The US: 50 years on and it seems the best intentions have come to nought

In 1968 the Kerner Commission recommended “massive and sustained investment in jobs and education to reduce black poverty , inequality and racial injustice”.

Now, 50 years later, public schools have been re-segregated, the gap between the teaching quality for rich and poor is among the highest in the world. Schools in the Northeast are the most segregated, and Americans living in extreme poverty (less than half the poverty threshold) has increased since the 1970s. Overall poverty itself remains the same today as it was 50 years ago. The total number of poor people has increased from over 25 million to over 40 million, more than the population of California. The top 1% receive 52% of all new income. Rich people are getting a better education, are healthier, live longer and are politically more powerful. Among a score of statistics too long to enumerate, black people have fallen even further behind. Their incarceration rate has risen 266% (the white figure is 248%)). In 1968 there were about 200,000 people behind bars, now there are 1.4 million, even though the murder rate has declined 35%. (NYT, March1,2018).

Is this something followers of Epicurus can comfortably live with? I don’t think so! But if this is the case, what can we actually do about it? The government is in the pockets of the rich and special interests, political constituencies are gerrymandered and the Supreme Court, which betrayed the country by allowing the free reign of money in politics, is about to become more reactionary as those with hearts retire or die. America will not be “great again” anytime soon. Given this scenario, to eschew politics is to tacitly submit to vulgar extremism, loss of rights and freedoms, to poverty for the majority, and possibly dnsuing violence. Explain, please, why I am wrong!

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