Sullivan-County.com News, Opinion


Poverty a Complicated Issue Bristol Virginia-Tennessee

by Lewis Loflin

While this applies to my community in Bristol VA/TN it could well apply to any other dysfunctional community anywhere. Make no mistake so-called conservatives are just as big a part of the problem. Also see Virginia Republicans are Hypocrites on Welfare.

New Years day started off with a literal bang in neighboring Kingsport when a violent black felon emptied a handgun into a complete stranger at the local Waffle House. Two days later a local deputy was run over and nearly killed by a violent black gang fleeing an armed robbery. The jails are bursting with white people arrested on drug charges. (The average age I found was around 38 and cluster heavily from 31-42.) Two more feral black males, part of a gang of ten people that executed to men at a Kingsport store, go on trial for murder.

The Tri-Cities as we are often called is becoming an inner city war zone. We had none of this 15-20 years ago, so what has gone wrong?

The liberal elite see poverty and lack of economic opportunity as responsible for the vast array of social ills that beset this community. This can be solved by bigger and better government intervention, social programs, and more funding for education. Society bears responsibility for their plight and they are not responsible.

And it has been tried for years and does little more than make people permanent wards of the state.

That makes no sense at all be it whites, blacks, or anyone else. The white community here suffered far greater poverty at one time than they do today and few families committed the staggering levels of self-destructive social behavior they do today. The same was true of black Americans before 1960. Even with the ravages of racism they never had anywhere near the crime and self-destructive social behavior rampant in the newspapers. Lower-class whites are rapidly going in the same direction.

Poverty today is nothing like it once was due to a vast array of social services available. Back before these services existed the poor, regardless of race, relied on family, church, and community and not clueless government social engineers, mainly affluent white people. They base these silly programs on half-baked academic studies from other affluent white people that like the local elites are socially and economically isolated from those they claim to speak for.

This liberal/leftist elite is frankly hostile to the very cultural values (family, church, self-reliance, etc.) that once empowered and gave the poor the tools to survive a bad situation and have gone a long ways in their efforts to destroy those values. The welfare state (and the lucrative jobs and political power it entails for those running it) has replaced all of that and we see the results.

Where the community and people themselves once policed much of the destructive social behavior we see today (they were far from perfect), liberals turned them into victims demanding restitution.

Holding people directly responsible for their actions and punishing irresponsible behavior would force them to stop doing stupid things and will break them of the need of running to the welfare office and the 'entitlement mentality' it breeds. That will also begin to break the political power of the liberal/left elite - not going to happen.

Yes there is a lot poverty here and the economy is grossly unfair even to those with advanced degrees - lack of political access trumps everything. But that is no excuse for acting like animals. There are jobs in this community to be had and they are mostly low-paying, but that's still no excuse to sit in front of the television all day and vegetate.

Many able-bodied white people here are on Social Security disability that has become such a racket lawyers openly advertise for clients. Drive along I-81 between Bristol and Abingdon and one can see a big billboard from the Gene Cochran law firm. (www.genecochranlaw.com) To quote, "Injury law, Social Security Disability and Worker's Compensation is all we do..." They must be very good with the number of people here on disability.

We can argue all week that poverty causes destructive social behavior as liberals want to believe, or sloth and family break down causes poverty. The answer is both and I believe it's 50-50.

As a final note liberals here have become part of the system of corruption and indifference. Many of their organizations benefit from the government grant gravy train (a process I call grant farming) and have turned towards environmentalism and 'saving the planet' as their main concern. To quote one local environmentalist, "the earth comes first."

In reality people in particular the poor are secondary (if any concern at all) to the newest culture war issue. By throttling economic development in the name of Gaia they made an already appalling job situation even worst. Through efforts to stop construction of new housing 'to protect the environment' the deplorable housing situation grows worse because housing shortages drive up inflation. Environmentalism is literal economic murder on the working poor.

While the American political ruling class squabbles over ideology the common man/women pays the price.



I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. Thomas Paine

Excerpts from Will Durant's The Age of Faith Pages 162-186 Pub. 1950