Rich Man, Poor Man

What is normal;
Is it you,
Or is it me;
Am I who you hoped,
Your brother would be?

If I’m lacking,
And you have plenty;
Don’t talk down on me,
‘Cause I could’ve been you,
And you would’ve been me.

So, if you imagine me,
To be the abnormal;
We all have eyes to see,
And ears to hear,
And that’s as plain,
As plain can be.

I didn’t wish this way for me;
Our Maker,
He decides who we’re to be,
But you can decide,
If you despise me?

By: ElRoyPoet © 2017

“We are all enmeshed in this form of subjectivity, conditioning ourselves to fit with the demands of the market, and expecting others to do the same. Yet our data show that this way of thinking allows the poor to be blamed for their misfortune, and encourages opposition to interventions to support them in favor of attempts to change individual mindsets and behavior patterns. At its extreme, it harms the middle class too…
There’s one problem: mindsets are not free-floating. They are neither optional strategies that everyone can freely adopt nor value-neutral ways of enhancing well-being. Instead, they are embedded in life conditions that have material, social and ideological dimensions, and this is just as true for those of us living in poverty as it is for the rest of us living in financial comfort…
Imagine for a moment what scarcity and instability might feel like at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. You are constantly uncertain whether you will earn enough money (will your employer give you the hours you need this week?), while trying to avoid unexpected financial demands (will your child need a new school uniform, or will your car need repairs?). If you’re unable to pay rent, your family loses their home…
A person in this situation is not mindlessly pessimistic and blind to opportunities to fulfil their aspirations; they’re regulating emotions and conserving their energies so that they don’t face continual disappointment or overlook very real threats. In Hand to Mouth (2014), a powerful chronicle of surviving on a low-wage job in the US, Linda Tirado writes: ‘We don’t plan long term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.’…
To make it easier for people to adopt a mindset that unlocks flourishing, we should first ensure that their needs are met in a stable way, so they experience real control over their life circumstances and have a future that is worth investing in.”
Excerpts from: Why we shouldn’t push a positive mindset on those in poverty

“Since it’s often impossible to get a reasonable sense of what will happen in the future, it’s unfair to blame people with good intentions who end up worse off as a result of unforeseen circumstances. This leads to the conclusion that compassion, not blame, is the appropriate attitude towards those who act in good faith but whose bets in life don’t pay off…Despair thrives where empathy is missing; right now, our lack of compassion for one another is killing us…No matter how smart we think we are, there’s a hard limit on what we can know, and we could easily end up on the losing end of a big bet. We owe it to ourselves, and others, to build a more compassionate world.” Excerpt from The mathematical case against blaming people for their misfortune

Commentary: There’s a universal belief that success and self-worth are nearly identical and if you’re rich you must be either be smart or hardworking. But if you’re poor you must’ve messed up somewhere along the way. People like to believe that they’ve gotten to where they are, because they’re talented or have earned it. That could be true to some extent, but it’s also a fact, that there are people who could have been equally smart or talented and not in that position, because of the barriers that were erected to impede them. It’s hard to sit with the idea, that maybe somebody else deserves to be where they are, more than they do. I think almost everybody, wants to be able to tell a story of making it on their own. However, does that give them the right to have contempt for the less fortunate?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no commandment greater than these.” Bible, Mark 12:30-31

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