Saturday, November 05, 2011

"Look at the Poor" -- 1973

I felt sorry for myself when we went broke and I had to get a job I didn't especially enjoy et cetera. On Nov. 7, 1973, Richard Nixon was about to announce austerity measures, and I wrote:

"I'll bet that all over this country there are mothers washing their family's dinner dishes with tight mouths, furious with impotence over the state the men have gotten this country into.

"Before he even opens his mouth tonight, we know that Mr. Nixon is going to impose rationing that will slightly inconvenience rich people while at the same time hurting poor people very badly.

"Look at the poor. We have no lawn sprinklers, automatic garage doors. We have no fancy offices with someone answering our phone. We don't have three refrigerator-freezers, two color TVs. We don't even have carpeting on our floors.

"Yet I hear on the radio that MY children might have to go to an unheated school and MY children might not be able to have lights on the Christmas tree!

"We live in a tiny house, with our four children. We do have an upstairs, which is unheated. Our refrigerator was manufactured before World War II.

"And the president flies his fancy plane to Camp David and uses plenty of energy taping everybody's conversations. Did the White House go without meat when prices went up? Is Pat Nixon putting patches on last year's jeans? Oh sure, they were poor once!" [Her children, believe me, went to a well-heated private school; Denny's Cousin Florence was their teacher at Chapin. The worst rich people are the ones who were once poor!]

"So, plenty of women are furious with our hands in soapy water tonight. Many of us have just put in a full day's work [and lucky to get it] before coming home to clean the house and cook dinner and wash up pots and dishes, then read to the children and after putting them to bed do laundry. Many of us moms are alone, either because we have no man to help us or because our man must work nights to make ends meet. And the thing that makes us so mad is that we KNOW what this country needs. What this country needs is a good mother!

"Would a mother eat and let her kids go hungry? Would a mother let the big kids muscle in and take the most of everything while the little ones cried from cold and hunger? She makes sure everyone gets a fair share, including the weak and the sick."

But you can't say that about the country needing to make sure people play fair because the oligarchs will come back with "socialism nanny state class warfare," whatever BULLYING phrases they're being fed from somewhere by people who are the opposite of poor.

In 1973 you had a chance, and real estate was still reasonable compared to what you could earn. Today's (2011) poor are worse off. Many have no job, no house (although I read in the paper many have a TV in their kid's bedroom). I completely don't know how people get by. I have lost touch with all that -- thank God -- but still relate to furious frustration that today's rich rail and scream against inconvenience while "devouring widow's houses," as George Bernard Shaw wrote, quoting I think the prophet Amos.

Vote vote vote vote vote in your gerrymandered-by -Republicans districts! And keep on organizing you young protesters!


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