Living in poverty in the “richest” nation in the world sucks. Knowing that you are working as hard as you can, with the jobs available to you in the situation that you are in, yet nothing you can do will give your family — or you — the “merry season” that the commercials pimp in advertisement after advertisement; promising joy from the stuff you can get in wrappers of reds and greens and silvers. Stuff that, for the working American poor, seems to scream, “You are a failure, something is wrong with you! Look what everyone else can afford and no matter what you do it isn’t enough.” The brilliant mind behind Liberal Warrior’s Free For All has a powerful message for all of us living the life of the working poor.
When you are poor, looking around you at the opulence of most people’s celebrations, even knowing full well many of them will have to scrimp and belt tighten for a few months to make up for their holiday expenditures, it is depressing in a way that actually makes December and January very deadly for those suffering already from depression.
The message we hear is this: you live in America, if you worked hard enough you could afford the same stuff as those working jobs that pay well.
People look at the poor, signing their kids up for gifts from charitable groups, and think they are lazy – even though we know most work full time plus in jobs that don’t pay living wages. They see us getting food packages from other charitable groups and feeling grateful for anything we get, even though quite often it is freezer burnt or strange to our kitchens – yet still we feel guilty for needing to ask for it. Using your EBT food benefits, if you have them, to buy overpriced food gifts for their family and oranges, candy canes, lifesavers and peanuts to fill stockings (when the neighbor kids will be getting iPods and Gift Cards) in an effort to let your children feel a little holiday cheer in a competitive world.
We, the working poor, feel like we are broken, somehow deficient in our efforts, somehow at fault for the fact that – in this land of plenty – we are lacking in the ability to purchase it. We feel like we aren’t working hard enough, even knowing that unless “they” suddenly add another 40 hours to our week there is nothing more we can do.
This Blogger’s powerful message to the poor is something we all need to read:
Featured image via Pixabay (altered)