broadsideblog

Hating the poor will not make you rich

In behavior, culture, life, Money, news, parenting, politics, religion, urban life, US on November 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm
Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are several strains in the American worldview I find, even after 24 years living here, confusing and wearying.

There is the persistent narrative that government is bad, that self-reliance is good and that no one who needs government help — other than victims of natural disasters — really deserves it. If they were just smarter/harder-working/thriftier/better educated, they’d be fine.

The self-righteousness is pervasive and ugly.

I get it. My first book, which looked at guns in American women’s lives, included interviews with many women who own guns, some of which they use for hunting, for sport and for self-protection. In speaking with 104 men, women and teens of every income level from 29 states, I came away with a much clearer understanding why 45 percent (then “only” 30 percent) of American homes contain a firearm.

This is a nation predicated on the belief that everyone is responsible for themselves.

This is, (and this is the confusing bit), also one of the most overtly religious nations on earth — the percentage of those “churched” is much higher than England or my native Canada. This is a nation where some people proudly, loudly and routinely boast that they are God-fearing Christians, while sneering at the poor and weak, something Christ would have difficulty with.

Here’s an interesting link discussing seven current trends in American church-going.

I’ve seen extreme wealth and extreme poverty here.

Yet, in today’s deeply divided nation, as Romney and his supporters lick their wounds and Obama and his staff prepare for his second term, the rich rarely — if ever — encounter the poor. They remain some weird, distant abstraction, nothing they or their children will ever encounter or experience.

Until its fury erupts within their circle, like the New York City nanny who recently slit the throats of two of the three children she was caring for, commuting from her difficult life in the Bronx. She was, she told police, tired of being told what to do and wanted to earn more money.

The middle class, however you define it, is terrified of falling into poverty. It’s so much easier to hate the poor and struggling than face the reality you are them or soon to be.

The middle class has been told, from birth, that if you just work really hard and go to college and get a degree, and then get another, and maybe another, you too can become wealthy. For some, yes. For many others, who can’t even find any job right now, that ever-receding horizon is starting to look unattainable.

So much easier to look down in terror and disdain than cease gazing up at the private-jet set with awe and envy.

I recently watched a new documentary, “Set For Life” that’s making the rounds of film festivals in the U.S., about workers over the age of 50 out of work, and the struggles they face in this recession. It is sobering, and depressing, made by a recent Columbia University grad named Susan Sipprelle.

I have mixed feelings about this intractable divide, one that is only growing.

I was a Big Sister in the late 90s for 18 months, mentoring a 13-year-old girl living a 10-minute drive east of me in my suburban New York county. I had never, in the U.S., confronted poverty firsthand or known someone personally in its grip.

My time with C was instructive, and ultimately left me less reflexively liberal. I liked her, and admired her grit and humor. She was fun and a loving, affectionate girl. But her family’s behaviors, attitudes and expectations — even with four tax-payer supported workers helping them — horrified me and I struggled to make sense of them. Her mother had simply disappeared for five years, and showed up a week after C and I were matched. I’d feed C fresh vegetables at my apartment, or take her to the library, while her mother — a decade younger than I — watched TV in the basement night and day.

I tried, writing a five-page single-space letter pleading her case, to get C a scholarship to a local private school, where if she boarded, would have offered her a respite from the shouting, filth, junk food and three-generation welfare dependency of her family.

She never showed up for her tryout day at school. I never heard from her, her family or Big Sisters again. I still wonder how she is doing.

In my retail job, I served some of the nation’s wealthiest men and women, in their triple-ply cashmere and five-carat diamond rings. The one word they never hear, the one that makes them recoil in shock and disbelief? “No.” It took me a while to realize that money buys you a lot of agreement: your nanny/au pair/personal trainer/driver/SAT tutor/assistant(s)/maids/staff/employees are unlikely to ever argue with you or deny you your every whim.

Their world is a shiny, pretty, insular one, where material success safely brands you as a winner, a member of the tribe.

They often spoke to us low-wage, part-time, no-benefit hourly workers slowly in words of one syllable. They leaned over the counter as we entered their addresses, certain we couldn’t possibly know how to spell. One man (not in our store) threw a quarter behind him as he left, sneering: “Go to college!”

Everyone in our staff of 15 had. Two were military veterans.

Several different Americas went into the voting booth this week, their mutual incomprehension unmitigated by billions of dollars spent on attack ads, “informed” by Fox News or NPR, but rarely both.

The side that lost is apoplectic, crying foul, red-faced with rage. Romney cut off his workers’ credit cards immediately.

Obama, speaking to his campaign workers, wept openly with pride and gratitude.

  1. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Thank you Ms. Caitlin Kelly, for your worldview on America. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Reblogged this on angrymanspeaks and commented:
    This is a great article . Everyone should read it. There is so much truth here and if the comments abd actions of the retail customers don’t really piss you off; well; I don’t know what will. Thank you to Broadside and Ms. Caitlin Kelly for these words of truth

  3. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Not only does this attitude go against what Jesus taught, but it’s also ignorant and does not help the poor in the least. I think the reason why the church-going rate is declining is because people are getting tired of the hate and fear that is sometimes preached in churches. Perhaps they’re looking for something more accepting. Which might be why Eastern philosophies and yogas are becoming so popular.

    • Great point. My husband is a Tibetan Buddhist and one of its key precepts is compassion, another is that we are all connected. I believe these very deeply and am so utterly turned off by self-righteousness and piety. Social justice needs to be the new rallying cry.

      • In my religion of Judaism, we’re required to give at least 1/10 of our income to charity, but many choose to give more. Why? Becuase it’s helping those less fortunate than us! The reason why so many Jews in Europe liked Marxism so much was because of the idea that everyone would have the same amount of wealth. I sometimes wonder how Christianity could’ve changed so much from its mother religion sometimes.

  4. There is an understanding that it’s the right moral choice to help others less fortunate. How this can escape notice is bizarre to me.

    Elements of Christianity suggest that the successful financially are God’s chosen. Nice circular “logic” there.

  5. Excellent post, as usual.

    When my family and I lived on a godforsaken little island in the Pacific, I saw real poverty for the first time on a large scale and realized why real poverty is so binding, previously I just sort of took my parent’s “Work hard and all will be well” mantra for rote. Poverty hard to get out of because it means you have nothing to push yourself up off of – no credit for investment, no money for a rainy day fund, no education to promote yourself, no resources to pull form in a job search. It enraged me when people would say, “Well if they just went to school they could get a real job.” How would they pay for schooling? Who would feed their family while they went to school? And where were these real jobs people were talking about (remember this was an island, without a credited university, few natural resources to cultivate, and outrageously expensive to get on or off)?

    I’m young, I know, but the experience of my eyes tells me that poverty is almost never something you stumble into by being lazy. It almost always IS something you are born into or slide into just trying to make ends meet that turns into a generational cycle.

    • Thank heaven you know this, and have lived it. I am NO fan of welfare dependency, that’s for sure, but having seen C’s predicament — crap food, noisy home, poorly-behaved adult role models, overbooked social workers — I came away with a much better understanding (having had none) of the multi-factorial nature of poverty. I saw this as well in my retail work, with co-workers with three or four kids, or a single mom in public housing with a 90-minute commute each way to that minimum-wage job. She was furious with herself for getting pregnant with a guy who turned out to be a deadbeat — even while all her friends urged her to have more kids.

      I was also stunned and sobered by the casual violence some of these kids live with, which I also describe in Malled.

      I can see why people refuse to look at poverty. It’s ugly and scary and messy. But we have to.

  6. Fantastic post, painting a clear and supported picture–bleak though it is. It’s all about fear, isn’t it? And a fundamental change in circumstance is frightening, even one that looks like it will improve our outlook/outcome. Fear of what will be, might be, could be, or should be.

  7. Thanks.

    I don’t think we all WILL fall down the ladder, but there are many people — esp. any job seeker older than 50 or the poorly educated — who face very serious challenges finding decently paid steady work. Without that, there is no middle class.

  8. My sister and I were thrilled that even in the face economic crisis, humanity was chosen. My conservative uncle was horrified that we would choose sides with Obama even though it meant the economy would likely suffer more. There comes a time when the importance of the right thing takes precedence over cash. I’m starting to see the world in a different light and it feels good.

    • It’s a different world here than in Canada, as you know. Having grown up in Canada, I have never (clearly!) adjusted happily to an economy driven purely by market forces. I was sick of the nanny state and a lot of northern whining when I left but there has to be some happy medium — if only to avoid anarchy. If Americans really protested as other nations do, I doubt you would see this political gridlock.

  9. Have you thought of writing another book with this material that youhave mentioned over the last few weeks? There are a few recurring themes here…..as usual you gave a thoughtful comment to my last post. There is a program National Health Service Corps where physicins can go to an undeserved or rural area, they are paid and their loans can be paid back

    • I’m aware of it and applaud it!

      I have another book idea (and am seeking a new agent) but it’s not this. Not sure what the theme here is as a narrative arc or through-line….?

  10. If you would be willing to provide a blog post on socialism to give those of us some perspective, that would be great.

  11. Hm. Not sure I’m especially well qualified to do so…The only comparisons I know (which offer far more generous social safety nets) are Canada and France. I was too young to remember England when I lived there. But perhaps worth a try, as long as it’s clearly (and would not be) anything more than opinion and some links….as are all blog posts, I guess.

  12. I realize that I am in the minority here on your blog but I would like to point out a couple of problems. first off Jesus understood that we would always have a class of poor with us in society, that’s just a basic fact of civilization, we cannot be equal. that being said, your two examples in your story are very illuminating to me. If your ‘retail customer’ claims to be a Christian and acted as you say towards anyone in that manner I, being a Christian myself, would question the authenticity of his claim, as charity should be a byproduct of one’s own regeneration. Which brings me to my second point…charity. Being charitable is a VOLUNTARY action. To be charitable to another person because one chooses to do so is what being a Christian is about. Following the precepts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because one CHOOSES to do so not because they are forced to be chartable by their elected government at the point of a gun. That is NOT nor will it ever be charity, that is tyranny. In a country such as ours, that once was free for the INDIVIDUAL to make their own free will choices to be charitable or not, that was THEIR decision. Although I may not agree with your ‘retail customers’ action, I do feel he has the right to be a jack ass if he chooses to be, after all the wealth that he has accumulated over his lifetime is HIS, not yours and he has the fundamental right to do with it what he chooses.

    I also find it amazing that in your given example of the young girl living in poverty there doesn’t seem to be any outrage on your part towards the mother that would allow there child to live this way while she conducts herself in, my opinion anyway, criminal, at least abusive manner. Not once did you mention any solution or remediation of the actual problem, which from where I sit is her parent or lack there of. Your solution is not to punish her for her lack of good parenting, your solution is to punish me for my action of good parenting towards my own children but taking from me to give to her. From where I sit it is, can I say stupid to reward poor behavior by giving more and to punish good behavior by taking more. I don’t see how that translates into a productive society. Please enlighten me.

    If I may pontificate further, I think the main reason that your are seeing what you deem as Christian people not acting what you perceive to be poor behavior is that from where we sit, we see an awful lot of abuse of the charitable policies of our elected government by what is seen as more and more citizens doing less and less things to help themselves by making better life choices while having their hands out. I don’t think the majority of Christians really mind helping the truly needy if they are truly needy. What I see is a large percentage of citizens that have become lazy and seek a hand out instead of a hand up. We the productive are tired of seeing our hard earned money being squandered away by a frivolous government that is bloated, corrupt and increasingly more and more tyrannical everyday.

    Please stop and look at where we are. Our Federal government is so oppressive they tell us how much water we can use to flush our toilets and what kind of lightbulbs we can have in our homes. People have sold their rights over getting free contraceptives that can be purchased at Walmart for what $10? What do we do for ourselves any longer? Every thing we allow the government to do FOR us means we have given our right to do it for ourselves over to them. What is wrong with working hard and making positive life choices for oneself? It not too long ago was a virtue that was prevalent in our society. In fact, in my opinion that was what made this country great. Our country was founded on it. We no longer are willing to work and wait for anything. We look around and covet what everyone else has because after all we want it and someone else has it. Honestly where do you think this takes us? Utopia? We have elected a man who promises us more and more stuff. At what cost? Our freedom? Where does it end? It has to end. Is the plan to eat all you can in the hope that they eat you last?

    • I think there is a fundamentally very deep divide between your vision of government’s role in our lives and my own. Which is fine.

      “To be charitable to another person because one chooses to do so is what being a Christian is about. Following the precepts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because one CHOOSES to do so not because they are forced to be chartable by their elected government at the point of a gun. That is NOT nor will it ever be charity, that is tyranny. In a country such as ours, that once was free for the INDIVIDUAL to make their own free will choices to be charitable or not, that was THEIR decision. Although I may not agree with your ‘retail customers’ action, I do feel he has the right to be a jack ass if he chooses to be, after all the wealth that he has accumulated over his lifetime is HIS, not yours and he has the fundamental right to do with it what he chooses.”

      You get the government, laws and policy you have voted for. If, tomorrow, the government said “Guess what?! No more income tax. Ever!” would this be a smart or effective choice? It would certainly be wildly popular. If we all did ONLY what we choose, we’d all live in utter anarachy!

      The whole point of government is to create and enact public policies they feel in our best interests — and endlessly railing over this fact is wasted energy. You think it’s an obscenity for the govt to re-distribute your wealth to lazy poor people. I think it’s an obscenity for the same government to waste billions of $$$$ and thousands of American soldiers’ lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter a nation where attacks on women are common and where the production of heroin is their major economy. Talk about a waste of our money?! All our money is wasted when we feel our values are being ignored. Take a number!

      “From where I sit it is, can I say stupid to reward poor behavior by giving more and to punish good behavior by taking more.”

      The challenge with my effort to help C was multi-factorial. I found her family, and their selfishness and cheating the system and their lack of decent care for her (and her younger brother) appalling. I hated her family; why should a child suffer because her family are useless? I also found their social worker’s care lousy and careless. I wanted to help. For a while, then I voted with my feet and left the whole mess behind. So…we should all just walk away from a child being raised in dysfunctional poverty and shrug? How is that a moral choice? I made mine. You make yours.

      “more and more citizens doing less and less things to help themselves by making better life choices while having their hands out. I don’t think the majority of Christians really mind helping the truly needy if they are truly needy. What I see is a large percentage of citizens that have become lazy and seek a hand out instead of a hand up”

      I need to see statistics and facts. I loathe opinion that is not supported by data. Happy to discuss this further when you can offer objective, hard data on this. Define “truly needy”. Dying of cancer because they cannot afford market-rate health care? Those over 50 who have lost job after job in the recession and face tremendous age discrimination getting the next one?

      “We the productive are tired of seeing our hard earned money being squandered away by a frivolous government that is bloated, corrupt and increasingly more and more tyrannical everyday.”

      You make a lot of highly emotional charges here. Define “productive.” Are you truly unaware how many Americans are DESPERATE to get a job they can actually live on — but cannot find one? I received an email yesterday from a Malled reader who was out of work for a YEAR and had to lie about her prior experience to even get a minimum-wage job in retail which she is about to start.

      This is not an America I respect. You’re welcome to do so.

      • Thank you for your comments. I agree with quite a bit of what you said. I understand we can’t always do only what we choose just like we can’t exist for long eating only ice cream, it isn’t beneficial for us in the long term. I get it. That however is a far cry from where we are now as a society where a large percentage, maybe even a majority now of our population has become perfectly willing to shirk every bit of their own responsibility as a citizen to be unproductive and go through life with their hand out sucking up every crumb they can gather from those that work their rear ends off everyday and paying for it. I can only speak for myself as to my willingness to help those in my immediate circle that need help, I do it all the time. I don’t need some politician in Washington telling me that I need to do so.

        I also think that the case of the little girl is so unfortunate and so true because i see it in the children I work with every week in our local church outreach group. I also think the best way to help those like her is to teach them the way of personal responsibility and love for your fellow man to break the cycle of poverty and continued bad life choices. Yes, it is very difficult for this child, she suffers through no fault of her own but because of the first break in life she got, whom she was born to, a lousy mother. However I don’t agree that throwing money and thus rewarding the mother for bad behavior is the best method for teaching the little girl that the decisions she makes in HER future is best served by doing the same thing as her mother did for her. It only makes it worse because now you have demonstrated that the best thing she can do is choose as her mother did because you will be rewarded for that decision. My guess is that her mother’s mother did the same as her mom. The cycle needs to stop or it will go on forever. Some of these unwed mothers have been drug addicts and welfare recipients for three and four generations now. can’t you see it isn’t working and we continue to get more and more of the same results not less. I’m not going to say I know the perfect solution, as I don’t but I am quite sure that what we are currently doing is not it. I know from personal life experience that if you reward good behavior you get more of it and if you punish poor behavior you will get less of it. That I am sure! What we are doing now is NOT that.

        I too am also appallled at the waste of our military but probably not for the same reasons as you. I believe that the Constitution is very clear about when to use the military. It is NOT to be used as a means to provide nation building or whatever else the sitting President wants to promote. It is to be used when the President declares war and is ratified by Congress. It should be a rare occurence and to have war declared on you should be a terrible feared proposition from ANY other nation that decides to cross our national interest. If that happens it should be swift, certain and extremely lethal and to the victors go the spoils. this country has intervened in world events since we’ve been a nation and we have never asked for one square inch of ground from any that we’ve helped except a space to bury our dead on. To me that’s commendable. we have nothing to apologize for.

      • “a large percentage, maybe even a majority now of our population has become perfectly willing to shirk every bit of their own responsibility as a citizen to be unproductive and go through life with their hand out sucking up every crumb they can gather from those that work their rear ends off everyday and paying for it. I can only speak for myself as to my willingness to help those in my immediate circle that need help, I do it all the time. I don’t need some politician in Washington telling me that I need to do so.”

        Again, we differ. Or, we still do. You won’t persuade me, nor vice versa. I work my rear end off. I pay taxes. Do I like paying some of the nation’s highest taxes, some of which — I am well aware — support plenty of people who are lazy? No. It is what it is. It’s the price I have chosen to pay for: 1) living in NY state (I lived in NH, no taxes there, hated it for a variety of reasons; 2) living in the U.S. I paid a ton of taxes in Canada, and one of the reasons I left Quebec was the waste I saw and the unbelievable amount of tax I paid. I can no more control the behavior of others than you can!

        “I also think the best way to help those like her is to teach them the way of personal responsibility.”

        And who, exactly, will BE this child’s teacher? Someone at her school? Clearly not. Someone in her family? Clearly not. Her social workers and therapists? One can hope, but I doubt it. It’s damn near impossible to be “personally responsible” when, as I saw her living, your home is noisy, dirty, you eat crap food and — at 13 — you have no idea how to even use a library or speak to a public librarian to help you. People must have role models. People must have committed, consistent discipline and self-discipline modeled for them every day, by friends, families and neighbors. Kids don’t have any clear idea who to be(come) without leadership. Punishing kids because their parents are losers is the nastiest reaction I can imagine.

        How did I learn to save a ton of my annual income, no matter how low? It was drilled into me year after year by my mother, who was also extremely frugal. No one can suddenly — at 8 or 10 or 13 — suddenly learn “personal responsibility” if they’ve never seen it or why it might be a choice more valuable than gaming the system.

        These phrases are hollow and meaningless. I have seen it firsthand…C faced so many obstacles it was overwhelming. I would be amazed if she had escaped poverty at all.

  13. So what then is YOUR answer? What I am saying is there is no good answer. This little girl is destined to have a life just like her mothers through no fault of her own. Given. I work with inner city children and see first hand the situations they come from. It’s awful to see such potential with little realistic hope of breaking the cycle of poverty. I don’t hate the poor but I don’t see how enslaving them to a political party through government programs is a good thing for them. There has to be some sort of safety net in our society to help the poor and informed, on this I think we both agree, but that is NOT what we have. The government is creating the very victims it claims it is trying to help. The Obama administration has put that plan into express.

    In my opinion if you remove any and all requirements from those that get ANY type of government assistance you are doing nothing more than making them a slave. You remove all dignity and self worth to provide for themselves. Have you ever been to a National Park? Why is it that one of the first things they tell you is “don’t feed the animals”. Why? Because it makes beggars out of them. Human behavior is the same. How is it the park service gets it but the rest of our government doesn’t? You talk about role models. In our inner cities the government is the role model and what they are modeling is you can get whatever you want if you just vote a certain way. Don’t believe me? You’re a smart girl, look on YouTube for videos of Obama supporters and how many of them point blank will tell you they support him because he is going to give them things. It’s not just this president either by the way, both parties do it when they get in power. It’s just plain wrong. Tt
    His little girl that you care about, I can tell, is in the predicament she’s in because her mother was already enslaved when she gave birth. And the cycle continues and grows. You think that’s a good thing? I think it’s tragic and sad and a waste.

    There’s an old proverb that goes…if today you give a man a fish, tomorrow you have to give him another. If you teach him how to fish, he can catch his own.

    Thanks for your comments!

    • Millions of voters chose Obama for many reasons OTHER than the one you keep citing, so I don’t buy that as a valid argument. Women voted against the hateful misogyny of the Republicans; minorities voted against their idiotic stance on immigration; those desperately seeking a job voted against a man who is so loaded he has NO idea what it means to be poor, let alone middle class.

      It’s clear you have a a very firm and fixed idea that giving money to the poor/indigent/unemployed (and you are not being specific who should not get money and who — if anyone, for how long – should) is a bad idea. I already said I have mixed feelings about this. I was disgusted by the behaviors I saw in C’s family and it’s one of the reasons I gave up.

      My answer? My solution? I don’t have one. I have not chosen to become a politician or social worker, so my opinions are merely opinions without the authority to put them into any direct action. What I saw in C and her family changed my perspective for good. But it did not make me feel that all monies given to all people in need is a lousy idea.

      Teach a man to fish…again, with all due respect, you are giving me a platitiude. WHO is going to teach any of these children to: 1) eat healthy food in normal quantities every day; 2) cook it 3) pay for it 4) teach them how to read, write and speak properly 5) make sure they are properly educated? These are the most basic building blocks of a civilized society — and something like half of Americans don’t even graduate high school? Someone taught you how to survive/thrive in this world, as they taught me…Until or unless someone smart, caring, tough and consistent teaches every single one of these kids in poverty the same, good luck with that. So if my taxes are paying a social worker (or an army of them) to even try to help, I’m fine with that.

      Oh, and…how about some well-paid jobs to lift them out of poverty? They don’t exist either. If all you could possibly attain was a crap, boring job at $7/hr. — that would be foodservice and retail — would you leap out of bed every morning with a smile knowing that your JOB will actually keep you in poverty? Nope. People make rational decisions and if the corporate greedheads in their mansions pay less than the government…there needs to be a much larger and more honest discussion about rational incentives, not “laziness” and “dependence.”

  14. The WHO is going to teach them to fish is you and I and the remainder of society that has a vested interest in making sure that our neighbors are taken care of. I already stated previously that I didn’t think there was the perfect solution to combat poverty and you will always have a certain amount of poverty and indigent in ANY society as you will with your utopian socialists society as well but making people a slave to the government is a far worse solution, at least to me. when you remove the citizens responsibility to one another by turning it over to an impersonal government things get worse as they presently are. Do we have more or less poverty now or since Lyndon Johnson s Great Society? I submit more. I’m 56 years old and I don’t remember as wide spread anywhere near the amount of people as now on welfare, food stamps, or disability. In my opinion we are getting worse as more and more of our citizenry scams the system.

    As far as good jobs, where do you suppose they come from? Those of you on the left think that taxing and regulating the business providers to pay for an ever increasing, bloated, corrupt government is the solution to EVERY problem. there are no magic beans. if you want good paying jobs then you have got to reward those that build them not punish them. As much as you loathe business and capitalism, it is what pays the bills and those people should be canonized not vilified. Government does not provide, they consume. In order for government to give anything to anyone they must take from someone else first.

    Once again thanks for your comments

  15. With all due respect, if America is such a horrendous place, why did you immigrate here?

    • I moved here in 1988 — before three recessions. Many Americans are as fed up with this as I am. Like every immigrant, I came with high hopes. The intervening years have tempered my enthusiasm. I don’t call this country “horrendous” but the greed and income divide are distressing to many people who were born here. America is the land of free expression, no?

  16. It used to be, now only if you are a left wing Progressive. If you disagree you are a homophobic, anti woman, poor people hating, racist bigot.

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