I see and hear it quite often, people lambasting the poor for possessing a cell phone or a laptop computer. The sort of social network post or comment that suggests the poor cannot be struggling if they have such things, that their priorities are misplaced, or that they are cheats.
First, we must acknowledge that there are cheats on both sides. There are welfare cheats as well as Burney Madoffs. Cheating is not the sole province of the poor. It is part of the ugly side of all humanity. The argument might be that the cheating poor hurt us all. The cheating rich also hurt all of us, or did the Wall Street melt down mean nothing. That part of the equation is on both sides and cancels itself out.
The kind of folk who belittle a poor individual for the possession of a large screen tv must ask themselves where their iPhone 4 goes when they upgrade to an iPhone 5. Does it simply melt into the Earth? Is it the belief that the poor and struggling are too ignorant to know there are Flea Markets and Yard Sales, and even junk yards where working-scrape can be had for very little?
Is it necessary, because of the cheating few, to blindly assume that poor folk get all their (air quotes) “luxuries” in a store, fresh in a box with warranties in full, that all items must cost as much as they cost the well-off? Is it necessary to assume that all struggling folk do not have the ability to seek out inexpensive means to find a little respite in their otherwise difficult lives, and moreover that they do not deserve it? Is it necessary to require all of the poor to sit in the dark and not even exploit the discarded leftovers?
If there is any group that does not deserve reflexive demagoguery, it is the poor. Think before kicking them.