Friday, July 05, 2013

Dollar Store


 We’re gonna jump down turn around
pick a bale of cotton,
jump down turn around pick a bale a day 
--Pick a Bale of Cotton, traditional  

Call me a relic call me what'cha will
Say I'm old fashioned say I'm over the hill 
--Old Time Rock and Roll, Bob Segar

 I don't know where my soul is
I don't know where my home is 
--I'm Like a Bird, Nelly Furtado

Not wanting to be one of those people who critiques other blogs, please see that this not the point of this entry.

As a follow-on to yesterday's "Prelude to the Finale", RAW will mention a piece from yesterday's Huffington Post about a mother who left her kid in a closed vehicle in a parking lot on a hot (89 degree) day. The child was released unharmed, but the story shadowboxed one comment to their piece which called for a sort of vigilante posse to "patrol the parking lots of Dollar stores."

"I think we should all form a vigilante group and wander discount store parking lots and rescue kids and pets left in hot cars. I will buy us all frappes if you design the logo for our Mommy Hot Car Rescue league!"
Frapes all 'round!
What's not to love?

Does that sound reasonable to you? That ostensibly well-meaning comment reveals why liberals are unsuccessful in implementing any sort of meaningful projects. The comment is angry, dismissive and denigrating, embodying the divide between the haves and have-nots. You who have the time to patrol parking lots where the dregs shop may be able to fish the occasional child out of a sweltering (or freezing) car, and that may make you Superman for a moment. Then you may go back to HuffPo and report on your intervention, feeling very good for a moment.

But the people reading HuffPo are not the average worker bees who are lucky to have a moment to turn on the evening news, which means they will not really get a fair diary of the news but merely a entertainment facsimile leaving them all the more incurious about their world or alternately feeling hopelessly separated from it.

The problem is not confined to those who shop at Dollar Stores or whose thinking is disarranged. Child abuse (neglect) is a problem in all social strata. By making it a blight of "those people" who shop at Dollar Stores, you make an uncomfortable and illiberal divide between you and your sisters. We are all guilty of neglect; those with more money are able to fob their children off on au pairs, or sit them in front of the latest video games; anytime we fail to connect with those in our environment we cannot understand and so cannot contribute to a reasonable solution.

That parent and child saved from the potential fiasco at the Dollar Store will return to an abode without proper cooling or insulation, perhaps vermin-ridden with peeling lead paint or compromised asbestos tile. Maybe a mobile home full of carcinogens (FEMA or not).

There may be insufficient or no food in the fridge, or spoiled food. There will probably be no adequate medical care to treat an emergency which might arise, or to create a healthcare plan for achieving and maintaining a well body. (Waiting in an ER for 6+ hours does not qualify as adequate medical care.) The frustration which arises from such a fraught life may result in depression or substance abuse, which rolls over into abuse perpetrated on the innocent or a living dead sort of ennui which is just bad.

It is the paradox of the blind men in the room with an elephant. Each touches one part and so is certain that the animal is narrow, hard, rough and wrinkled or hairy depending upon which part he got to "see". We are not blind, and yet when we react by treating a symptom as though it were the root problem, we may as well be.

People seem to enjoy getting up in arms about the "outrage du jour", and that emotion feels like "doing something", which seems to quell their feelings of impotence, discharging their energy in a socially acceptable way. "You see, I am a caring person and just got very upset about what I saw." It is as though the outrage packet carries within it the knowledge that very little will change. The packaging of that reaction on Facebook or in 140 characters on Twitter is becoming a new art form.

A recent prime example of this was the reaction to the new "Common Core" school initiative proposing a set of standards for public schools in the vein of the spectacularly unsuccessful, "No Child Left Behind". Steve Krashen at the Cinncinnati Enquirer got it right when he observed that U.S. still lags miserably behind in school achievement among the other industrial nations and pins it to the fact that the U.S. has the 2nd highest level of Child poverty in the developed world.

"When children are hungry undernourished, ill" and go home to dysfunctional families, new standards and tests mean very little.

Are there any questions?

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger BadTux said...

Blaming the victim and looking down upon the "littles" are American traditions at this point, just more symptoms of a sick society.

Friday, July 5, 2013 at 4:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...


Since when is the American school system "unsuccessful"?

Unsuccessful for whom?

Education expert George Carlin explains.

Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 12:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Spud said...

Fricking Pussified world where someone who is poor can't leave their kid in the car for ten efn minutes !
God-damn yuppie Nazi's !!
I survived those few times as a kid, O course if it got too hot we were smart enuff back then to get out of the fricken car heh. Or at least open the damn window !

Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 6:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Spud, yeah, it's amazing that any of us survived to become adults in the days before we had enlightened elites making laws to protect us.

When I was just a little boy I had a .22 rifle - and ammunition for it!!!!! - in my own room with no trigger locks!!!!!! I even rode my bicycle without a helmet as did my friends!!!!

I remember my mom running errands and telling me to stay in the car for a minute or two, in the summer. She rolled the windows down (creatively ingenious woman that she was) and yes, I got hot and sweaty and the minutes could seem like hours, but some how managed to live through these events.

Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 9:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Spud said...

Greatest danger that I can recall was time my older sister and I were left in the car. We got to fooling around and popped the car out of gear. Didn't know how ta put it back in and the car was on an incline. I did know what the brake pedal was for though. Let me tell ya, when you're 5 yrs. old that sucker is a stretch to reach ! My sister hauled ass into the store to bring the rescue squad. My Dad laughed for years telling the story of coming out to find this panicked little boy desperately on his tip toes a pushing on that pedal !

Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 10:08:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Your understanding of American culture continues to impress :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 2:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Eric Hodgdon said...

But, having Dollar Stores and WalMart goes to the decline in economic life in the USA.

Capitalism will only cause more and more IN-equality as it's an economic system designed for rapid expansion ONLY.

Sunday, July 7, 2013 at 7:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Rafaela said...


Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 12:04:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home