to do is change our priorities. But they see a world of finite wealth and you better get yours or you might get left out.
But there other reasons Republicans hate the poor. These reasons have to do with the habit of dehumanizing your enemy in order to ease your conscience. And the best way to do this is to invent myths about your enemy and then repeat them until you believe them yourself.
Myth #1. The poor are poor because they are lazy. This is the biggest myth of all. The typical “poor” person in America works 40 or more hours a week. He also spends countless hours commuting to and from work and tending other tasks because when you’re poor you have to do everything for yourself. And the jobs they typically have are among the most physically demanding there are. Compare this to the average Republican business owners I’ve encountered in my travels who typically spend as much time on the golf course as they do hanging out at their businesses brow beating their employees, I think you’ll get a different idea of just who is lazy.
Myth #2. The poor are poor because they are irresponsible with their money. It is true that most poor people have what is known as “bad credit.” But what is one to do when your monthly expenses constantly outpace your income. I’ve heard Republicans complain that if poor people would stop spending their money unnecessarily and put some away they wouldn’t be so poor. Gees, how clueless can you get. Poor people pay their bills until there isn’t anything left. They agonize every single month over what to pay and what not to pay. There’s no “what do we do with the left over money” because there isn’t any.
Myth #3. The poor are subsidized by welfare. Wrong, most people who are counted as “poor” don’t get any public assistance at all because they don’t qualify. Those who do mostly receive some kind of food assistance, but only of they are severely disabled or have children. And the vast majority of those people work full time at jobs like police officers, firefighters, and members of the U.S. military. I personally believe that welfare does not subsidize the poor; it subsidizes the employers who refuse to pay an equitable wage.
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. I know this is going to stir some of you up into a fit, but like it says in my byline, I have a deep passion for issues dealing with the poor. In my travels as an engineer and now as a stand up comedian, I’ve met and gotten to know dozens of Republican business owners. And with few exceptions they all seemed to have a deep seated distain for working people and thought even less of the poor. I’ve actually seen men shake with indignation over how much they were “forced” to pay those “lying, thieving, simpletons.” I’ve seen them slam their fist down in rage over their taxes going to pay for those lazy good for nothing bum’s liquor and cigarettes. I’ve got to tell you that the complete lack of even a hint of compassion from these Republicans I’ve encountered has filled me with a sense of dread concerning the future of our country. I got to see this side of the Republican world because I am a middle aged white guy and I don’t volunteer my politics. They assumed I was part of their good ol’ boy club freeing them to speak truthfully. I’ve had the same experience with closet white supremacists.
We talk a lot about hate and intolerance between races and religious groups. But I think we need to add to the discussion the kind of hate I’ve described here. Until we change attitudes, economic change will be on hold.
Devin Barber, Politics Correspondent
Devin’s column, “Left Of The Right” published every Tuesday and Thursday to
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Devin was raised by proud Roosevelt Democrats. Being the son of parents counted among the throng of Americans displaced by the Great Depression has given Devin a deep rooted passion for causes dealing with the poor and the working class.
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