You Are Not A Tree…

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Too many of us lament that we can’t get jobs where we were born and raised. That seems especially true of the poorest areas of the country including Appalachia. Jobs just aren’t very plentiful there. The deep South is another example.  It would be nice is all areas of the country were full of gainful employment. But given our foundations in almost pure capitalism that will never happen.

On a side note, it is kinda ironic that the States that rail the most against socialism vote primarily with the GOP and are the ones that have the most citizens who depend on social programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and such.  I know education levels enter into it but why don’t more of those folks just move to where there are more economic opportunities?  I have pondered that question for longer than I care to remember.

It does bug me to hear people complaining about this or that, especially when they could do something it.  Many times it really doesn’t take that much effort. I think that the major issue is their dogged resistance to change.  I and many others welcome the uncertainty associated with change as just part of progress, but others seem to be deathly afraid of it.

If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree

I couldn’t have said it better.

What To Do about Extreme Poverty In The USA?

When you think about extreme poverty I’m sure you mostly think of third world countries. It is hard to imagine that over 3 million people in the US  live on less than $2 per day.

Appalachia.jpgAccording to the World Bank, 769 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day in 2013; they are the world’s very poorest. Of these, 3.2 million live in the United States, and 3.3 million in other high-income countries (most in Italy, Japan and Spain)…

Even for the whole population, life expectancy in the United States is lower than we would expect given its national income, and there are places — the Mississippi Delta and much of Appalachia — where life expectancy is lower than in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Source: The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem – The New York Times

What can be done with areas like Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta?  Or maybe even more importantly what should be done? I don’t pretend to have an answer to these questions but I do have more questions about the topic. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination in this topic so I am only speaking from logic or maybe from my heart. Empathy drives much of what I am especially at this period in my life.

Appalachia-3.jpgAlthough I have not experienced being in either of these two regions to any extent, I have heard the stories and legends about them. They both seem to be areas that are totally lost in time.  When I was growing up with a single parent low wage dad I was poor but I didn’t really know that for a fact.  We ate a lot of spaghetti and such and usually only had meat a couple of times a week but that was normal for me and I assumed for most others.

I recently went to the Museum of Appalachia in eastern Tennessee and it proved to be an enlightening experience. I was made aware of the extreme pride some from that region have in their existence. But I also imagine that there are those who feel trapped in a lifestyle they were born into and can’t wait or more sadly figure out how to leave it.

Appalachia-2.jpgGetting to the point of this post, what can or maybe should we do about the extreme poverty in those particular regions? Since we are a capitalist country we can’t dictate that businesses open up factories and stores in the region to give the folks there more opportunities. Simply handing out money is not an option that many there would likely accept? Without a lot of thought, I’m not sure there is much to be done.

Somehow we need to make sure that those who live in these regions know that there are opportunities outside their area if they have the will to leave. Beyond that, I’m not sure that there is an answer to my original questions.

Museum of Appalachia

 

Scan 1Banner ISOA  On my most recent trip InSearchOfAmerica I visited the Museum of Appalachia. I was not expecting too much but was blown away by what I found. It is a museum like no other I have visited. The totally unique thing about this place was that all the building and most of the antiques were identified by the person who owned them and included stories about their lives.  It is almost as if you could picture them living in the buildings and using the instruments and such.

 

I took literally a hundred photos of the place. Here are a few to entice you to visit. The museum is located in Clinton TN in the northeast corner of the State.

 

 

 

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view