Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Hobo Philosopher

Is America Owned by Slumlords

By Richard E. Noble

I was raised in a slum. I would call it a ghetto but that term, has a more racial overtone. Ghettoes are where races of unaccepted people are sequestered, usually because of some sort of hatred or prejudice. A slum is inhabited by a multitude of poor of any ethnic or racial background. They are all there not necessarily because of any hatred or prejudice on the part of the established population but for lack of any other place to put them. The interesting thing about slums is that they never seem to go away. The slum that I was raised in is still there and it looks even worse than it looked fifty years ago. The population inhabiting that slum is new and the conditions of their lives are even worse than what my life was when I lived there.
Today as I drive around America it looks to me like a country that has been purchased by what we once called a slumlord. A slumlord was a guy who bought property in deteriorating areas for the sole purpose of making as large a profit as possible until the building finally tumbled to the ground.
Our country today looks like it has been bought up by slumlords. Take a look around. Roads and bridges are deteriorating, school houses all over America are falling apart. I read someplace that 50% of America's children are being taught in school building that are not safe or have been condemned. This seems difficult to believe.
But true or false, I’m beginning to wonder who really owns America today. Our industrial base is gone. Manufacturing once represented 80% of our GDP. It now represents 20%. Jobs are leaving our country and domestic wages are dropping. If Americans were truly running this country would they be doing this to themselves? I can’t believe that they would.
Why aren’t slums gone in America? We know that poverty circumstances nurture crime. Why are we nurturing crime and promoting poverty? Why do we expect a worker to learn a new trade every five years? Why don’t we protect our industries, our workers and our jobs?
Why do we tolerate homelessness? No one should be living in the streets, sewers or alleys of America.
Why do we tolerate drug addiction? Why do we tolerate unemployment? Why is it that any child who has the ability is not going to college? How can we cut funds to hospitals for cancer treatment and other diseases? How can we allow hospitals to close when there are people without medical care? What is going on here?
Are Americans running America?
I don’t think so. I think we are an occupied country. Somebody strange is pulling the strings. No country would do such things to itself.
Something has got to change. We can afford war but we can’t afford peace. Why not? How did it become national policy that we promote peace by initiating war? The Bush administration has now STARTED two wars. How did this happen? When is this insanity going to end? When does America come to its senses?
Not only do bridges and roads have to be rebuilt, our slums have to be torn down and rebuilt. Neighborhoods have to be recreated with employment at their centers. Our system needs a new moral code - a moral code that despises poverty, slums, and unemployment.
We once despised businesses that were too big. Now all our businesses are so big that they can’t be allowed to fail. Maybe the failure is that they have been allowed to grow too big?
Our bottom line economics no longer makes sense. We can’t keep putting everybody out of work and sending our jobs overseas and expect our nation to grow. We have to build new jobs in America and keep them in America.
Our children must be protected. Their parents must have jobs and affordable places to live and raise their children. This is not economic theory. This is common sense.
This all must end. The insanity must stop. We must have peace, security and prosperity at home before we go abroad to set the world straight.

The Eastpointer is R.E. Noble’s latest publication. It is a selection of columns from the Franklin Chronicle. It is for sale on Amazon along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie, A Little Something, and Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother.