Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Lonely Poverty

The Lonely Poverty of America's White Working Class

Yeah, I complain a lot about being poor on here. It's not easy.

"The larger context of this isolation and alienation is America’s culture of individualism. It, too, can worsen the despair. Taken to an extreme, self-reliance becomes a cudgel: Those who falter and fail have only themselves to blame. They should have gotten more education. They should have been more prepared. On this score, too, the U.S. deviates from other wealthy nations. America’s frontier spirit of rugged individualism is strong, and it manifests itself differently by race and education level, too. White Americans, for instance, are more likely to see success as the result of individual effort than African Americans are (though not Hispanics). The less educated, particularly less-educated whites, also share this view to a disproportionate degree."

They are right about the isolation and alienation in the American culture of individualism. Get out your bootstraps! As they destroy the job market and options to survive, they have told us at the same time, "It's all your fault!". What a set up! I believe while other races suffer more hideous things, including racism itself, among whites being poor, it can mean more shame especially if we were born into a higher class and sunk down the ladder. The attitudes are different in some minority communities, more people admit the system is broken, they do not see the poor as at fault but the outcome of injustice in society.

"As organized labor in this country has withered, an extreme individualism has stepped in as the alternative—a go-it-alone perspective narrowly focused on getting an education and becoming successful on one’s own merit. This works well for some, but for others—especially the two-thirds of Americans over the age of 25 who don’t have a bachelor’s degree—it often means getting mired in an economy of contract work, low pay, and few, if any, benefits. These prospects suggest that this is an age of diminished expectations for the working class."

I am a huge union supporter. The extreme individualism has lent itself to extreme social Darwinism and all those libertarian types. Yes some unions went corrupt but the working man has been oppressed via the destruction of unions. The contract work is being foisted on the college educated now too.

This is one thing that hasn't hit the notice of the chattering classes. It's impacting the college crowd too. They are downgrading and outsourcing everything. Even the pay for transcription and some online work my husband does has gone down in the last few years. This is the outcome of globalization. There's only contract work, lowering pay and no benefits.

"Yet there is clearly more to the despair of the working class than empty wallets and purses. Patches of the social fabric that once supported them, in good times and bad, have frayed. When asked in national surveys about the people with whom they discussed “important matters” in the past six months, those with just a high-school education or less are likelier to say no one (this percentage has risen over the years for college graduates, too). This trend is troubling, given that social isolation is linked to depression and, in turn, suicide and substance abuse. "

 Often the working class are forced to move often, trying to move up, trying to get decent jobs, or even just to survive.  Moving all the time breaks social ties. Definitely. When you are poor in America, the culture here is one of shame and being hidden away. The poor are hidden away, always at the side of life. Some of us fake it and "pretend" but then you can't really talk about your life in depth with people. You nod and smile as they talk about vacations, shopping and other pursuits. The cultural precepts are that if you are poor, you HIDE IT. My real life does not share the outspokenness on this blog.

The poor especially in white American culture, are trained to hide their distress. Sure you can tell very close friends but even there you can be hurt and told if you end up with any false friends, that your emotions and faults have bought you the poverty to begin with. Poor people are told, "If you only you tried harder", If only you weren't so afraid", If only you made better choices". You are told over and over that you are a "bad" person in various ways. I've heard it all!

We saw this happening to other communities where no prospects for jobs and severe poverty destroyed inner city lives. I remember telling people years ago after my time in the ghetto, that when the USA economy continued it's descent, that family-break-up, gangs, depression, and drug-use would become prevalent everywhere else.

The common factor I saw in my social work travels, was economic hopelessness. It was part of my own life too. They were told to "try harder" too and were the canaries in the coal mine for the coming economic devastation that very few listened to.  The elites have unleashed the dogs of oppression now on the white working class that was more reserved for other groups. Sadly some are lined up thinking a racist sociopathic billionaire will save them! Others don't realize that the politicians are all about lining their pockets, and that both parties support and advocate the globalism that has destroyed the USA economy.

This sort of isolation was common among the people I talked to. Many said their faith was helping them get through their ongoing troubles, yet they rarely or never went to church. Some felt ashamed to be around people because they were out of work. For others, their religious belief was somewhat a source of self-help, rather than a source of community. For example, one of the workers I interviewed said that being out of work for so long had filled him with a constant rage. To calm his mind, every night he would pick up his Bible and read a dozen verses. He had given up on the church and what he described as its superficial ways. “I want to go to hear the Word—I don’t want to go to see what you’re wearing,” says the man, 53 and from Flint, Michigan. The other way he copes is going outside for a smoke.

This article admits that isolation.  I noticed in this article they said many had faith but no longer went to church. That is definitely is my experience. While there is some charity to be had in the church world mostly given to the "OTHER" instead of those within the church body, most of the evangelical world is invested in shaming and oppressing the poor, with their love of Republican politicians who have brainwashed them to believe poor people are failures, and "immoral".

The churches are geared towards the middle class and above and focused on getting tithes for the middle class and above pastors to maintain their lifestyles. I understand the rage of the guy turning to the Bible. Being poor can make you angry, and the longer it lasts the more frustrated you get. The feelings of low self esteem and being called a "loser" can mix into a toxic stew of rage, and despair.  It puts even the most strong Christian to the test. One reason Walter White was so appealing to the masses is because there is a guy who literally got barrels of money but then if Walter White was real, he definitely would be burning in hell. I am glad God's Word has helped him in calming down. There is a lot in the Bible about how the wicked prosper in this world and how oppression of the poor is a given but give the poor hope to press on. If not for my Bible or God, I'd probably be across the street now getting drunk at the bar with my few last dollars or would have given up.

One form of social support that many in the working class are going without is marriage. I’m reminded of another worker I interviewed, a jobless 54-year-old white woman who used to work at a Ford plant. Her husband left her, she says, when the paychecks stopped coming. “Jesus Christ,” she told him once. “I didn’t think that our relationship was based on the amount of money that I brought in.” Unable to pay her mortgage, she lost her home and had to move in, as she puts it, with a “man friend.” She is depressed, unable to sleep at night, and constantly worried about falling into poverty. “I’m a loser,” she says.

Marriage is under extreme stress when you are poor. Many poor people cannot find mates. I have been told to divorce because my husband is so poor, and to get someone who can really support me and who has a stable income. Those messages hurt more then they helped.

Some people will leave people over poverty and seeing no future, hoping to find a mate that will give them a chance at a "better life" I have seen many divorces happen because women were unhappy with men who faced chronic unemployment and/or unemployment. Many men who cannot find secure work, never marry and now this can apply to women as well. I feel sad for this woman above, I have heard these stories over and over. I noticed the "family-first" evangelicals ignore this stuff, they never look at the broken jobs as a causation for the failing families but they are.

"But it’s important to note that there is an economic dimension to these trends, too—as the frequent separations and divorces I saw among the long-term unemployed made plain to me. Those struggling financially are less likely to follow the traditional path of first comes marriage, then comes a baby. And if they do choose to get married, there is little room for unemployment. As the Detroit man who lost his job told me, he and his wife split up “because she’s working, and … I don’t have any money coming in.” They had been fighting over finances even before he lost his job, he points out, but the arguments grew more heated afterward. In a lone-wolf economy, as sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas have argued, why take a chance on a partner down on his luck when you’re just barely surviving yourself?"

The constant stress over finances never let up even for the closest of married couples.  Men especially face despair and divorce when unemployment comes knocking. This is something influencing society in a very detrimental way.

"For this man and many like him, there is no one to talk to, no one to rely on. “Nowadays, you got people you really can’t trust, man,” he says. “You can’t call everybody your friend.” As the ties that bind them to others have unraveled, the working class has become an ever lonelier crowd."

Many condemn the poor for having made "bad" life choices. There's many forces in society covering up what is really happening with the fake unemployment rates and articles about the economy improving. While our "two-party plutocracy" will talk about those who failed and didn't prepare, the fact of the matter is, they are profiting off the betrayal of the working class. They want the poor alone and silent.


  1. The politics of envy will continue to drive the political process forever I am guessing. It just works too well garnering votes. Elect me and I will take from them and give to you. What "it" is and who "they" are never gets clearly defined It's not really an indicator of the moral fiber of voters. Just a balance sheet to dangle over our heads to give us the appearance of freedom of choice.

    1. They build the "envy" up calling the poor "losers" and disenfranchising them and sorry to say as Trump voters blame the inner city poor [he is correct about some of the endless immigration being a problem] the other side, desiring to tax the middle class or small business owner into oblivion is not a real answer either. The elite love that divide and conquer Machivellian thing. I think even the cries for Democratic Socialism will fail as it is failing for Europe and as the loyalty to individual nation states among the ultra rich and mega-corporations has broken down for the lies and concentrated powers of globalism,

      The left solutions will fail because with no good middle class and above jobs, there is no tax base to sustain things. Their globalist solutions have helped build some of the impoverishment.

      The right solution will fail, because with no good jobs, wiping away the safety nets is idiocy. The Republican party needs to get smart because they will die simply from the numbers of voter's in their financial strata is getting lower. The young definitely aren't going Republican when they can't even get a job to save their life that actually buys a home or builds a life.

      Sadly these are the times in history when the elite are mostly likely to choose "war" as their solution.

    2. Of course technological advancement making many jobs obsolete is a huge elephant in the living room barely being discussed.

  2. Of course Trumps success being subsidized by his father never gets mentioned. He pulled himself up by his Jimmy Choo's

    1. Agree. He plays off like he is a Horatio Alger type but his father was very wealthy.

  3. Dear Peeps and Friends, nearing 60, I grew up hearing the tea-party rubbish - and believed their covertly vicious talk. Went no contact because..?

    1. I am glad you see through it Sue. It's horrible. The Republican party may die because there may not be enough people comfortable enough to be Tea Party anymore.

  4. You complain about everything. Everything. Every time I read your blog I want to kill myself, your depression is so powerful I wonder if it's infectious. Don't misunderstand: I have a soft heart, I am empathetic. But you are utterly joyless. You take yourself, and others, so terribly seriously I would imagine your teeth are ground to nubs. You give non-entities like Marilyn Wann, a pink-haired simpleton with a big mouth and no platform, power and substance she never earned. Find your joy, your passion. Create. Write, but without the tearcloths. Everything in life is not a tragedy. Yes life is hard. We all have pain and loss that leave us breathless. I watched in awe as a sickly beaked man with progeria talked about joy and never complained. You are here, you are alive. You are articulate. Create, make something, do something that gives you joy. Become a writer--use your pain to make something beautiful. Do you want to be remembered for your harsh critique of the world? "It is not what happens, but to whom." -ST

    1. You asked me "Do you want to be remembered for your harsh critique of the world?"

      The answer is YES, I do.

      Hmm you may need to call for emergency counseling if a mere blog is making you feel that way.

      I am not some suck up to "the system" you hold in your heart to be so dear. I am called in this life to stand against injustice and against what is happening to fat people so if you don't like it, tough. My life is not your life. Go create and write your "insipid art" that conforms and quit telling me what to do or what art to create. It's my choice not yours. I'm done letting narcs tell me what to do. Anyone who has to tell us how empathetic and soft hearted they are usually are NOT. I was not put on this earth for your narcissistic supply. You are a narc alone even in your arrogance in telling another human being what to write about and do. It's none of your business. The internet has plenty of pictures of puppies and unicorns you can look at to feel better. I must have pressed a button of some sort on the last article regarding Marilyn Wann. Some sure don't like the truth.

  5. Hey narc,

    Get off your high horse and leave Peep alone! Get a life yourself before you criticize somebody else! You sound like a miserable drivel who have nothing better to do than posting trolling, narcish comments in order to rile people up.

    If you don't like what she said, please get off her blog! Stop telling her what to write or how to produce her arts. She is not there to meet your narc supplies. Oh, and don't use your narc supplies to bully her or other bloggers! You bully, narcish drivel!

    1. Thanks anon, A narc telling someone to write without tear clothes is messed up beyond belief. Most of the great art of the world is borne out of pain. What a nut! I guess she would tell the guy who wrote Les Miserables to named it The Happy Perky Crew. Also people like this hate anyone who speaks against injustice and they give the poor bootstrap crap. Even the "you must be an inspiration or else" disability talk about the progeria man is nauseating! Narcs don't appreciate beauty. That's probably how she missed the art photos and other posts on this blog. They wouldn't know real art in a million years. Artists aren't a bunch of conforming narcs who do fake smiley faces and pretend BS, we go deep and well some narcs can't handle it obviously can they? Yeah we are not there for their narcissistic supplies. I'm not surprised she picked a poverty post to post her drivel on. Probably spits on some homeless every chance she gets or tells the guy sitting on the curb to "be more positive". These narcs are so arrogant, they want to tell everyone else what to do. As for their own "positive" advice, the fact they treat people like crap, means they are liars through and through.

  6. To the anonymous genius above:

    >"Do you want to be remembered for your harsh critique of the world?"<

    There's no lack of bullshit to criticize, given all the out of whack, stuff they've gotten folks to accept (one of my favorites being the phrase, "temporary government jobs," which I actually saw being advertised when I went to renew my license last year).

    If more people had stood up and opened their mouths, maybe things would be different, maybe not -- but if we don't take that first step, we'll never know.

    Times are tough for anybody who doesn't make a lot of money, so today's art and commentary demands a vastly different response than trotting out moon-June-spoon love songs and Hallmark greeting card-ish verse that only deals with nature and gardening.

    So that's what I see Peep doing, and doing quite well -- whether you agree with it or not is quite beside the point. The fact that she got under your skin only underscores the obvious: you lost the argument before it even started. Enough said.

    1. Thanks anon. I agree there's no lack of BS to criticize. The person who posted this just sounds like another spoiled head in sand type, "nothing to see here". They are the types who enable evil and support every evil agenda that's out there. The kind that rally against the poor on behalf of the bankers, saying things like "I got mine Jack, why don't you smile more?!" Even consider the insanity of a woman [guessing here] coming here and telling a disabled woman, "You're not enough of an inspiration" The way she views the disabled is beyond patronizing including the man with progeria. [Like they are supposed to be there for her entertainment]

      So someone like that wouldn't open their mouth, we will get the "think positive", "Smile be happy" orders. I doubt this person is that happy as much as they use that as a hammer to attempt to shame people.

      Thanks for saying I am doing things well. I agree they lost the argument before it even got started. Of course expecting anything of depth from a narcissist is never going to happen. Thanks.

  7. That guy sure complains loud about you complaining 20 bucks say he has never published an original thought in his life. He/she/it she just goes around nitpicking the work of others. Was his unicorn puppy comment for real?
    Blogging is not only cheap it's free let him show us his constructive dynamic. It won't cost him a penny but he can't hide behind his mama's apron strings and take shots at people who not put their money where their mouth is but their thoughts and feelings. It's free smart ass and that's still more than you are willing to pay.

    1. LOL the unicorn puppy comment was my sarcasm. I mean they told me my art is too dark. I guess I better go delete all those gothic butterfly pictures! LOL

      I doubt they have published an original thought in their life either. Why would there be one in conformity land? They can write a blog of their own. The world sure needs another housewife blog with bad nature poetry. LOL :p

  8. hear that?
    That's the sound of no body caring.

  9. Your comments are uninspiring and depressing. I found your demands very narcish. Since I read your comments that have been making me feel sick and riling me up, I want to gag and barf. I also find your comments uninspiring and depressant, and your demands of platitudes, flowery stuff, and false positive thinking crap empty and soulless.

    If Peep writes these positive-thinking prose containing some airy, soullless, flowery language, I would not have visited her page. I have no time for useless pages that you so desire to read. Platitudes, empty prose, and airy stuffs are so meaningless to me that I have no energy or time reading them, as I have been reading thousands of pages of documents, books, and primary sources for my thesis so I could tell you that I do not have the time or energy to read empty, airy, meaningless prose that you so desired to read in order to stay alive.

    Why don't you get a head check if you want to so much to kill yourself? Call a crisis center if you really you want to die. Really? If you choose to jack off and die, it is your prerogative, not Peep or anybody who refuse to meet your narc supplies. Oh, if your brain will explode from reading Peep's blogs, something is clearly wrong with you! You know what, you are a malignant narc. You just showed us a perfect example of what narcs would say to people like us. Thank you for writing so people could see what narcs would say to ACONs who write about you and your fellow narcs. Hallelujah!

  10. I find her comments uninspiring and depressing too and it is an example of a narc isn't it? She wants positive thoughts and puppy dogs and unicorns. How dare you write about anything real or something that may get her to think too much? Narcs are always fake with their fake smiles and laughter, so what do they know of positivity, because they will laugh with you one minute and then stab a person in the back the next. They are liars even when it comes to being "positive" or telling a person to focus on good things.

    They do live in a platitude world. Some simply have been spoiled and think everyone else has had their easy lives of loving families, secure incomes and good health. They expect everyone to think just like them. They live in a surface world where the people who dive deeper into emotions and more anger and threaten them. That's the real problem here, she doesn't want any real feelings or talk. Just like other narcs who only care about appearances. They desire soul-less art that will sell the masses, empty prose and dead poetry and writings, I bet she never has written a thing in her entire life. Opening one's heart and soul doesn't happen in narcland and one would only see a dead burnt out lump of coal they have for a heart.

    I hope she gets help if a mere blog is driving her to depression and calls a crisis center. The counselors may be able to provide anti-depressants but not fix what's wrong with her soul. I do hope this person doesn't meet any real depressed people because she will only hurt them probably as she considers herself their savior or something, after all she has all the answers. Clam up and smile and be fake, that is her message. No thanks! I think it is definitely a good example of malignant narcissism and how they can twist things, they pretend to "care" but the blackness of their hearts shine through. People can tell when art and words have no soul and only have arrogance behind them. Some seem to think their works and appearances will save them. Well they don't.

    1. One thing about narcs is they always seek to "control" people and tell them what to say, do, think and be. They do not want authenticity. They will kick someone in the face if they offer any vulnerability or realness. I feel sorry for someone who thinks they have to go through life impressing others and being this "strong" stoic of no emotions and fake platitudes and smiles. People who are fake and do the fake positive crap hurt others more. I'd rather a depressed friend who was real and crying everyday then a fake smiling at me and lying. Notice even her original post was all about her self. "Your posts make ME depressed!" It's all about the narc supply!