The Poverty Gap Will Only Continue To Widen As Americans Couldn't Care Less

by Contributing Writer

Poor people exist. *GASP!* Poverty is alive and well within the world, especially in the United States. *MORE GASP!* The middle class is shrinking; the rich are living a life of luxury at the top of the food chain, and the poor are still poor.

The gap between the poor and the rich is increasing and no one is willing to take the step to close it. Our government is so divided; remember last year when our officials legitimately SHUT DOWN the government? Officials couldn't come together long enough to reach a consensus.

If our leaders can't stand to be in the same room together, how in the world can we come together to breach the gap?

In our country, poor people are oppressed. We can try to act like people living below or barely above the poverty line have the same advantages as everyone else, but it is simply untrue.

Time is not being taken out of our day to listen to their needs and actually fix them. We think that because we take one day out of our week to go to a soup kitchen, we all of a sudden have fixed the problem of humanity.

Since we live above the poverty line, we can sit back on our 500-thread European bedsheets and be okay with the "good work" we have done. But it's not enough; it will never be enough.

America has reached a divide between humanization (the process of reaching humanity) and dehumanization (the lack of humanity). There has been this underlying problem within our culture of either recognizing someone else as a human being or trying to destroy his or her humanity altogether.

In Paulo Freire's book, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," he speaks of the dehumanization that has happened throughout the world: Nazis/Jews, rich/poor, USA/basically everyone on the entire planet. There has always been this divide, this "either or" side of the discussion.

Freire continues to discuss how billionaires continue to use their money, plus their political and social influence, to remedy social injustices that have created poverty. But, they won't donate any of their money to feed the hungry. How in the hell does that make any sense? We should be angry. If we aren't angry, we need to GET angry.

We see it every day: People can shell out hundreds of dollars for the new iPhone 6, but can't bear to part with $20 for a poor person on a busy street corner.

There is this ideal in place that if you give money to a homeless person, he or she is going to use said money to buy drugs and all of these other horrific things.

The oppressed in our country have done nothing wrong to receive the treatment we undo to them. They do not deserve our social stigma placed on them just because we can't bring ourselves to their level.

No one wants to close the gap. Since we have come out of the womb, it has been every man for himself. We all want to reach our way to the top, and helping someone along the way might screw up our chances.

The gap gives us this hierarchy, this insidious type of power that makes us throw the middle finger to the poor because they are "lazy" and "unmotivated" to get themselves out of poverty.

In order to get back to the root of humanization, we need to realize how far we have fallen into dehumanization. Simply stated: People don't give a f*ck, and that's why the gap will only keep getting wider.