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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Dumbing Down of America?

Chris, a longtime HIA reader and a frequent messenger of mercy to the poor and homeless in California sends to us this Business Week cover story, August 6, 2007 edition: The Pet Economy – Americans now spend $41 billion on their pets.

The article reports that Americans are doling out $41 billion a year for their pets - everything from gourmet and designer foods to Fido’s nose job. What that basically means is that a lot of humans are getting rich and people’s priorities are all messed up.

American society has evolved to the point where each year there are 3.5 million homeless (about the size of Phoenix, AZ) being ignored. We have human beings who are not even basically housed, fed or clothed. Yet our pets are essentially living in the lap of luxury.

Increasingly, Americans are making the choice to pamper pets that do not have the thinking capacity to understand designer differences. For instance, they cannot comprehend the difference between nourishing wholesome dog food and hand crafted, glazed and decorated treats – ones that are handsomely boxed and laid to rest on festive tissue paper; the latter of which can easily cost 10 times the former’s price. Some have gone so far to say that expensive and irrational choices such as these are another validation of what is popularly called, “The dumbing down of America!”

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1 comment:

David Settino Scott, III said...

I have experienced the misery of homelessness at several points in my life and, although there is a certain sense of freedom to it, it is a dangerous and miserable lifestyle that is hard to rise out of.
Contrary to popular belief, most homeless did not become so out of choice. Most did not become homeless because they are lazy, stupid, or immoral. Many homeless people are victims of abuse in the form of neglect and abandonment by their parents or other caregivers. Like many victims of abuse, a lot of them have chemical dependency problems. Their existence is so miserable that they use alcohol or other drugs as an escape. Some of them are simply victims of life’s tragedies, such as hurricanes, fires, or other catastrophes from which they simply don’t have the resources to recover.
Also, there is a snowball effect that occurs with homelessness. After all, who is going to hire someone with no address? Most homeless people don’t have the resources to even do their laundry; who is going to hire someone in filthy clothes? Also once a person has fallen to the level of living on the streets it is very difficult for them to get a job even if they are capable of working, because the condition of homelessness creates a low sense of self-esteem which makes it difficult to relate to other people. It is difficult to find, much less keep a job once a person’s self-esteem is so badly damaged.
I invite you to my website: There you will find pictures I have taken of homeless people. I always give them a dollar or two for the privilege of photographing them. Usually, I am surprised by their cheerfulness and sense of pride. Often, they will show themselves to have some kind of talent. There is a fine line between genius and insanity.
David Settino Scott, III (10-19-08)