The American "Dole-drums"

by Mitakuye Oyasin

"The love of possessions is a disease of the white man" said Sitting Bull. This insight into the makeup of the European transplants who had taken his land and squashed his culture was remarkable, especially if you consider his lack of formal education. His words were spoken over 100 years ago. What would he say today?

This is the same man who went on a brief tour with Buffalo Bill in the mid 1880s and, while in New York, he was given some money to see the sights and go shopping. Instead, he gave the money to some hungry children and expressed amazement that so-called civilized people could treat their children with so little care.

With this background, let's go to the Phil Luciano column in the Peoria Journal-Star on Friday, September 27th. It seems that a Peoria man named Max, age 71, donated $300,000 to Catholic Social Services to build a new gym. That is a lot of money but it still left him with an estate of over $700,000, so he wasn't headed for the poorhouse.

His wife didn't like the idea that he didn't ask her if he could spend his money on such foolishness so she got some lawyers and doctors together and convinced a judge that he was not fully able to manage his own money. This was not hard to do since most lawyers and doctors are wealthy and they know that they would never give anything to the poor so anybody who does must be nutty.

Commerce Bank became the guardian of his estate and his spending money was now limited to his pension checks and other small sums. After these restrictions were applied, for reasons which remain unexplained, Commerce Bank let him withdraw $17,000, which he put with $15,000 from another bank, and then sent the total to the Missionaries of Charity which is Mother Teresa's organization. The money was used to remodel the mission's orphanage in Calcutta.

Now the bank wants a refund and is suing Mother Teresa to get it. Thus we have a worldwide mission which never charges for its services and does not solicit contributions being sued for the return of $32,000, a donation made by Max because he was inspired to do so.

If the bank wins, maybe the orphans of Calcutta can be induced to give up food for a while and get the money paid back. That is a solution which every red-blooded right-wing Republican and members of the Christian Coalition would probably find satisfactory. (I don't know where that leaves President Clinton, Since he signed the "Welfare Reform Act" that will throw another million children into poverty.)

Repercussions of welfare "reform" are being reported almost daily by the news media and they all translate into pain and hunger for the have-nots of America. In the meantime, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and no, it is not just because the poor are lazy and don't want to work. That stereotype is a caricature drawn by politicians who are trying to detract the taxpayers from the very real welfare fraud of the politicians themselves.

And in every case, the children suffer, and they are innocent victims.

Maybe, just maybe, the upcoming elections will shake America out of the "Dole-drums". Not all white European transplants are content to fill their tummies while children go to bed hungry­­ even children of immigrants. There is time to send a mandate to Washington before too many are hurt­­ but whether or not that happens depends on how diseased with possessions the voters are.

If the revolution does not come at the voting booths, there is no telling what will happen. It is not pleasant to think about but one thing is certain: There is nothing more dangerous than a person who has absolutely nothing to lose . Welfare "reform," together with a system that progressively favors the "haves," have put a lot of people in just that position.

Last Modified: October 3, 1996

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