I've always taken a little offense to the stereotype that the LGBT community is somehow wealthier than the rest of America. Despite plenty of research to the contrary, there still exists a popular (mis)conception that we, as a community, have more disposable income than we know what to do with. And for too long, our national organizations have ignored those in the community who have "less than," perhaps because they cannot write checks, set up endowments or leave a legacy behind.
But now, thankfully, there is news that the poor - and one hopes, the LGBT poor, too - are unintentionally rising up and shattering the system.
Writing at HuffingtonPost.com, Barbara Ehrenreich notes that the recent stock market troubles, spurred by the doldrums of the mortgage industry, may finally be showing what happens when we take advantage of the working class, rather than offering a helping hand.
"The American poor, who are usually tactful enough to remain invisible to the multi-millionaire class," she writes, "suddenly leaped onto the scene and started smashing the global financial system. Incredibly enough, this may be the first case in history in which the downtrodden manage to bring down an unfair economic system without going to the trouble of a revolution."
"First they stopped paying their mortgages, a move in which they were joined by many financially stretched middle class folks, though the poor definitely led the way," Ehrenreich posits, " . . . Then, in a diabolically clever move, the poor - a category which now roughly coincides with the working class -- stopped shopping. Both Wal-Mart and Home Depot announced disappointing second quarter performances, plunging the market into another Arctic-style meltdown."
But unlike the epidemic of global warming (which is bringing us the 24-hour Weather Channel coverage of Hurricane Dean), this melting may not be entirely disastrous.
Capitalism has long been the tool by which the powerful impoverish the masses. Those who "have" have set up a system in which they barely move those who "have not" through that system, sentencing those who begin life less fortunate to end life that way, too. NAFTA, CAFTA and all the other -AFTA pacts have only led to sliding wages, substandard working conditions and a continuance of the perpetual cycle of beating down the "little guy."
There are few other inanimate grim reapers that so impact so many lives.
Meanwhile, other economic systems have led to a generally healthier quality of life, including universal healthcare, a bearable work week and adequate childcare and education. Capitalism, on the other hand, has set up a modern-day caste system that constantly punishes those without access to power or privilege. And that's patently inhumane.
And though, as Ehrenreich points out, the government is quickly coming to the rescue of the precious money markets, we may be seeing a powerful lesson to the powerful: the poor, too, have the means (made possible by attempts to strip them of the very same) to facilitate economic karma. And their un-revolutionary revolution may just smash the system, and the power-hungry forces that put it there.
That's a wake-up call that could be music to our ears.