Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What an indictment (cont'd)

A couple of weeks ago I posted a letter which was sent to Gulf News from an American thanking the UAE for sending aid to them. It reads in part:

"I am a heart patient who receives treatment at a small local clinic for people without insurance. At my last visit, I was handed a pamphlet that told me my visit was being paid for by a gift from your nation."

I made the point that the US has so many negative aspects of its own society it should be looking at when I said: It's yet another example of the need to look very seriously at the standards of their own society rather than believe that they should impose it on the rest of the world.

I've just been reading an article in The Guardian which highlights yet another huge failure by successive American governments.

Over 10% of the population of what is by far the world's richest country are, in bureaucracy-speak, "food insecure"

The official explanation of that is "limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways." In English that means those who can’t afford a basic diet on a regular basis. The figures do not include homeless people, who could be expected to be even worse off.

In a 2004 survey by the US Dept of Agriculture, out of 112 million households, 11.9 million were deemed ‘food insecure’. What an astonishing fact. In the world's richest country over 30 million people can't afford to eat properly!

And far from tackling the problem, the situation is worsening. The 'food insecure' went up from 10.5% in 2000 to 11.9% in 2004. And digging deeper into the figures, those ' with hunger' was 3.1% in 2000 which went up to 3.9% in 2004.

It gets worse. The report looked at child poverty, by race. The figures?

% by race living below poverty line

Black 33.3% Hispanic 28.6% White 14.2% Asian/Pacific Islanders 9.5%

There's disparity, but everyone's affected. And again, what astonishing figures.

Very many Americans sincerely believe they have the world's best society and believe that the rest of the world envies them. Remember when he was here, President George HW Bush, defending his son's actions in response to criticism, said: "How come everybody wants to come to the United States if the United States is so bad?"

'Everyone' Mr President? Not on your life. But it shows the mind-set doesn't it.

Given the vast wealth, the technologically advanced society, these things should be utterly unacceptable to the citizens and their governments. Yet we hear very little internal criticism, no radical movements pressurising for change.

We do hear a lot about how the rest of the world should change to a society that's a copy of America's.

In fact it's the other way round. America needs to learn from and adopt policies from other countries around the world. Its society has huge problems that need fixing.

The Guardian report

President George HW Bush's comments

My earlier posting/Thank You letter

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