the pre-criminalization of the poor


8 comments posted
Not to be rude but getting

Not to be rude but getting fingerprinted seems to be a small price for getting a free hand-out.

anonymous lurker's picture
Posted by anonymous lurker (not verified) on 10 September 2005 - 10:40am

What is the purpose of fingerprinting, except to treat the poor as criminals? This supposedly is a free country. Are we really so eager to produce a national database with personal information of law abiding American citizens?

(Since 9/11, there's been a lot of focus on national security. Yet 9/11 was perpetrated by illegal aliens. So why exactly does the Patriot Act focus nearly all of its new powers on American citizens?)

Oh, and it's not a free handout. It is our society taking care of itself. Maybe you'd prefer that poor folks just lived on the streets, like in Calcutta, starving to death?

(And if you lose your income, and find yourself destitute, do you really think that society should just give you the boot and treat you like a criminal?)

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 10 September 2005 - 10:53am
It's not for *free*

As I *clearly* pointed out, it is unnecessary. We treat the poor any way we choose b/c we don't like them. And what I also pointed out, the poor are needed to keep wages down. Not everyone gets to be well off. It would cause inflation. If the bottom wages were $50,00 a yr, then the middle income would be 1/2 million and the rich would make something in a new number that hasn't been invented yet.

gballsout's picture
Posted by gballsout on 10 September 2005 - 5:13pm
G- I've been there, too.

I hate to tell you this, hon, but I had 5 doctors, including the one SS sent me to, saying I was disabled and because the Judge didn't like me, it took me 5 years to get my benefits. Benefits I earned while working for the government, where I was fingerprinted. The fingerprinting is their way of telling you that you are now government property. Any time you deal with the government you give up civil liberties. Republicans don't seem to have a problem with this. Democrats should, but they're bought an paid for by the same corporations that benefit from victimizing the poor, so they turn a blind eye.

I hope your friend will help you out, because there is no alternative if you don't have family you can lean on. While my case was on appeal, I lost everything I had - my apartment, a house full of furniture, and I had to move from Philadelphia to stay with relatives, so I'm stuck on a mountain in the middle of nowhere with no friends and no options. I'm one of the lucky ones, in that I didn't end up homeless. I didn't have the option of being a stripper or prostitute - I'm not cute enough - and that's what most women end up having to do.

The only way to get by on $200. a month rent is to have roommates. If three people get together they can get a small apartment in a bad neighborhood for 600 or so. Of course, you have no privacy, but that's another price you pay for getting sick in America. You're right - Americans despise the poor and the disabled. They look at us as defective, or lazy. This country has not a scrap of "Christian Charity" left in it. Personally, when I was able to work, I never begrudged women being able to feed their kids, because I know poor women don't have options. Abortion, condoms, even the right to say "no" can all cost money poor women don't have. Men leave and no matter what the Religious Right legislates, they always will. We need a societal structure that treats women and children like people. This one doesn't.

You should read my post on what poor women go through if they CAN scrape up the money for an abortion.

Support the Women's Autonomy and Sexual Sovereignty Movements

Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 10 September 2005 - 8:38pm
One correction: > As I said,

One correction:

> As I said, I balked at that. No one else except people who wish to own > a gun get fingerprinted, but if you are a person in need, you must do > so.

You also get fingerprinted if wish to become either a legal permanent resident or a naturalized citizen.

Fazia Rizvi's picture
Posted by Fazia Rizvi (not verified) on 11 September 2005 - 12:35pm

a friend also pointed out that you get fingerprinted for some jobs, however those don't go into the government system.

I don't know what to say about immigrants. A choice of sorts? I mean, I believe they came here for a better life, but for the poor, we're stuck. And we are already born citizens, born into the laws and system of our government which really exists to protect us at whatever level it does.

gballsout's picture
Posted by gballsout on 12 September 2005 - 7:06pm

I arrived here by a rather circular route, following links on the political connections of those involved in awarding contracts for disater relief in the wake of Katrina.

I commend mediagirl on her research regarding the business connections between former Bush fixer, Joe Allbaugh, and Mississippi Govenor Haley Barbour, and for being on point regarding this.

I also commend mediagirl for providing 'gballsout' a venue to share her story.

There is a sharp contrast drawn between these two entries, on the one hand we see an apparent incestuos web of connections among those administration insiders, that are busily handing out government largesse to the politically connected, and on the other, the difficulty of one of our own citizens in getting help, one that is now living on the brink.

To gballsout,

I extend my fervent wish and meager prayers for you to persevere through the fear of financial uncertainty and the discouragment you must certainly feel in facing in your current circumstance.

To all I say, there but for the grace of God .....

I find the telling of your story both cogently relevant, and brave.

Relevant, as it is important for us all to understand what occurs in the lives of our fellow citizens when a tragedy befalls them, whether it be from a collective and shared calamity, like hurricaine Katrina, or the entirely personal disaster of a psychological illness.

... and brave?

Yes. Brave.

I am guessing this whole ordeal has been humiliating enough, so that you may have had reservations about sharing your experience, yet you gleaned it is important to challenge the common characterizations, that helping our fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters in need, is a scamming of the taxpayer by lazy welfare cheats.

Unfortunately the whole process of applying for help has the context that you are guilty of being just that, until you can prove your 'innocence' and verify the legitimate need.

The Right has no problem catagorizing the necessity of propping up the most profitable of business interests, like the energy sector, or the patriotic necessity of supporting military adventurism in the middle east, and then strapping the staggering debt involved in funding such policy onto the backs of future generations, but it applies an entirely different set of rationales to investing in the lives and common welfare of our fellow citizens.

So I applaud your courage in candidly telling us your story and providing the proper contrasting reality beyond those all too common characterizations.

While I applaud your courage in facing your condition squarely and seeking help, I am equally appalled that your own father would further compound your situation by 'kicking you when you're down'.

I am sure that must have felt really great during this time of need.

Let me guess .... he voted for Bush?

I believe one of the more fundamental problems we face as a society, is the unexamined belief in the underlying assumptions of unfettered capitalism, the notion that true value is solely determined by the financial incentives involved, that profit correlates to value, and that only those endeavors that are iimmediately profitable, are deemed worthy of pursuit.

In that lexicon, only the cream of ideas and products rise to the top, and people are judged equally worthy or not, by their degree of profitablity.

That might be an expedient philosophy for the broadest alloucution of resources, but it is of only marginal use in determining true longterm value, particularly so in the lives of individual people.

Are the lives and contributions of the most profitable in our society, people like Ken Lay, George Bush, and Donald Trump, really of a higher societal value and have a more positive impact on our culture, than say, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, and Vincent Van Gogh?

gballsout, in spite of your present circumstance, I find you a formidable and valuable person, right now in the midst of your current troubles. I have even higher hopes and respect for your better future, so I urge you, do not succumb to the shame invoking hype involved in seeking help, and don't succumb to the momentary impulses of anger or even to your father's judgements and projected fears.

My Sincerest Regards


darjeeling's picture
Posted by darjeeling (not verified) on 13 September 2005 - 12:10pm
thanks to darjeeling

I wanted to send you a private message, but I guess you aren't *registered* or I can't figure it out. your message here was appreciated on several levels.

My friends, who are supportive, do often find my outspokeness on some subjects frightening. I hear: don't talk about your mental illness, don't talk about circumcision, don't challenge people for their statements/beliefs and various other *ugly* topics I bring up. I like to bring the ugly out. for them, I think they are afraid of their weaknesses (including arguing a point---they don't want to be challenged) and think if they say nothing, nobody notices their version of ugly in their lives.

I don't know, maybe some people can't see the weaknesses others have, but I see them. It just takes some observation. I don't dislike anyone for it. If they have low self esteem, I see it, but it doesn't change what I think of them. People like to say that "everyone has flaws", but they are afraid to admit to their own and think if they don't, then somehow those flaws don't exist or they worry they will lose the good opinion of others.

My real point is: it's not that I want to use this blog to whine, I hope I don't come across that way, I just want to get *my* story out, which I believe is the story other people share. I even got a couple comments here from people who've dealt with these problems in their lives. And I want to write it from a personal level. Years ago there was this op-ed in the NYTimes by a woman (whose name I've utterly forgotten) called the Personal and the Political. i read a book of her collected columns and her introduction explained the title. The personal *is* the political.

We don't know how various groups of people really live. We only know our own lives (if we're lucky and have had good therapy) and make guesses at others. So telling my story isn't so much b/c I think I'm so *important* as the very serious and more political posts here, but I represent a significant group of people and their challenges. And I have an eye for what I believe needs to be looked at very hard.

gballsout's picture
Posted by gballsout on 14 September 2005 - 6:23am