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If We Are Exceptional, Why Do We Not Care About Our Poor?

1500 words - 6 pages

America and Americans have always given the impression that we care about the poor. America was founded on the ideal that one can control his or her destiny here. Even on the Statue of Liberty, Lazarus (1883) states, “ ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore; Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’ ” (para. 2). These words have become symbolic of the American dream. The words told some new immigrants coming to America how their new country is exceptional and offers opportunities for the poor. However, the United States of America may not be as exceptional as we claim. When one looks at the facts, we may not really care about the nation’s poor. We have a consistent percentage of the population in America who continue to live in poverty. As a country that is founded on the principles that we can choose our own fate and that we are all created equal, we should care about this group of Americans. If one is thoughtful, informed, and rational, it is difficult not to have a love and hate relationship with America. The media minimizes the existence of American citizens who are living in poverty. This can be seen by looking closely at three examples that include adverstising, reality television, and news coverage. Once people look at how poor citizens are portrayed in the media, their views of the nation could change as they realize the United States may not be so exceptional.
One of the facts that can change a citizen’s love for the United States is the country’s child poverty rates. According to Adamson (2012), “23.1 percent of children in America are living in poverty which ranks the United States second for highest child poverty rates out of the economically advanced countries” (Figure 1b). This means that almost a quarter of children living in America are living in poverty. If a classroom in America had 28 students, it would be likely that seven of them do not have families that can provide them with the basics that are necessary for survival. However, for an average American this is information that may come as a surprise. This is because the media does not focus on poverty in America. There are often commercials that advertise for monetary donations to help children in Africa and other poor locations that are living in poverty around the world, but they usually do not advertise to help with child poverty here in America. Americans in many ways pay more attention to children living in poverty in other countries than children living in poverty here in America. America appears to be a strong and powerful leader when it helps the poor people in other nations but not our own. If we paid attention to the poor in this county, we would have to admit that we are not perfect and that maybe America is not exceptional. American’s for the most part believe that all citizens have the ability to change their own life and therefore in...

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