Monday, June 15, 2009
The rich divide.
Election time in my country is closing in. And this early the mass media is full of ads and banners showing this and that canditate telling how they will change the lives of the poor citizens one's they are voted into office.
Oh its the same slogans over again. Nice words from rich people, who own many houses and who mingle among rich people like them. So, how can they possibly understand the life of the poor if they do not live the life of the poor? It is easy to say you listen to the plight of the have-nots but its is hard to actually do it.
The rich do not just have more money than we do, the rich have more eccentricities than we do. Eccentricities born of different sensibilities, different mindsets, different ways of doing things. These are differences that often boggle my minds, as I am use to other ways, other needs, other lives.
It takes imagination to understand the rich.
But I’ve always thought the same thing is true of the poor. The poor are different from you and me. They do not just have less money than we do, they have a sense of lesser possibilities than we do. A sense of lesser possibilities due to different adversities, different deprivations, different levels of powerlessness. These are differences that boggle the mind, particularly when you see 12 people trying to fit into a hovel little bigger than a confessional, when you see a man poison himself, his wife and his six kids to spare them the pangs of hunger.
It takes imagination to understand the poor.
That is to say, it’s not just that people do not listen to the poor because they do not want to, it is also that people do not listen to the poor because they do not know how to. Listening is the hardest art of all to master.
Listening to the poor, even more so.
During campaign periods we do not lack of candidates who sing and dance on the stage because they think that is all the poor know, that is all the poor want. Some candidates would go to some length like eating with their hands in some hovel in the slums, to show they are pro-poor. Yet the same hands will dip into the cookie jar of the national treasury.
All of them talk to the poor. But all of them leave the poor poorer than when they found them.