Revolting against the misery of poverty

"The State Lottery Office (The Poor and Money)" watercolor painting by Vincent Van Gogh.
“The State Lottery Office (The Poor and Money)” watercolor painting by Vincent Van Gogh.

On social media and in real life, I hear a lot about how the poor “take advantage” of the system and how they “waste what they have” or are “just plain lazy”. Of course, these comments always seem to come from people who are at least close to middle class and have never once gone truly hungry, been homeless or lost everything they have through some cruel twist of fate. Having grown up in a mostly one-parent family that did accept government and charity assistance on occasion (even though my mother often worked MORE than full time), I see a different perspective.

Sometimes the decisions that the impoverished make do contribute to their own problems, but often this is due to poor foresight or desperation. They may make rash decisions based on immediate needs and not long-range goals…but that is because they are worried about survival right now and fighting for survival tends to occupy all your attention. When every day of your life is spent wondering how you will eat and find or keep shelter, there is not much energy left for self-help philosophies or economical posturing. Glimmers of hope might break through here or there (a better job, higher education, etc.), but often these desires are washed aside by the necessity of making it through this month, this week or even this day.

I will admit that on occasion the impoverished may seem to purposefully waste money. Buying a lottery ticket, cigarettes, alcohol or junk food may seem like a huge waste when someone is down to their last dollar. So why do they do it? I think it is like Vincent Van Gogh once observed, they are attempting to “revolt against the misery” of poverty. They are laughing in the face of danger and saying that this miserable world isn’t going to steal every bit of enjoyment from them. It is not really wise, but it is an emotional reaction to a life that often seems to have no hope or end.

Perhaps it is for the same reason that so many employees (even those in low paying management positions) steal from the big, impersonal corporations they serve, even if all they take home is a box of ball point pens or a few rolls of toilet paper. I’m not saying stealing is right, but in the human mind, there is always the desire for the underdog to score a triumph (even a tiny one) over who they see as the big bully on the block. All of these seemingly poor decisions are really just a way for those who feel ignored and despised to give this unfair, greedy world the middle finger. A way to quietly rebel, even if no one notices.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Revolting against the misery of poverty

  1. Reblogged this on Maranda Russell and commented:

    I wrote this blog post 4 years ago, but I feel it is relevant today more than ever. As the income inequality and wealth gap continues to grow and more and more people fall into the lower classes, revolting against poverty is becoming more common and sometimes, more dangerous.

    Like

  2. Maranda, this is an exceptional post. When I went into the “System” I felt such shame because of the stigma placed on people that couldn’t make their way. I was there because of circumstances, not because I was lazy, or looking to avoid life. I was mentally ill and kicked out of my home by my ex-fiance’ (Because he didn’t understand what was happening to me) So much for the vows that include, “In sickness and in helth”… Anyway, I fought really hard to get out of the system. I finally did when my SSDI was approved. I still live month to month at times wondering if I can make it to the next month, but I manage rather well on keeping my expenses low.
    As far as times are nowadays, with the middle class slipping into the abyss of poverty… It’s becoming worse and worse day after day. I don’t think our forefathers designed the constitution to have our nation turn to shit the way it has. It’s a crime to keep allowing our government to force people to live this way. I sincerely hope that there is a REAL CHANGE coming in 2020 because what we’ve had and what we have now is simply not good enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really glad you like the post 🙂 It was inspired by me reading Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo back then. Van Gogh was very sensitive to the plight of the poor and forgotten of society. I loved how he put it about them “revolting against the misery of poverty” and had to find some way to make it into a post.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good post, Miranda. You show a good deal of insight on why the poor sometimes do the things they do. I’ve spent most of my life living and working in neighborhoods that would probably scare you and the others, LOL. Ergo, I can say there’s some truth in what you say.

    However, I also think the post was a bit one sided. Exploring that would take longer than the comments section would probably like. 🙂 I’ll probably do a post in my own blog and link back to yours. I promise to be kind too. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s