Where Are You?

During the holidays the United Nations released a report on poverty in the United States of America, and it wasn’t pretty.

This should have been a major topic of discussion in the news, but it wasn’t. It’s a story that should have been a cause for alarm, but it wasn’t. It should have sent shivers down everyone’s spine, but it didn’t.

Wrap your head around this for a moment: Here in the U.S., 41 million people in the so-called richest and most powerful nation on earth, are living in poverty.

Some of the poverty in this country is extreme, like Skid Row in Los Angeles, where in the middle of downtown the streets are littered with tents, nearly 50 blocks of bodies mingled with trash and filth. Imagine going to buy some new shoes and having to literally step over people. It’s not the only city in California like that—San Francisco, one of the wealthiest cities in the country, is even worse.

In the South, it’s even more extreme.  According to the report, “families don’t have access to sanitation” in Alabama’s black belt community. People are also living near open sewers, thanks to the failed septic systems they cannot afford to fix, and the state does not consider its duty to fix.

This has resulted in a virus called bookworm a virus that is transmitted by human waste. Bookworm by the way is a virus found in third world countries, and yet there was very little outrage from anywhere, especially from the reality star in chief.

Speaking of Donald Trump, there are those— me included—that would like to lay the blame for this mess at his feet. However, as much as I would like to say “Thanks, Donald” this isn’t on him. It takes years of incompetence to create a trainwreck like this, but we know it won’t get any better with him.

I know many will argue and say “Wait there was some coverage” and yes, there was some, but the point is that this story didn’t get any real traction on any of the major cable or broadcast networks.

This should have been a call to arms, but the media is too busy giving too much coverage to things that don’t matter nearly as much; every time Trump tweets there’s wall to wall coverage. Tom Brady’s stitched finger got more coverage.

And where is liberal Hollywood with this? They are aware of Skid Row, and the fact that there are 41 million people living in extreme poverty in this nation. Every time there’s an earthquake, starving kids, or adopted pets they’re all over the place begging for us to pay attention and give, they clog up your TV with these concert events to help save something, Where are they now? Can’t 41 million poor people get their We are the World moment?

Where is Black Lives Matter and all the other groups screaming racial justice? Many of the people suffering in Alabama our people of color, Isn’t this worth a protest? You’re stopping commuter trains for folks going to the Super Bowl, why not for people that aren’t getting proper sanitation?

But the media is who is truly failing the poor: They cover Trump’s tweets, space shuttles launched by rich men, and leads about a Russian conspiracy. Every time a kid of royal lineage speaks a word, you’re on it. When a royal gets engaged or their spouse is with child, you’re on it. Meanwhile children in America are dying from a third world disease. Where are you?

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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