The News-Press finally published my article -- they have had it a while so I started to wonder if they would use it. I copied this off their website.
They put it in their Sunday feature section with another awful photo of me -- with the hedder:
Don't let elitism keep you from getting help or helping others
Aug. 17, 2013 10:55 PM
my full name was here
Elitism,even among those who have the capacity for empathy and who see themselves as not racist and not against the poor, still infects many of us. Here is how it looks, and what I think is the reasoning behind it.
Perhaps you are someone who has struggled to break free of a low-income childhood, you have studied hard, managed to get into a good school, earned a partial scholarship, qualified for a student loan. You break your back paying the rest of your expenses by waiting tables, doing odd
jobs, you finally graduate and get a mid-level job at a good company and maybe you continue to rise in income and position. You breathe a sigh of relief that you “made it.”
Then you read about programs to help the disadvantaged and know that your taxes are helping to pay for these programs. Hey, wait a minute, you think, “No one helped me, I did it on my own; why can’t these deadbeats do the same?
First of all, this is elitism at its worst because nobody who gets anywhere does it on his own — if you have made it, it is because someone in your past, even if it was only for five minutes, gave you the support, love, what have you, that guided you to successful behavior and you also had
the ability to go on from there.
Those born into poverty are born with varying degrees of coping. Some are fortunate indeed because they “get it” right away, and have the ingenuity and talent to rise. But many do not come into this world with the brain power, the talent, the capacity for learning, the insight to analyze what is happening to them that helps them create their own
self-sufficiency. They can’t beat the odds — they really do not know how. They were born unequal. “We are all created equal” refers to “equal under the law” not equal in biological gifts.
So when you think people who are poor can do it if they only tried hard enough, it’s like telling a double amputee he could win the race if only he wasn’t such a deadbeat and made the effort.
One might at least try to understand the reactions of those who can’t make it and whose every effort meets with failure: frustration, rage, acting out, desperate measures, depression, total dysfunction. Yet these people
could be productive if at that crisis point in their lives public programs helped them get a leg up.
So, be an elitist if you want to, but when you throw people away, you diminish all human kind. Abandoning the less fortunate ones because it is “costly” to help them, ignoring their very real, very valid concerns,does not help the rich and the well-to-do. And those of us blessed with
success do not diminish ourselves by reaching out to those less fortunate.
Incidentally,the late author Ayn Rand, who made a career out of hating social programs, was persuaded to apply for Social Security and Medicare when she got cancer in later life and could no longer provide for her own care.
It helped her when she needed it. Too bad we can’t ask her if she was grateful. That’s all any of us need: help when we are down.