Having watched many documentaries about extreme poverty in the US and elsewhere, it’s shockingly clear that only certain privileged parts of our country have advanced beyond developing nation status. I’m from one of those fortunate places, and living here among the midwestern working poor, representative of vast portions of the nation, has been culture shock in itself.
Yet, compared to some of the awful deprivation in cities like south-central L.A., south Bronx, and Flint, I realize how relative poverty is. I’m reminded of how much I have, even here, and how many of us are just one misfortune away from disaster. Even under the best of circumstances, we’re balancing precariously on a tightrope over a chasm. It has little to do with how smart or industrious you are, and more to do with what you look like and where you chanced to be born. Now under trump, many more of us are at risk.
In some inner cities, citizens are realizing that no one is going to fight for their basic rights and needs, unless they stand up and do it themselves. They aren’t heroes, just ordinary desperate people, invisible to the outside world until they become suspect, which happens a lot. It’s the reality they live with.
Many families have never seen or eaten fresh, affordable produce in the food deserts they are forced to live in. Now some of them are forming neighborhood garden cooperatives and growing their own organic veggies and fruits. It’s a micro green revolution of sorts. Sometimes they get in trouble with the law for daring to buck the system, while just a few miles away in a different world, white folks garden with impunity. The hypocrisy and disparity are starting to give way to desperate necessity.
In a trump world, conditions will only get harder for average Americans, but maybe faced with such extremity, ordinary people with nothing left to lose and no fucks left to give will finally reach the breaking point and refuse to give in. In every century, it’s under adversity that great things have gotten done. Necessity can be a Mother! (Of invention, that is.)
This time it’s our turn to resist, each in our own small way. Whatever you can do, wherever you are, to stand against trump’s small-minded evil agenda in any way, it will ripple out and benefit us all.