It really grinds my gears when people say things like, “money doesn’t matter, anyone can do anything if they just believe and try hard enough.” That’s utter bullshit and completely false. It’s bullshit like that which perpetuates the crime and drug-abusing cultures that North America has created.
People say money doesn’t matter only because they have it and grew up with access to it; whether their own or their families, whether hard currency or good credit. None of them have ever actually had to face real poverty for seriously extended periods, and the other problem is BC specifically makes living in poverty it’s own disability.
My only real mistake, personally, was wasting 20 years letting people tell me I wasn’t disabled enough and that I was “normal” because I look “normal,” (which was the equivalent of cutting me off at the knees emotionally) and telling me to just get any job I can find at all, since I’m “too normal/smart to be disabled.” Because I trusted the people I called family and friends to actually care about me and be supportive of what my real limitations and talents are, I now have no money, no marketable skills, no formal education, no friends, and shit credit. And I was treated like that because I was on welfare or disability. Doors were closed because of how high functioning I am, others were closed because of how disabled I am, and still others were closed because my income is drastically below the poverty line. None of it was ever because I was just lazy.
People turn to crime not because they are bad people or they just like to cause chaos, they do it out of desperation. People turn to drugs not because they are lazy, but because poverty makes them desperate to find any way to escape even if only for a few minutes. The rich create poverty by fighting to hoard as much wealth and resources as they can, regardless of their own actual needs. Crime and illicit drug use are created by poverty. And then those who aren’t in poverty, often even those also struggling themselves to not fall into poverty, turn around and blame the poor on things like crime and illicit drug use.
The war on poverty has become a war on the poor (those people living at or below the poverty line), and the US has been ground zero; the grotesque prejudice against the poor has spread around the globe, and has become entrenched in even Canadian society. I speak from experience; I’ve lived BELOW the poverty line all my life, and NOT because I’m lazy or stupid. It’s because I have neurological disorders which prevent me from being able to work in many employment environments. But because of the prejudice about people on poverty, AND the ignorance about neurological disorders and mental health, many doors of opportunity are slammed shut in my face.
I didn’t choose to have these disorders. I didn’t just choose to shut those doors. And the FACT is that if my family had a middle-class income, many of those doors would have never been shut on me because we could pay for the accommodations and the education I needed, which would have opened doors of employment I can’t get. Money that would pay for things like a driver’s license and a decent car, as even those would double my current job possibilities. Money that would pay for education and accommodations like a private tutor and study aid in high school and university, which would have allowed me to graduate with whatever degree I put my mind to.
It isn’t lack of desire or lack of talent that keeps me in poverty. It’s prejudice, and poverty itself. It doesn’t matter what I “believe” or how hard I fight; money is the only thing a majority of society and in a lot of cases even government will listen to.
And to people who tell me to just get volunteer work so I can add skills to my resume, 1) they don’t offer free training to volunteers for any skills I could use as marketable on my resume, and 2) for people in poverty, unpaid volunteer work is practically an equivalent to indentured slavery; you’re working the same as a paid worker, but for free, and you still can’t afford to survive.