I have noticed some people have a tendency to try to underestimate poverty in the United States. These people try to make United States poverty out as mostly an illusion. They seem to most often think that “liberals” try to play with the numbers to make it seem like many people live in poverty when the people actually live comfortable lives.
The myth that widespread poverty does not really exist in the United States seems utterly absurd to me. The people perpetuating the myth could easily see the falsehood of it by simply driving down an inner-city street. But I suppose many people would choose not to drive around in those dangerously poor neighborhoods. On the same token, I wonder if they have ever watched any of the many movies displaying United States poverty such as Boyz N the Hood–one of my personal favorites.
You do not need the numbers and statistics to see the widespread poverty in the United States.
I understand the desire of people to point out the contrast between the United States and “third world” communities so desolate that the majority of people live in huts with dirt floors, where watching others literally starve to death becomes a daily routine. I can see that the hungry children in the United States have a better situation than those who starve to death.
However, in some ways, I find United States poverty even more disgusting than “third world” poverty. Something makes me even sicker at the thought of hungry kids suffering right down the road from a grocery store overstocked with food. The social juxtaposition of overabundance and poverty in the United States–the most socioeconomically unequal country in the world–in some ways bothers me more than the harsher devastation of people who live in nations with so little. In some ways, I get more disturbed by poor people suffering next to rich people than starving people suffering next to other starving people.
In any case, poverty exists throughout the world. It exists in the United States. It exists in an even more widespread way in nations plagued by devastation and international economic exploitation.
Fortunately, the world has enough food to feed everyone. We, the people of the world, have the resources to provide food, clothes, shelter, clean water, education, and healthcare to everyone no matter where in the world they live. We can end poverty anytime we wish.
Unfortunately, we have chosen not to end poverty so far. As of now, we have continued to choose to let children suffer in poverty and, in the worst parts of the world, die from starvation. Even in the United States and the developed world, we still let millions of children grow up hungry in poor neighborhoods, where they go to substandard schools, surrounded by violence, hopelessness, and bad role models. As a result, many of those children will remain in poverty their entire lives, which will continue the poverty cycle for even more generations.
Let’s not let ourselves shrug off poverty in the United States or in the developed world. Let’s work to end poverty everywhere, namely by breaking the poverty cycle.