On Poverty

I always hoped not to read anything close to Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes depiction of poverty. (Disclosure: It's one of my all-time favourite books, and I'm a fan of the author's works). Only the humour in the book sustained my attention against the horrifying story. An article by Linda Tirado has been streaming everywhere, and it comes close to a modern summary of a life as miserable as Frank McCourt's childhood. It's about the boldest depiction of poverty in modern life, which examines it against the dynamics of capitalism, of workplace, of survival, of parenthood, of everything inconceivable.

While it's curious to read a piece as this from a First World citizen, it's even more curious to know how dark poverty is experienced across countries. The writer brilliantly counters those familiar slurs that are thrown at poor people, including accusations that ignore capitalist and Machiavellian decisions that create more poor people. It's a good narration without any pretension to evoke pity. She admits to working hard like other poor people and hints at the ignorance of those who make prejudiced notions about poor people and poverty. It’s a bold and bleak account. It deserves to go viral viral. It will make you think. It might depress you. If anything, it should make "lucky" people more humane to those who survive on the dregs of society.

This excerpt is particularly chilling:

There’s a certain pull to live what bits of life you can while there’s money in your pocket, because no matter how responsible you are you will be broke in three days anyway. When you never have enough money it ceases to have meaning. I imagine having a lot of it is the same thing. 

Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It’s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It’s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that’s all you get. You’re probably not compatible with them for anything long term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don’t plan long term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it.