Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.
Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.
Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference.
Being poor is not taking the job because you can't find someone you trust to watch your kids.
Being poor is not talking to that girl because she'll probably just laugh at your clothes.
Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.
Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.
Being poor is a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.
Being poor is having to live with choices you didn't know you made when you were 14 years old.
Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won't listen to you beg them against doing so.
Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.
I'd recommend reading the whole damn thing.
For another perspective, Riggsveda posts at Corrente some other, um, choice comments in reaction to the ongoing disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi, including:
It seems to me that the poor should have had the EASIEST time leaving. They don't need to pay for an extended leave from their home, they could have just packed a few belongings and walked away to start over somewhere else. What did they have to lose?
When the wealthy evacuate, they leave behind nice houses, expensive cars, possibly pets that they treat as members of the family, valuable jewelry, family heirlooms, etc. This makes it emotionally difficult for wealthy people to leave. But by definition, the poor do not have this burden: they either rent their homes, or they are in public housing; their cars are practically junk anyway; and they don't have any valuable possessions. This is what it means to be poor. These people could just pick up their few belongings, buy a one-way bus ticket to any city and be poor there. Supposing they even had jobs in NO, it's not like minimum wage jobs are hard to come by.
Sobering to consider how many of us have disregarded the plight of the rich and well-insured. Spoken like someone who has all the wisdom of a fifteen-year-old who's just read "Atlas Shrugged."