In his latest weekly column, Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr’s comments show a disappointing appreciation of what it means to live in poverty in one of the poorest states in the Union – Arkansas.
Darr’s column starts off criticizing the Occupy Wall Street movement, but that is to be expected and is unsurprising.
It’s in the middle of the column where Darr’s comments take a sad turn.
Darr parrots the tired Republican Party line that America’s poor ain’t that poor because they have refrigerators and color televisions.
He quotes from the right-wing “The Heritage Foundation” in his latest column:
“Scholar James Q. Wilson has stated, ‘The poorest Americans today live a better life than all but the richest persons a hundred years ago.’ In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as an Xbox or a PlayStation. In the kitchen, the household had a refrigerator, an oven and stove, and a microwave. Other household conveniences included a clothes washer, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, a cordless phone, and a coffee maker.”
That concept encapsulates today’s heartless, soulless, Ayn Rand-like philosophy that dominates much of today’s Republican Party.
The Republican Party doesn’t concern themselves with the middle-class or people living in poverty because they’ve convinced themselves that those folks are doing just fine. Republicans have tricked themselves into believing that since today’s middle-class aren’t living in Somalia or Ethiopia, they shouldn’t complain if all the tax cuts go to the millionaires and not the mechanics.
Darr’s comments unfortunately are out of touch with everyday Arkansans.
Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the country, with only Mississippi and West Virginia poorer than us, according to recent census data. But in Darr’s eyes, we shouldn’t worry because folks in the poverty-stricken Delta have some old color televisions and a 25-year old fridge in the kitchen.
Ignoring the fact that maybe poorer families purchased a TV at a garage sale for $20 or maybe got a used fridge from a relative.
In the Republican Party’s opinion, you’re only poor if you have no electricity, no stove and just sit in the dark at night reading books by candlelight. It’s a sad commentary on how low the Grand Old Party has sunk. Although, Ayn Rand would be so proud.