Chicken egg in straw nest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Great question for discussion with no application in real life. A better question for our times is are our times a product of our politicians or are our politicians a product of the times we live in? I believe that the answer is our lousy political leaders are a product of the times we live in, but they reinforce and strengthen the problems of our times. What to do?
Some want to put religious tenets back into American life. That may or may not help, based on the corruption of political life that existed while America was a more religion-observant nation. I think that we must go beyond the forms of religious observance and return (or advance) to practicing the golden rule in our treatment of the less fortunate here at home before we venture abroad to spread “American” values. I would emphasize spreading our values by example, rather than by use of the sword, what we do too often now.
If we start to practice the golden rule here at home with minorities and the less fortunate, we will demand that our political leaders follow suit, or lose office. It will not be a fast process or easy, but as I see it, it is the only way to break out of the vicious cycle we are in where the times produce political leaders who make our problems worse, not better.
Inner City Pressure (Photo credit: shannonpatrick17)
Racial discrimination in the US is a chicken and egg situation; which came first, the chicken or the egg. Some of the majority believe that the poor/minorities do not deserve our help because the poor/minorities do not live up the ideals of American society. Some of the poor/minorities are lazy (unemployed) and others are criminals (drug dealers and/or gang members). What some of the majority are forgetting or do not understand is that jobs have disappeared from the inner-city ghettos where the poor/minorities are forced to live because they cannot afford anything better. Jobs have migrated to the suburbs and public transit is often inadequate to connect the inner-city job seeker to suburban job opportunities. The job seeker may need private transportation (a car) to gain a job, but he/she needs the job first to afford a car. A catch-22 situation.
Looking at the situation from the viewpoint of the poor/minorities, American society has let them down by providing fewer and fewer services due to policies begun in the 1980s. Education is poor and public transit for job holders and job seekers is inadequate. Without education and good paying jobs, what do we expect the poor/minorities to do? Life must go on. Unemployment/welfare benefits and crime may be the only sources of income for a growing number of Americans.
This is not a policing problem, where putting more of the poor/minorities in prison is the answer. As prisons are privatized, there is a profit motive to incarcerate more and more people. We should be spending our tax dollars on better schools, not more prisons. I believe that the answer to the problem of increasing poverty and crime is better education so that our poor/minorities can become productive members of society. And some portion of the better education must go to educate those of the majority who believe that the poor/minorities are solely or largely responsible for their own situations.
For additional information, I recommend When Work Disappears, The World of the New Urban Poor by William Julius Wilson. I know that the situation of the poor/minorities in the US is a complicated subject with many factors affecting the outcome. Looking at it as a chicken and egg matter is a vast simplification, but I think that it does provide a valid insight that may be helpful in understanding the problem(s).