Impoverishment, Elitism & Apathy
By: Nancy Salvato
We experience considerable disjoint between those with money to run expensive campaigns for the Senate or House of Representatives and those persuaded to elect the chosen few. This great disparity is without a doubt a function of the degree to which impoverishment or elitism defines the classes that make up our society. While many people let the world of politics revolve without giving it a second thought, our present political reality begs for our attention and consideration. We cannot afford to disengage.
R.K. Payne, in A Framework for Understanding Poverty, defines poverty as, â€œthe extent to which an individual does without resources.â€ It’s most interesting to learn about the types of resources to which a person may be deprived: financial; emotional (being able to choose and control emotional responses without being self destructive); mental (given ability and acquired skills); spiritual; physical; support systems; relationships/role models; and knowledge of hidden rules within the classes. Poverty can be generational or circumstantial.
Each class of people follows a hidden set of rules around possessions, money, time, education, destiny, etc… Payne explains that those experiencing poverty tend to live in the present and their decisions are based on feelings or survival. They believe in fate and that they cannot do much to mitigate chance. Decisions made by the middle class are driven by how they will affect their future. They believe in choice and that good choices can change their future. The wealthy, in part, base their decision making on tradition and decorum. They see their destiny as tied to their birthright. To respond to the challenges our schools face, we need to define and prescribe precise solutions to the variety of poverty identified in our schools and surrounding communities so that each challenge can be addressed appropriately. A doctor would not amputate the leg of a person having a heart attack or prescribe medication that wasn’t meant for a particular condition.
Of course, if I was a conspiracy theorist, I might speculate that there is deliberateness to throwing money at problems without a plan based on the unique circumstances of any given situation. An impoverished citizenry cannot understand what is best for them. They need others to take care of them. An elite class might feel most suited, indeed, entitled or charged with taking care of the unwashed masses, those unable to help themselves. Though the slaves relied on their masters, they didn’t care for the circumstances of their existence. However, the best way to control a people is to keep them uneducated and without the means to take care of themselves or the ability to mobilize and to fight for a better existence.
Impoverishment will not be solved by the indiscriminate spending of money. Despite what we know to be true, wealthy members of Congress (In 1992, there were 28 millionaires in the U.S. Senate, 21 of whom were Democrats. In 2008, most U.S. senators and representatives earned $169,300.) would like to think that legislating tax payer money to redistribute our wealth to those â€œin needâ€ will solve our societal ills. There is more at play here, people. Pumping money into a failing company will not change the fundamental reasons for its lack of success. The reason for the failure must be addressed. If a person is not performing well on the job, more training might be in order or it might be decided that there is simply a poor fit. Raising a person’s salary is not going to change the circumstances that led to poor performance. It only rewards poor performance. It is said that one definition of insanity is someone who does the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome each time. It’s funny how those who believe in redistributing wealth expect a different outcome even though we’ve seen over and over the kind of disasters it portends. To give you an idea, just watch The Killing Fields.
It is imperative we elect representatives who understand their civic duty to uphold the tenets of our US Constitution and to defeat those who believe in the tenets of socialism (redistribution of wealth) or communism (a government run not for and by the people but by elitists who believe they know more and are in the best position to make our choices on our behalf). The word socialism is being bandied about with more frequency in the mainstream media, as of late. There is much confusion between the ideologies of socialism and communism. â€œBoth socialism and communism seek to manage the economy through deliberate and collective social control.â€ They both want to see the goods and services produced in an economy publicly owned and controlled and planned by a centralized organization. There are some important differences. â€œIn socialism, distribution should take place according to the amount of individuals’ production efforts, while communism asserts that that goods and services should be distributed among the populace according to individuals’ needs.â€ There is one distinction which needs to be given a great deal more of our attention. â€œCommunists assert that both capitalism and private ownership of means of production must be done away with as soon as possible in order to make sure a classless society, the communist ideal, is formed.â€ Socialists believe that socialism can exist in a capitalist society as long as the capitalism is controlled somehow by a centralized planning system. â€œWhere socialism generally aims to have as many people as possible influence how the economy works, communism seeks to concentrate that number into a smaller amount.â€
Whether our representatives or those behind their campaigns are deliberately moving our country in the direction of socialism or communism is not yet certain. That the goods and services produced by our people are being redistributed is without question. What they seem to be creating is a hybrid of sorts. It’s is sometimes referred to as neo-Marxism. The Elitists are striving to run a capitalist system using socialist dogma. While this is happening before our eyes, we can see the disaster of such a system created in Europe, which is moving away from this hybrid as evidenced by a move to the right on the European continent.
One reason for the disconnect between those with the financial means to campaign for and hold public office in Congress and those whom they represent is that those with extreme wealth see the world as their oyster. While many of us spend the majority of our time within 30 miles of our homes, the rich can afford homes all around the country or throughout the world. They have the money to travel anywhere and everywhere. This gives them an â€œinternational perspectiveâ€ (translate: Globalism). This diverges from the middle class, who see the world from a nationalist point of view (translate: Constitutional Republic), or those who grow up without the means to see anything beyond their local environment (translate: I don’t see how I benefit from either).
Those born into wealth manage portfolios. They don’t necessarily see the connection between the labor that allows for such wealth and their own material comforts. Those who live their lives outside of this privileged existence succeed or fail, depending on the type of poverty they are dealt and their ability to overcome their challenges. Most people appreciate assistance in helping them to help themselves, but none should ever be made to feel entitled to a particular existence. Today, as some in the wealthy class watch Congress spend taxpayer money indiscriminately and without concern for how it affects the stock market, they are becoming reeducated in the inherent value of a free market and government by and for the people. This provides an imperative to coin a new phrase, corporate liberty: capitalism unencumbered by the socialism inflicted on it by an elitist class. The elitist class, too, could fall outside the realm of privilege…and some find themselves facing a slippery slope.
It was with the understanding that an elitist group of people should not be making decisions on behalf of people whose views were not represented, that the Founders and Framers took on the daunting task of creating what can best be described as the cradle of liberty. While many of them held tremendous wealth themselves, they resented the idea that a government could take the fruits of their industry for its own use. Serving in Congress was an act of civic responsibility, unlike now, where its members (lacking in the intellectual surplus necessary to face today’s unique challenges) see their election to office as a license to destroy the basic premise of our government â€“a government by and for We the People.
It is time to start paying attention to what is happening to our country. A culmination and confluence of events brought us to the American Revolution and to the Civil War. We the People are beginning to wake from a stupor and to recognize that the abuse of power evidenced by the 111th Congress is staggering. There is a little understood reason for the right to keep and bear arms. We need to be reminded that the 2nd Amendment is to protect ourselves against the tyranny of those who misuse their governmental office.
Nancy Salvato is the President and Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for BasicsProject.org, a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country, specifically the threats of aggressive Islamofascism and the American Fifth Column. She serves as a Senior Editor for The New Media Journal. She received her BA in history from Loyola University and her M.Ed.in Early Childhood Education from National-Louis University. She is certified to teach in grades K-9 and 6-12 and as a teacher has worked with students in preschool, 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th grades. She has also worked as an adjunct instructor at the graduate school level. She continues to augment her education and areas of expertise by taking college courses and participating in a variety of workshops. She currently earns her living as the VP of Compliance and Program Expansion at a graduate school of education.