“The Rich and the Rest of Us” – What is the Real Divide?

There are nearly 150 million poor and near poor people in America who are not responsible for the damage done by the Great Recession. Yet they pay the price. The poor did not create the deindustrialization of America, unmatched corporate profiteering and greed, more than a decade of foreign wars, and unregulatedtax benefits for the wealthy. When the largest economic institutions in the world were brought to their collective knees, they went crawling to the government’s doorstep in search of salvation. The government obliged, allowing Wall Street to socialize its failure on the backs of Main Street Americans. The housing and jobs crisis they created fostered a poverty unseen in generations—not just in inner-city ghettos and barrios, but also in suburbs and rural areas crossing racial, age, and gender lines. Nearly one-third of the American middle class—mostly families with children—have fallen into poverty.”

—Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

“Class warfare” is the claim that Republican conservatives have spouted when the issue of economic inequality is brought by advocates like Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley.  What does that mean? It means that when the truth about the rules and rights of the rich versus the poor is exposed, the argument is that these advocates are discriminating against people who are rich, creating a “war” against people who are wealthy.

Does that make sense?

This becomes an argument of between facts and impressions.  People with facts tend to stand on more solid ground in this kind of argument.  Why is that? Could it be because FACTS can’t be subjective?

The excerpt above is an example of using logic and facts to support the rationale behind financial and economic instability.

I am not a political debater.  I actually get a little disinterested in the extended cable commentary that reiterates the same 5 minute soundbite over and over and over.  I just want truth to be spoken to power in an authentic and genuine way.

People like Dr. West and Mr. Smiley tend to cut through the political, pontificating rhetoric to get at the truth of the matter. In this case, it’s dealing with why only a small amount people stay rich while the majority live in poverty.  It mirrors the educational gap between majority students  and minority students in varying communities. The frustrated adults and commentators question why the gap remains; the everyday victims of this crime sadly become immune to its destructive results.

How do we change this? How do you fix this problem? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as taking a pill to take the pain away.

It requires community involvement on a local, state, and federal level.  It requires pointed activism from the Occupy Wall Street movement.  It requires re-calibrating the opportunity scales so that EVERYONE has a fair shake at the American Dream of getting a good education, getting a good job, buying a house, having a family, saving money for your own kids to go to college, etc.

What do you think about this “class warfare”? Is it really a battle or just one-sided argument?

Today’s Group Assignment for English II – What is LOVE?

From my experience, poetry in general can be a little intimidating to non-English majors/self-described non-writers. It ranges from having archaic and overly developed vocabulary that requires a dictionary to understand every line to deeply metaphoric description and symbolism that “makes no sense” without doing a mini-history lesson.

So what do you do? You address one of its most popular topics of the ages – LOVE! It has toppled empires, caused wars, heightened family feuds, severed relationships and marriages, enraged gods, empowered  lonely starlets and their fans to want more from life, and changed the social class of fair maidens everywhere.

  • Why would people go through so much destruction, pain, and frustration in their pursuit of LOVE?
  •  What is the reward? What do people get in return?
  •  Is there an age requirement for being in love? Are adults the ONLY people who can REALLY fall in love? Why?
  • What other emotions do you experience when you are in love?

We are going to explore that today with today’s group assignment.

Take a look below at the collage I created on this post.  Notice the pictures, listen to the music lyrics playing and read the quotations. Then, in a group of three, you will brainstorm on the definition of love in your journal/separate sheet of paper.  EVERYONE needs to have his/her own completed assignment (10 ideas at least) to get full credit for classwork today.

You have 20 minutes to complete this assignment.  Let’s treat this like a Writing Challenge to all my blog followers. 


Feel free to respond in your comments. 🙂


Making Your Own “Happily Ever After” – Titanic Returns April 4, 2012

As I contemplate the end of my 20’s, I realize how the positive and negative experiences have shaped my personal philosophy of life and love. For a career, I need to feel like I am making a difference in the world and be passionate about my pursuits.

For my social life, I need real friends to comfort me in times of strife and tragedy and are consistent in their concern which only empowers me to be the same for them. In dating relationships, I need the companionship of a best friend, the intimacy of a lover, and the empathy of a passionate philanthropist so that I feel safe enough to be the same thing for my partner.

Being a romantic, I have been reflecting on what elements are necessary to make my current relationship work through cinema-therapy (I know how that sounds but I am an unabashed romantic). My favorite films I have been “revisiting” is a classic from high school – Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Besides the epic tragedy of lives lost, the film centers around the love story between a penniless but ambitious artist and a privileged yet fearless debutante defying the odds to be together.

They meet at a very sensitive time for the young woman – she is contemplating suicide so that she can escape her life of strict expectation and family obligation. At that moment, Jack (Leo’s character) sees through the fine clothes and fancy jewels to who Rose really is – a trapped canary in a bejeweled cage who has lost her song. It isn’t until he challenges her to fight for the life she wants that she sees him as the lifelong companion she needs and deserves.

When I saw the film in theaters, I remember yearning to have the intimate connection that Rose had with Jack; they knew each other as individuals outside of their disparate, social classes. Rose and Jack had the courage to support one another no matter what obstacles came their way – threats of being shot, arrested, beat up, called ugly names, even a sinking ship. How did they know that they were supported? It was innate. When Jack was arrested for allegedly stealing the “Heart of the Ocean” necklace, Rose was stunned by the accusation. But when she listened to her intuition, she realized that Jack would never steal from her – that was not the kind of man he was.

I wanted to be Rose in my own life – having the courage to love someone fearlessly and get that same love in return. I think I have found it.

Trust is vital – without it, you are rowing the lifeboat by yourself. That can be pretty tiring and emotionally frustrating. Luckily, I have a partner-in-crime. I also realized that I need more quality time and romance from my significant other (and I am pretty sure he knows it too).

The advantage to being in a secure and trusting relationship is that it gives you space to focus on your own life and interests. I plunge into new activities and interests that my partner may not be as passionate about as I am. Then I get to recount the fun to him later.

To be clear, I understand that real life is not a fairytale nor one of Disney’s classic films. There is no Prince Charming and no Hollywood “happy ending.” What there is are real people making personal connections, establishing emotional boundaries, and making the leap to loving someone without restraint for the sake of being human. I would rather leap with Love’s courage than be afraid to fall.