Some of the most picturesque views in our country stream from the rural south, Its backdrops have long been used in movies, books, and artist renditions, but now these same picturesque views are being clouded with poverty. The U.S. Census Bureau recently released a report that states 46.2 million of U.S. citizens currently live in poverty. This is the highest number of Americans in poverty since the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting these statistics. Within these numbers we find that 40 percent of African-American children live in poverty. While these numbers are staggering they do not account for all of those who teeter just above the $22,351 that classifies a family of four as impoverished. Even more disturbing is a report from 24/7 Wallstreet that listed the top 10 poorest states in the country that revealed of the 10 all but one were in the south.
On the outside these statistics would seem to be expected, let’s face it the majority of southern states have been in economic ruin since before the Civil Rights Era. The thing that we all should take notice of is the fact that these same states historically vote Republican in all major elections. Not to mention that many southern states have a high population of African-Americans, such as Mississippi, which has some counties in which the majority of the population is of African descent. How do you explain their voting habits or lack there of? The old saying goes, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” but it’s hard to remember this rule when you have not been feed in a while. The Republican Party continues to rely on the southern voting pool to win elections, but has yet to provide any substantial economic benefit to its constituents’. The mystifying part of this relationship is that the Southern voter seems to have somehow forgotten the relationship between politician and constituent. Meaning, I vote you into office and you the politician in turn provide representation at the national and state governmental level that will address the needs of our communities. They seem to have allowed racial, religious, and historical feelings cloud their judgment concerning their own economic future. How can such a large population of people ignore their own civil right for economic justice? Or do they care more about old hang-ups that should have died after a war that was fought over 200 years ago. The answers to these questions seem to be obvious, but make no logical sense. Many people in the south have fought long and hard political battles to try and overcome such treatment by the political right to no avail. Their voices seem to always be drowned out by politicians backed by the minority rich southern businessmen who flood their campaign coffers with lavish donations and plans to thwart any political resistance.
The only way to combat such tactics is to model the historic “Freedom Riders” utilizing all modern social media outlets and grassroots movements. The “Freedom Riders” mobilized mostly in the north and traveled south during the civil rights era to push for social justice during our country’s Jim Crow Era and the Civil Rights Movement. The big difference between now and then is that we have a population who has allowed themselves to be mental taken out of the political process. In America we need a political movement such as that which took place in Egypt all via social media. We need a movement throughout the rural south composed of all races, colors, and creeds lead by the youth who utilize these outlets as their lifelines. Then and only then will we be able to break the cycle of political poverty that continues to plague our country.