Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where We Are

Two things on my new Twitter feed caught my attention this morning. The first was this photo, via Kevin Gosztola:

Image credit: We Are The 99 Percent

No, I haven't done the due diligence to find out if this particular photo is genuine. It came from We Are The 99 Percent, a website where people, mostly young ones, send in web cam images of themselves with their stories. Is this particular one true? I have no idea, but there are hundreds of thousands of stories just like hers in America these days. This is what high long-term unemployment does. It creates stories like these. This young lady's story was one of the last ones posted last Sunday, and I had to go through sixteen pages of other stories to get there.

The way things are going, we'll all be posting our stories there someday.

The other story was this one, via Ophelia Benson:
Sixty-six children under the age of 15 die from physical abuse or neglect every week in the industrialised world. Twenty-seven of those die in the US - the highest number of any other country.

Even when populations are taken into account, Unicef [sic] research from 2001 places the US equal bottom with Mexico on child deaths from maltreatment.

In Texas, one of the states with the worst child abuse records, the Dallas Children's Medical Center is dealing with a rising number of abused children[.]

America's child death shame
None of this is particularly surprising. The United States had one of the highest levels of infant mortality in the developed world even before the crash of 2008. With the depression we're now in, that's just going to get worse as both the privation and stress of long-term unemployment continue to take their toll.

Nor is it surprising that one of the worst places is Texas, one of those places where people go on about "family values". That's a phrase that mostly seems to mean that people have to share the particular prejudices of the people uttering it.

But this is where we are in America in 2011. We have one political party that doesn't give a damn about anyone who is out of the womb. The other one doesn't give a damn about anyone. And anyone who wants to believe otherwise can kiss my furry ass. Ultimately, people are defined by their actions, and both parties have stood by and let all this happen, when they haven't been trying to make things worse.

Little wonder that there's a pretty high correlation between the people who think that the Occupy movement is incoherent and the ones who long ago stopped asking themselves whether either party has done anything to make our society better lately.

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