Perhaps the most odious part of modern American conservatism is the sanctimonious bootstraps-and-grit fantasies they constantly invoke to condescendingly excuse their utter disdain for anybody who isn’t pouring money into their campaign war chests.
Sadly, the noble ideals of the American Dream have been twisted and perverted for a most heinous task. They now function as a convenient way to shift blame for the deliberate cruelty of today’s exploitative and abusive political economy away from the wealth-hoarding oligarchs that control access to the majority of society’s resources back on to the victims of said capitalistic excess.
That insidious narrative was put on full display this afternoon when Rep. Stephen Meeks (R-AR) took to Twitter to engage in some preposterous and delusional poor-shaming.
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Being poor in America is a personal choice, unless there are mitigating circumstances.
A homeless man can go to school, get a job driving a truck making $70k per year and in 20 years become a millionaire.
In America you can work hard and change your future – if you chose. https://t.co/lFGqZA53ao
— Rep. Stephen Meeks (@RepStephenMeeks) November 17, 2018
It’s their own fault, cry the Republicans. It’s their fault that that wages have been stagnant for decades while worker productivity skyrockets. It’s their fault that nearly all the jobs created since the recession are part-time, insecure gig economy or contract jobs that deny workers the stability and the security they need.
It’s their fault that they live in a country that would rather saddle an entire generation with crippling student loan debt instead of giving them the tools they need to reach their full potential.
It’s their fault that they live in a country whose political elites would rather extort blood money from the sick and hold their lives hostage than give them the healthcare that the people of every other developed nation receive.
It’s their own fault that the United States is in the midst of a serious housing crisis as low-cost housing is torn down to make way for fancy condos and developers refuse to construct anything that doesn’t cater to the wealthy.
It’s their own fault that not having an address makes it nearly impossible for a homeless person to get a job and thus do any of the work that one might need to be able to afford to go to…trucker college, not spend any money for twenty years and somehow end up with a million dollars as Meeks says you can.
It’s their own fault that 95% of all economic gains since 2009 has gone to the top 1% of Americans, who control more wealth than the entire rest of the country combined. It’s their fault that eight people — six of them American — control more wealth than half of the entire human race combined.
But that’s a “Christian” Republican for you. No empathy, no understanding, no self-awareness or any sense of responsibility for their role in perpetuating this awful status quo.
The Twitter community immediately began roasting Meeks in brutal fashion, quickly racking up nearly 5,000 responses. Here’s a sample of the best.
Is this how you justify that Arkansas has the 4th highest poverty rate in the country? By blaming the poor? Perhaps you think this excuses you from working to solve the problem. That’s not leadership. It’s soulless ignorance and contempt. Shame on you. https://t.co/Wy1v2tQbaw
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) November 18, 2018
I have done tax returns for a number of truckers and I've never seen one that's making even a fair wage. Each one thought they were gonna get rich. Each one was trapped in the business.
— Flo. Kiss my grits. (@VeraGorman) November 17, 2018
I didn't realize that unlike every other job in the world truck driving had unlimited demand and was salary-insensitive to available labor! Once everyone finds out poverty is sure to disappear! Well, either that or you're a dumbass. Either way, an important tweet!
— Matthew Skene (@SkenePhilosophy) November 17, 2018
You've never encountered one of your constituents who has chronic, unavoidable medical issues, have you? Someone for whom the doctors and hospitals and medicines and treatment bills mount to more than they can ever pay. Where even a good looking salary isn't enough to be not poor
— Eirenne // Shayla Maas (@ladypoetess) November 17, 2018
yeah he went back to school and got his masters in “driving a truck”
— illy bocean (@IllyBocean) November 17, 2018