Inequality – Blog Action Day #Blogactionday

We have another Blog Action Day upon us, one where I get to share in my little space my opinion or story about the main topic of the day. I hope some of you are writing and participating as well on this day, though I know it’s not going to come true because it never has before. Oh well…

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Today the topic is inequality; where do I begin? There’s so much of it and so many levels of it that if I tried tackling it all I’d either go nuts or wouldn’t be able to finish writing this at all. And since some of my posts are overwhelmingly large I don’t think we want that for this one.

The thing about inequality is that, for the most part, it’s not the majority that’s actually in charge. When first reading that it might look strange until you remember that the top 1% as far as wealth is concerned has more wealth than the combined wealth of the remaining 99%.

What this means is that if I just said, as I could, that white people have all the money and all the benefits in this country, I’d be wrong. Some of the poorest people in this country are white. Poverty doesn’t know color, it only knows inequality and limited options for getting out of it.

It also knows limits apply to women, who are 54% of the population and yet make 68% of what men make (or something around that figure; it’s always changing but it’s still low), which, though higher than minorities across the board, still isn’t fair.

And it’s not just in this country. Every single country has the same thing going on, where the elite are drastically in the minority but have all the power. Some might think that politics could change that but when it comes to who gets in office in those positions that really matter it’s all about money. The number of people in every country who are in top positions are all rich. In the United States, I don’t think there’s a single senator now who’s not a millionaire, or pretty close to one. You just can’t get there nowadays without lots of money. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere else, even in Communist countries.

There’s even inequality when you look at the critical jobs that our countries need and the money they make, although there’s really nothing one can do about that and, overall, I don’t have a major issue with it for reasons I won’t get into here. Law enforcement, teachers, people in the military, fire fighters… find a position that’s critical and also needs a lot of people and you’re going to find low pay and long hours and no possibility of getting it all done, let alone getting it all done properly.

For once I’m not sharing a story from my own life, although it would be easy to do. Have I seen it? Yup. Have I experienced it? Yup. So I could go down that road. Instead, I’d like to offer 3 ways to try to end inequality, which will never happen but I can dream right? Here we go:

Clampdown, We are the 99% (27 of 27)
Glenn Halog via Compfight

1. Level the playing field. What the world needs is more fairness, not necessarily equality. In essence, people need to get the same education, have the same chances at jobs, and have the same possibilities to live a better life. How does one do that? Raise the poverty level to a living wage, more training programs so more people have skills that don’t require full school educations, still work on creating better education based on real world needs for the majority of people and of course feed the poor so it’s one less thing they have to worry about. All this costs money, lots of it; ain’t happening is it?

2. Put a cap on yearly wealth for individuals and spread it around to others. This isn’t me hating on anyone but does any one person really need to be earning $10 billion dollars a year? For that matter how about $500 million a year? Put a cap on wealth with the caveat that if anyone reaches that cap and the rest is distributed, that person doesn’t pay any state or federal taxes, and if they use any of their faithfully earned income towards charitable causes they still qualify for refunds. What cap would I put on? No idea, though it would still be pretty high, and it doesn’t matter because it’s not happening.

3. Any company that has a salary difference between men and women or the majority within a country and its minority population of more than 15% has 3 years to reduce that or gets fined heavily, with half of that money going to the disenfranchised within the company and the rest to the country to fund diversity programs or things such as feeding the poor, funding bad schools, etc. And those fines have to be heavy so it behooves companies to get it done. I would make slight allowances for companies that employ a lot of mothers if they create daycare with medical benefits so that a big chunk of their income isn’t going to pay for those things.

As I said, none of this will happen, and I’m not even sure if it’s feasible, but it would go a long way towards reducing inequality all around the world. For now, I’ll say that I hope more people will do their part with the people they know and those they don’t know that live in their community to see what they can do to help. I’m on the board of an organization that works to protect the rights of the disabled and helps them live independently; that’s how I help, as it’s a group that definitely suffers from inequality in a major way.

What are you doing to help?
 

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Blog Action Day 2013 – Human Rights

Today is Blog Action Day, an event that I’ve participated in a few times over the years and one that I’m having a say on once again this year. The only thing I won’t be doing this year is helping to promote the event on Twitter because by the time this posts I’ll be in a board meeting at a convention in New Orleans, hoping there will be something for me to eat.


Courtesy of
www.blogactionday.org

In previous years, the topics I participated on were poverty, food and the power of “we” on this blog, and also addressing poverty and food on my business blog. This year I’m only writing on this blog, and the subject is human rights.

This is a much different topic to address than in previous years because anything that personally touches me is more through anecdotal items than personal history. Even though I was born in the south in 1959, when Jim Crow laws were still in effect and outside of the military base my parents had to look for “colored” whenever they wanted water or a bathroom or places to eat but being young I don’t remember that. I don’t remember when my parents had to drive through some states or pull over to the side of the road to catch some sleep because there were hotels where black people weren’t allowed to stay. Sure, I had some incidences when I was a little younger of being pulled over without knowing why, but could I prove that my human rights had been violated? Nope, and I was never arrested and always allowed to move on.

Is there still racism? Absolutely, to the extent that even now in the 2010’s there have to be resolutions in Congress to extend the Voting Rights Act; are you kidding me? Also, there’s never been any movement in passing a rights bill for women and, oh, the commotion in passing one for gender rights. At least the government finally saw fit to pay for past discrimination against Asian Americans, black and Latino farmers, and some native American communities, but there’s still so far to go.

And yet, this isn’t an issue that only involves America. This past week we had the story of Malala, a Pakistani girl who only wanted to get an education and was shot by the Taliban for it because she’s female. We’ve heard stories of rapes and acid being thrown in the faces of young women for trying to learn; can you imagine?

We hear of stories of rape in countries like India and South Africa, and legal punishments against women in places like Saudi Arabia and many other countries too numerous too mention because men decide that women aren’t really people, per se, less than human, thus they get raped and then go to jail for enticing men; wow…

We hear of countries like Syria unleashing poisonous gas on its own citizens and are reminded that Slobodan Milošević did the same thing against his own people back in the 90’s and that Saddam Hussein also engaged in the practice. These days we know all the bad things the Taliban and Al Qaeda do against anyone who’s not them and doesn’t believe as they do, all in the name of “religion”; phooey! For that matter we might as well group the people in this country who hide behind religion to abuse and disavow rights to those who aren’t like them; just because they’re not carrying bombs around doesn’t give them a free pass.

Where I linked above when I mentioned human rights is what’s called the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, which has 30 points of view that they’re calling articles that they believe should be incorporated by the United Nations to protect the human rights of people around the world. All of them are equally good, but for me #3 stands out, and it’s the one I’m closing this article on, and hope all of you believe as I do:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
 

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Blog Action Day – Food

Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic is food, or lack thereof. To preface this, it’s kind of a worldwide event where there will be lots of bloggers talking about this particular subject. I don’t quite remember how it all works, but I think there will be a central place where everyone that writes on the topic will be listed so they can connect with each other in some fashion. You’d think I would remember since I’ve done this in the past, but I skipped last year for some reason. No matter; I’m back now.

As the price of food has gone up pretty much everywhere around the world, we find that not only are most of us not getting out of our dollars the amount of food and consumables we’ve gotten before, but places such as the Food Bank, which helps feed those who need meals, along with many other charities, are suffering. The strange thing is that even now, the United States produces enough food to feed the world many times over, yet we don’t do it. Why?

I think a major part of it, at least in this country, is regulation. Restaurants really aren’t allowed to donate food unless they cook it fresh. Probably almost every restaurant in the country has food it has to throw away instead of donating it to a shelter that could use it the next day. I know that food court restaurants throw out a lot of food. Many years ago, when I worked a part time job at a gas station that had a retail store, at a certain time of the night we had to throw away food. Sometimes I’d eat a couple of things, but that was rare; however, it was a free meal, and I’m thinking it was still pretty good and thus could have been donated in some fashion.

When it comes to the world… well, that’s a different thing entirely. We have tariffs to deal with that help some countries compete when they’d probably lose out to richer nations, and we have some countries with high tariffs just “because”. Then we have countries like Somalia where, if we try to get them food, the powers that be, with their corrupt selves, keep it for the leadership, and won’t allow help to come into the country to make sure the food gets to those who really need it.

Goodness, countries like India, which is fairly industrialized, have problems getting food to many of its people, and when you have a billion people hanging around, that’s not good. I hear that there are parts of China and North Korea where the same things occur. I guess it would make sense since even in the United States we find people all over who can’t get a meal. Sure, some aren’t looking to help themselves, but I’m thinking that’s not the most compassionate way of looking at things.

On this Blog Action Day I use my blog to highlight the issue, whether I fully know all the implications or not. People are starving, and if all you can do is the same thing I do, that being to ask the people at the counter of our local grocery store to swipe the little ticket that’s next to the cash register so I can donate a tiny bit of cash that will feed someone, then at least do that. It all helps.
 

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Blog Action Day – Poverty

As I decided to participate in this event, I sent a message to many of my friends and business associates, asking those who had blogs to participate in some fashion, and asking those who didn’t to read about it and possibly find another way to be a part of it.

Ethiopia
Creative Commons License Steve Evans
via Compfight

I had one of my friends write back and ask me not to send her things like this, saying she didn’t believe in things like this, calling people who do anti-liberal-democrat crazies. I was sort of stunned by that, because I don’t see the topic of poverty as a political one. However, knowing her background, she’s someone who’s never had to struggle, nor worry about whether she was going to miss a meal or not be able to buy something she wanted, and probably has never known anyone who has. I’ve been there, but we hadn’t spoken for a long time when I was going through my little period of near poverty, which I wrote about on this post awhile back.

I’ve had periods of financial strife in my life, but I always knew that I could find a way out of it in some fashion. As a last resort, I could always decide to give up my freedom and my pride and live with my parents; at least back in the day I could, while I was still single, which is when I had my problems. I don’t think it qualifies as true poverty because I always had options; some people never have that option in their entire lives, so even at my lowest point, I had opportunities that would never be afforded them.

On my other blog, in my post on this same subject, I said that I haven’t volunteered as much as I probably should have in my life. I may not have volunteered, but I have worked in a place where many of the people who came live in poverty, and worry every day about whether or not they’ll have meals for their children, or clothes to put on their back, and wonder if the schools they send their children to are sufficient enough to give them a chance that they themselves never had.

I worked at a community health center for 2 ½ years. It was one of the jobs I got to help me get my life back in order back in 1993. The health center is on the edge of an area that’s not quite known as a slum or ghetto, but it is impoverished in its own way, and a very dangerous place to be at night. At an event back in 2003, while giving a presentation, I asked every participant in the room who had been four blocks south of our present location to try to do business, and not a single one of them raised their hands. In a way, it’s the forgotten area of town, only five blocks from the beginning of downtown.

The health center caters to everyone. However, the overwhelming majority of the people who come don’t have much money, if any money at all. Most of them are on Medicaid, which is a good thing. Many physicians across the country won’t see Medicaid patients, which leaves the health center with an almost exclusive clientele. At least 10% to 15% of those who come don’t have any insurance at all; at least half of those either live in one of the missions or is homeless in some other way. I know this because I used to register many of the people who came in.

Many of the people who visit the health center don’t come in cleaned up as if they were going to church. Odd as that sounds, when I was a child, even when I was really sick, my mother made sure to take the time to bathe me in some fashion, even if it was an alcohol bath, put me in clean, ironed clothes, and made me presentable before I could see a doctor. Yet, the directive of the health center is that every patient who comes in gets treated the same, with dignity and fairness, as if they were rich enough to go anywhere in the city or the country. Sometimes it was hard; there are a lot of people who have chips on their shoulder and don’t want to be treated nice. Other times, all they want is for someone to listen to them, give them a little bit of courtesy, and if you can make them laugh or feel comfortable in some way, you may help to make their day and week seem just a little bit nicer.

That’s pretty much the point I want to make in this particular post. Statistics say that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Truth be told, it really doesn’t take a lot to help those who don’t have as much as others life a better life. Even in our presently bad economy, there are some things that could help.

One, there’s plenty of food in the world, so much so that a lot of it is destroyed to keep prices regulated. Scrap that; pass it on to nonprofit organizations around the world to get people fed.

Two, let’s do what we can to stem the tide of poverty as it pertains to education. Without education, almost no one will ever have the chance to be something better than they are. Not everyone needs history and the like, but everyone needs to know how to read and how to do math. Even without homework or without enough books, this can be done.

Three, let’s get people working, and not slave labor jobs either. Every major city in the world has projects that need to be worked on. Contract with companies that agree to have at least 25% to 50% of the workforce on these projects coming from certain neighborhoods of the city, and give them a bonus if they provide childcare.

Four, hire people who work with and help those in need that have some compassion in their soul and a real yearn to install a sense of honor in people who may not be used to being treated with respect in their lives. Tone down the rhetoric against those who don’t have much; they didn’t ask for it.

I’m glad to have this opportunity to have my say on Blog Action Day. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write for this blog, or how I wanted to end. So, I’ve decided to end with this little video:

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Blog Action Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Blog Action Day. Its purpose is to highlight the problem and issue of poverty around the world. A Blog Action Day, at http://blogactionday.org, has been set up to help track everyone who says they’re going to participate in this action.

I’ve decided not only to participate, but I’m going to write a different post for each blog tomorrow, which is the 15th, in case you’re reading this from elsewhere. One might think this would be a hard topic to address, but I’ve seen poverty, even if I can’t honestly say it’s in my personal background. But some family members have had to deal with this, and I was actually personally touched by it in my life, so I’ll have my say, and hopefully it’ll help make a difference in some way.

For an idea of what your page might look like, though I’m certainly not going to this kind of extreme, check out this post. By the way, you can also donate money to the cause or help promote it in other ways also. Just click on that first link above.

Why not take a stand and have a say? I hope all of you participate in some way.

Waterman Elegance Rollerball Pen Ivory Gt






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