Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Class is a touchy subject. People are often offended when confronted by poverty when they themselves live in relative splendor. Yet, thus far in this unit we have not really had a class discussion similar to those we had during the body unit or the race unit. Why? Does this topic simply strike closer to home? In our nation’s current economic situation we have all been forced to consider the loss of wealth. Not all families have been heavily affected by the downturn, but nearly everyone knows someone who has. President Obama has presented ideas that would aid the poor and congress is voting on job reform bills in hopes of turning around this negative economic trend. Flip on the news channel and if the report is not about the Olympics it is most likely relating to the economy. And don’t economy and class go hand in hand?

So why do we not have more to say about it in our daily discussions? Why, in fact, have we not yet even had a true class discussion about the topic? It could simply be because we just started the unit, had a shortened week, and are reading two new books. In fact, that is the most probable cause. But think about it. In the race unit, war, and body unit we had passionate class discussions with the majority of the class expressing strong opinions one way or the other. Nothing like that has occurred in this unit. In fact there have been multiple incidences where we have purposefully steered away from what could morph into a controversial discussion. And I would like to know why.

In the past units many people had strong moral and intellectual convictions regarding the topics. But do such convictions exist for our current unit? One could not suggest that all people should be of the same class without being labeled as communistic yet at the same time when one argues that people deserve to be in the class that they are in because somewhere down the line someone worked for what they got one sounds arrogant, pitiless, and even uneducated. So where is the happy medium? Is there one? In nations without classes there is not capitalism but in nations with capitalism there is suffering. I see this, but I am a strong believer in capitalism. Not because my parents are, not because my nation is, but because I agree with the philosophy. But that does not make me blind to the down sides. Gaps exist in America between the lower class, middle class, and upper class, and history favors the fact that they will continue to exist. Is there truly anything that we can do to change that? We could pull a Robin Hood and steal from the rich to give to the poor. Now the poor have money, but the rich are angry and the people who worked for the money are having it snatched from their hands. This method leans so close to socialism that its effects could be frightening. This will not work. Then what do we do? We provide better education for the lower classes, more scholarships, and more incentives to change their own lives. With help, yes, but then the success would be in their hands and sustenance would not come in the form of a government check every month. Then how do we aid those who are still living in poverty? Some tax money and gifts from private sources do not always get the job done. So what do we do? We think.

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