Homeless Philadelphian Paul Klemmer grew up in Redbank, New York, with all the symptoms of Affluenza, but by age 20 he was on tour with the Grateful Dead, selling acid to concert goers in the parking lot. The self-proclaimed veteran of the “War for Peace” is now sick with a new social disease, povertism, an illness with no respect to race, only class.
If the CEOs of multinational, multibillion dollar corporations, like Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, can rob the global economy of billions of dollars and avoid criminal conviction, than a homeless man who returns a $100 bill he stole from a bank should not be sentenced to 15 years in prison. The difference is, these billionaires – like many of the wealthy – don’t live in our America, and suffer from a foreign ailment known as affluenza; a diagnosis for which plutocratic constituents can indulge in the leniency of liberty. An illness – giving the improvident the ability to be legally negligent in their imprudence – affluenza establishes and affirms a plutocratic insurance policy for the elite, creating an excuse for the wealthy to be criminals and justly follow their own morale.
The case of 16 year-old Texas resident Ethan Couch, killing 4 and critically wounding 2 while driving drunk is punishable by opulence. The consequences for his crimes are to deluge the young man in luxury, which strives to purge affluenza from the mind, while simultaneously cultivating more affluenza – because only affluence can cure affluenza. Justice will never exist if we continue to reward this “sickness.” This is one of the most farcical verdicts to a crime I have ever heard of; almost as senseless as the national celebration of America’s 1st terrorist, Christopher Columbus; who by this diagnoses, also suffered from affluenza and should be pardoned for his crimes against humanity, too. These Divided States of America commemorate corruption; rewarding the cynical elite one crime at a time. Affluenza will only further institutionalize this behavior, continuing to give the wealthy more reasons and excuses to be unlawful. For those who have never heard of the fabricated illness, affluenza is defined as the following.
Affluenza: a disorder that obscures one’s ability to interpret wrongfulness as a result of living in affluence, wealth, and privilege. Major contributors to affluenza developing in men and women are living a life of gratification through extravagance and materialism.
The profligacy of the elite have lead to global recessions, environmental crises and ecological disasters, exponential growth in wealth disparities, and much more. Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to rewarding this prodigality, oligarchy, and villainy with more lavishness, which only bolsters the precedent that this behavior is lawfully excusable.
Those in poverty, and often the middle class, have far more systemic issues that derive from the result of living in environments that foster crime, but do not go to rehab for ANY period of time, nor get the proper psychological evaluation, diagnosis, and/or treatment before the law decides to imprison. It appears that justice, no matter the crime – historically and perpetually – serves the wealthy while robbing the poor. Affluenza creates the idea that many in society have an opac understanding of the law and finite relationship of the judicial system. If the wealthy population is not exclusive to this kind of illness, then povertism – just like affluenza – should be a recognized diagnosis for those who commit crimes under economic oppression.
Povertism: a disorder that convolutes one’s understanding of morale as a result of living in poverty, destitution, and disadvantage. Povertism often elicits one’s instinctual nature to survive at the expense of the law. Major contributors to the disorder’s development include, but are not limited to:
- being an entrant to systemic poor public education
- subjection to prison pipeline initiatives
- criminalization by mass media
- victimization to stop and frisk legislation
- acquiring post traumatic stress disorder due to living in environments of perpetual violence
- consistently experiencing starvation and malnutrition
Between both my mother and father, I’ve moved to 9 different homes and 4 different apartments in 5 different Philadelphia communities; sometimes with relatives, sometimes with other families. Living in poverty for most of my life, my parents searched for the most opportunistic and affordable lifestyle possible. We were nomadic, and hunger, anger, confusion, fatigue, and anxiety often themed each day of my week. The compilation of these emotions and states of being added potency to the desperate instinctual nature to survive. I needed a way out. Fortunately, I discovered the ability to advance myself by serving others, working diligently to increase value with my values, as a social entrepreneur. However, the same cannot be said for many of those I grew up with.
The motherless, fatherless, brotherless, and sisterless will learn lovelessness. When starvation, miseducation, criminalization, and police concentration, are incubated in a struggling community, consciousness will begin to swim in despair. For communities affected by poverty, these realities are very real, but the law’s empathy with this truth is non-existent. Lady Liberty, which touts “justice for all,” has forgotten about the “all” and only lights her torch for the privileged few. For example, in an exclusive interview with Techbook Online, Attorney Sarah Comeau of the School Justice Project, stated:
“80% of juveniles in America are in need of special education services and have a right to those services up to age 22, depending on the state. However, when an 18 year-old is sent to an adult jail, the prison’s school doesn’t track the 18-22 year old population; so these kids are normally sent to jail for years without receiving any education. When they’re released – after they’ve turned 22 – they don’t have a right to education; so more than likely, as a result of no education and unemployment, they’ll offend again. The large majority of these juveniles are black youth; this is the largest civil rights issue of the day!”
If “povertism” was acknowledged as the driving force behind the criminal activity of the tyrannized, repressed, and despondent, we wouldn’t see the misappropriation of education funding from public schools to private prisons; heavy concentrations of police presence in inner-city communities to stop, frisk, criminalize, and imprison; and incarceration before rehabilitation, but once again, our civic and social rights have been questioned and devalued.
If the affluenzic are to receive treatment to deal with their profusion, then the povertistic are to receive treatment to deal with their pauperism. Though my definitions for affluenza and povertism are satirical, my demand for equitable sentences and justice are not. From now on, jailing those in a mental state of affliction based on the living conditions they have been subjected to should be a crime! Psychological and therapeutic treatment must be the declaration of retribution for ALL peoples! Probation and rehabilitation for EVERYONE, not just for the wealthy!
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m DJ Reezey® & that’s the DJ’s Drop!™
Source: TBO Inc®
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Photo: C. Norris – ©2013