Like most Canadians, we at suburban-poverty.com watch developments south of the border with more than a little interest, alternating between horror, fascination, jealousy and disgust frequently, sometimes by the hour. With the election cycle grinding into gear and lumbering forward like some First World War tank we have been on the watch for evidence that the social phenomenon of suburban poverty is on any candidate’s radar. No luck with the various Republican critters at large and Obama is biding his time it would seem.
Still, we were pleased to see an item yesterday on the New York Times opinion page called The New Suburban Poverty. A nice piece it is, from the author of a book called, steady yourselves dear readers, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right. With historical elements and some thought for the the new suburban poverty and its effect on America’s political life the author can see change coming.
“It is not likely that the 2012 election will be the terrain of the bold, although President Obama’s proposal for tax increases on the wealthy is a step in the right direction. At this point, the festering pain in suburbia may not translate into suburban support for increased public revenues and spending. But as suburbs redefine themselves to grapple with the reality of poverty in their midst, public solutions will likely find growing appeal in places whose voters have historically favored fiscal conservatism.”
The New Suburban Poverty by Lisa McGirr
On, of all days, Remembrance Day, we came across a chart of the unemployment rate for US veterans under the age of 34 (i.e. Iraq & Afghanistan). The chart is from Business Week online but suburban-poverty.com came across it on a blog called Global Guerrillas. The latter concerns itself with geopolitical developments and the future of armed conflict. How do we connect all that to suburban poverty?
The author at Global Guerrillas finds much to ponder as to how this unemployment may influence domestic conditions in the United States. Is there reason to think these unemployed individuals may act in ways that are genuinely threatening to civil society? Will they be exploited in a semiparalyzed, financially discombobulated political arena also increasingly full of incoherence and vehemence? Even those only moderately literate in history find the mind racing to compare this prospect to the story of Weimar Germany, the short lived parliamentary republic (1919-1933) in which German totalitariansim was born. Add Global Guerrillas to your blog reading list as you watch this part of the way things are developing in the United States.
Resilient communities and networked economies. Open source insurgency and systems disruption.
Suburbia could be said to have been a product of liberal values like redistribution of wealth, upward mobility, technological progress, public education, a merit-based system of economic rewards and rising standards of living. Will it then die in the unfolding of the world as seen by Chris Hedges? It’s a grim picture dear readers. Hedges has given us a long, well written goodbye to liberals and their institutions. What little is left of liberal values is seen as nothing more than a mask hiding corporate power and abuse. We are two thirds finished this book and find it so powerful we decided to waste no time recommending it. You have to be tough to make it through this one, though. Hedges is describing a world gone to hell. Politics and government, the arts, war, business, mass media, education, …nothing escapes. Moral critique at its best, truly Hedges is a super-brained, seminary-schooled, war reporting version of Michael Moore.
All the more shame to CBC pseudo-journalist Kevin O’leary for his attempt to denigrate Hedges in October during an interview about the Occupy movement. Imagine referring to a well-educated, heavily-published, Pulitzer-winning writer with a powerful sense of morality as someone who sounds like a “left wing nut job.”