Getting Off a Sinking Ship

The Dorothy Day House at 620 Belmont Ave. is one of our areas best assets. It provides a place for the poor and homeless go get a meal to nourish their bodies and a place to experience some community to nourish their souls. If you’re not poor or homeless you can still get your soul nourished here by volunteering to help with meals, cleaning, washing dishes and donating supplies. I enjoy attending their Roundtable discussions on various social issues. They are held the last Thursday of each month at 7PM. The one for February was actually changed to Ash Wednesday. The speaker was Dr. Joe Mosca a professor at YSU. The topic has the history of poverty and was well attended by over three dozen people.  I learned a lot from Dr. Mosca’s presentation and the questions and dialogue that followed.

One man in attendance said, “I lost my job in the industrial sector a number of years back. I have now got a job working for Goodwill that does not pay a livable wage or give me more than 30 or so hours a week. I was down at the mission and met a man who said, he didn’t care to ever work again in his life. That kind of comment really angers me as that kind of person is taking advantage of the system” The man who didn’t want to work did not anger me but the man complaining about him did anger me.

I responded something to the effect of, “The federal budget for welfare is less than 1% yet it generates a huge amount of complaints from people. By contrasts the budget for defense and military is over 50%. Despite that if a politician so much as wants to freeze increases to the defense he is called someone who is weak on defense who wants to gut our military.” I continued, “I haven’t heard anyone attack the poor since 3:30 today on talk radio while I was driving home. If I call the talk show and say we need to cut corporate welfare I am called a, communist who is jealous of the “job creators” and told I am causing class warfare. As if pointing out the inequity in this country is a horrible thing to do.” I pointed to the man who was angry at the man at the mission. I said, “Like you over a decade ago l lost my job in the industrial sector and am now making half of what I use to in the public sector job I now have. I know that two-thirds of US companies pay no taxes and the Walton family that owns Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club has gotten over a billion dollars over the years in corporate welfare. They are the ones stealing from working Americans that we need to be concerned with not a man at a homeless mission that doesn’t want a job. You are talking about someone who is stealing pennies while ignoring the real villains who are stealing billions. These real thieves want you to pick on the homeless man and not them and you have just fallen for it and done their bidding.” The man replied, “You don’t understand the man did not care to ever work again.” I replied, “No it is you who doesn’t get it.” Maybe some people there thought I was being harsh to the man but the truth is I am fed up with the fact the poor and middle-class are so easily manipulated to point the finger at one another.

If a poor man said to me, “I don’t care to ever have a job again” I would be stimulated to ask why. I’d want to know his work history and if he ever had a job he liked. I’d wonder if he had a job that gave him self-esteem and a sense of worth would he change his mind? I’d talk with him about his interests and see if I couldn’t point him in the right direction to find employment that would make him feel like part of something bigger. To make him feel like he made a difference. I wouldn’t get angry at him because he didn’t want to work without knowing more. The guy complaining about him was not happy to be in a job paying less than he use to make so he wanted someone to hate for his lot and the homeless man fit the bill. The man fit the bill so nicely that the other man did not have the intellectual curiosity to dig any deeper. All of this finger-pointing at those on welfare and the private sector workers vs. the public sector workers is a sales job by the 1%. They have sold us on this failed Titanic economic system where they own all the lifeboats. They are going to leave us fighting over a single life-preserver with a hole in it. Years and years of keeping working people divided has been the way the 1% has preserved their lifestyle and increased their wealth while shrinking ours. It’s high time for the 99% to be on the same page and not be divided. That way we can all set course for a destination that will lift us all.

What kind of ship can’t be sunken by an iceberg? Friendship and Fellowship! Let us 99%ers try and practice those with each other.

Five worst people in the 1%.

Let’s have a 99% dance party with Lefties Soul Collection: Have Love

Get Back

“I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.” ~ Robber baron Jack Gould

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Getting Off a Sinking Ship

  1. Anthony

    Thank you for you praise of the DDH on Belmont Avenue. I am a volunteer dish washer there and find a sense of spirituality with those who volunteer there, a sense of dignity belonging to those who are served there, the homeless and others. It is a place of Friendship and Fellowship. You complainer would not fit there!

  2. Anthony

    An amendment to my last sentence. Your complainer and not “you complainer” should be read. Sorry about that. Jim, as a complainer of social imjustices, you would fit in. You not only complain about injustices, you are doing much about them. You write well about them. As you know, the Dorothy Day Movement is about eradicating injustices perpretrated against the poor. You’re part of that movement!

  3. elecpencil

    Fr. Tony Thanks for the comment. DDH is a place that does double duty as both those who serve and are served are both blessed! I received the Catholic Worker newspaper for many years and was very glad when the DDH was established in Youngstown as there was a big need. Thanks for being a justice warrior in Arizona as it seems like a place in need of lots of spirituality. Keep up the fight.

  4. Eric P. O'Neil

    Any of you Catholic Worker supporters will be interested in Jeff Dieterich’s new book Broken and Shared. Jeff has been with the LA Catholic Worker for thirty plus years. Check it out .

  5. elecpencil

    Thanks Eric I’ll look into that!

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