The past several months of my life have been exhausted in change; not just change within myself as a person, but real life change, such as, becoming a mother by proxy (i.e. essentially adoption, not biologically) and quitting my job to pursue my education at a university. These two things have drastically consumed my time and made me unable to formulate complete thought in the engaging and fascinating way I used to. Okay, let’s be honest, it was more chaos than fascination.
I’ve stumbled across a concept that I truly believed was far less prevalent that it actually is, until I was proven wrong but a plethora of students that contradicted my idea that maybe we are all inherently good and those bad eggs are just the ones who get attention in an attempt to make us feel as though we are all inherently bad. Perhaps I was wrong in the past, and we are more bad than good. Or perhaps my recent exposure to the shit moral values other people hold is the one that is misleading. Nevertheless, it absolutely boggles my mind how some people can think a certain way with no real understanding about the world before them.
The question was asked, “do we have a moral obligation to help those who are in need and less fortunate?” I would think the answer to this question is a common sense, no-brainer—yes. However, I was quickly smacked down in my thinking by the responses of many who’s answers were, astoundingly, “no.” No? How can this be? How can people think this way? In the recent months I have gotten to know, far more personally, my own struggle and the struggle of others and it’s become clearer and clearer that morality is related to one’s relationship with struggle itself. We use the idea of wealth inequality often, but it is the most crucial point to the idea that we owe nothing to anyone, often times relegating others to a death sentence by our greed and selfishness.
Poverty is not a self-made struggle. I am sure there are plenty of people who mismanaged their money, but there’s one glaring fact that people seem to dismiss when talking about those icky “poor people” – you have to have money in order to mismanage it. I have never met anyone who sacrificed feeding their family so they could buy new rims on their piece of shit Ford Explorer. That is what poverty is, by the way; a sacrifice. If you were to actually sit down and do the math, you would see that something needs to be sacrificed every single paycheck in order to survive. Whether it’s saying “I guess I don’t –really- need to pay that bill this week” or “how long can I ration potatoes until we go hungry,” you are sacrificing a part of your real-world existence in order to have something else you need. This is a systematic way of keeping people poor and unable to move forward. They simply do not have money to eat, let alone “mismanage.” The concept that these poor people are all lazy is also a fallacy. Statistics show that the majority of our poverty rates are from people who work full time for minimum wage.
This is a struggle, one of grave importance to the livelihoods of those around us. We are morally obligated to help those in need; to say that we aren’t is to ultimately decide that one person’s life is more important and more valuable than another’s—you’re simply BETTER than that poor person who needs food stamps to feed her child. That kind of egotistical, self-important and, in my opinion, evil mentality is exactly why the world is as fucked as it is now. It is not good enough to watch The Walking Dead and idolize the idea that every life matters, we have to live it in our daily lives. Maybe we can’t afford to send someone to college in order to gain them better employment, but at the very least we owe it to those who are less fortunate to at least think of them as people who are deserving of good quality life. How can we fight on behalf of freedom in oppressed countries while simultaneously saying we have no obligation to help those in need? How can people support an unjust war under the guise of morality, then turn around and shit on the single mother who works full time and still needs help? The hypocritical life stance doesn’t fly in the real world, and the reality of the situation is that success does not last forever and every single one of us, unless born millionaires, is going to plummet down into the sewers and need help to get back out.
This is a deep-rooted distancing from struggle; the epitome of morality, in my opinion. You cannot truly hold a moral standard unless you have a personal relationship with, at the very least, the idea of struggle and what that means for those around you, those in your communities and those sharing the world with you. Denying basic human dignity to people you may believe are “beneath” you is just a really shit way of approaching the world. And I, for one, am completely and utterly baffled that some hold these negative viewpoints. Quite frankly, it’s fucking disgusting.
Photo Source: america.aljazeera.com