[tabi] Re: article by Leonard Pitts

  • From: "Joe Plummer" <joeplummer@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 10:33:14 -0500

This is just so true! Good article.

JP ( Joe Plummer)

-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Chip Orange
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 4:22 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] article by Leonard Pitts

I hope everyone will read the article below, and understand that all of the
points Leonard Pitts makes about "the poor" can be said of the "blind" as
well.  He's absolutely right when he speaks of our own issues dividing us,
so that we argue with one another rather than with those who are not in our
It's not only the analogy which is so pertinent here, most blind people are
also poor, and so this article speaks to them on multiple levels.  I hope
you find his writing as moving as I did.
Leonard Pitts: S. Carolina candidate breeding contempt for the poor
8:42 PM Friday, January 29, 2010

If he'd said it of Jews, he would still be apologizing.
If he'd said it of blacks, he'd be on BET, begging absolution.
If he'd said it of women, the National Organization for Women would have his
turning slowly on a spit over an open flame.
But he said it of the poor, so he got away with it.
"He" is South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, running for governor on the GOP
Speaking of those who receive public assistance, he recently told an
audience, "My
grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small
child to
quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You're
the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will
especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what
you've got
to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any
You read that right. The would-be governor of one of the poorest states
there is
likens the poor to stray animals.
And though it drew some newspaper notice, a riposte from "The Daily Show"
and rebukes
from Bauer's opponents, it never quite rose to the level of national
as it would've had Bauer compared, say, women or Jews to the dogs one feeds
at one's
back door.
The relative silence stands as eloquent testimony to the powerlessness and
of the American poor.
One is reminded how earnestly shocked news media were at the poverty they
saw five
years ago when New Orleans drowned. "Why didn't they get out?" observers
kept asking
- as if everyone has a car in the driveway and a wallet full of plastic.
The poor fare little better on television. The Evanses of "Good Times" and
the Conners
from "Roseanne" aside, television has been heavily weighted toward
middle- and upper-class families for 60 years.
Politicians? They'll elbow one another aside to pledge allegiance to the
middle class;
they are conspicuously less eager to align with those still trying to reach
Who, then, speaks for the poor? Who raises a voice when they are scapegoated
marginalized? Who cries out when they are abused by police and failed by
Who takes a stand when they are exploited by employers and turned away by
As near as I can tell, no one does.
Unfortunately, poor people have never learned to think of and conduct
as a voting bloc; historically, they have proved too readily divisible,
usually by
As Martin Luther King once observed: "If it may be said of the slavery era
that the
white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of
the Reconstruction
era that the Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the "poor" white
man Jim
Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty
could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that
no matter
how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man."
It takes some helluva psychology to get two men stuck in the same leaking
boat to
fight one another. You'd think their priority would be to come together, if
long enough to bail water.
But the moneyed interests in this country have somehow been able to con the
into doing just that, fighting tooth and nail when they ought to be standing
to shoulder.
One hopes Andre Bauer's words will provide a wakeup call - in South Carolina
elsewhere - for people who have been down too long and fooled too often,
that it
will encourage them to organize their votes, raise their voices, push their
into the public discourse.
In America, one is invisible and powerless only so long as one chooses to
And the Bauers of this world need to know: sometimes stray animals bite.
Leonard Pitts Jr. writes for the Miami Herald. E-mail address:

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