The most damning indictment of capitalism possible appeared on the refrigerator at my school this week. It announced a diaper drive in my area, an effort which I'm confident the staff at my school will participate in.
The Kennebec Valley Community Action Program created a flyer which was posted with a handwritten note that a staff member will deliver the diapers we bring to school next week.
I will donate diapers and gladly, but it's a perfect example of why charity will not get us as a society out of the disgusting mess capitalism has created.
Despite what the flyer claims, charity is not a solution to this problem.
Here are some of the facts shared on the flyer that I as a middle class grandmother found traumatizing. I can only imagine how traumatized are the children, parents and grandparents experiencing diaper distress. (Increasingly, children in dire poverty around here are raised by their grandparents).
- 36% of mothers living in poverty regularly run out of clean diapers.
- You cannot buy diapers with food stamps.
- Babies in soiled diapers cry more, and are abused more. Somerset County where I live has the highest rate of child abuse in Maine, and 1/3 of children live in poverty.
- Parents who have run out of diapers feel guilty, anxious and stressed.
Some of the questions running through my brain:
What would a person in another country think of the U.S. if they knew these sordid facts about how we care for our most vulnerable community members?
|Source: Maine Equal Justice Partners "It's time to end child poverty)|
Is America great again in light of these realities?
Will elections that put in place candidates from either of the two corporate parties fix this shameful problem?
For those who blame the victims, yes by all means let's criticize mothers in poverty for using expensive disposable diapers instead of virtuous cloth diapers washed by hand in the bathroom sink. Because a hallmark of poverty is lack of a washer and/or dryer in the house (often, lack of hot water in the house), and if you've ever used cloth diapers you would understand that a daily trip to the laundromat and a whole lot of quarters would be required if you can't wash them at home. A diaper service like I used when my children were babies -- if you could even find one in rural Maine -- costs just about the same as disposables i.e. approximately $100 a month. That is after you have purchased the pricey diaper covers that hold everything in place and make it waterproof. And a whole lot of washcloths or disposable wipes for those blowouts when the baby poop extends up their back and down their legs (my youngest grandchild's parents cut her onesie off her with scissors to extricate their daughter from a mega blowout when she was around 5 months old.)
|Flooded hog farm, photographer unknown (Source: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3321/3238701897_c86eabd6dd.jpg)|
When I told my husband about how horrified I was after reading the flyer, he was reminded that he had been horrified hearing radio reporting on the hog feces flowing into towns downstream from industrial scale farms in the path of Hurricane Florence. Rescue workers are warning that folks returning to clean their flooded homes will be exposed to E. coli, and that town water supplies are also at risk.
It appears to me that late stage capitalism will drown in its own shit before the people wise up, rise up, and shut the system down by withdrawing their cooperation.
Women could do this quickly if they just stopped showing up for work.
If the date rapist candidate for the Supreme Court is confirmed, women may very well get angry enough to do so feeling that their reproductive freedom is at stake.
Otherwise, the kleptocracy now in power will have successfully captured the judiciary of the federal government at its highest level. Moneyed interests will decide everything from how much health care your great grandmother receives, to whether climate change and catastrophic storms are addressed, to how many clean diapers your baby is entitled to. Don't bother suing because a) you can't afford it and b) if you make it to the Supreme Court, you'll lose.
So much for checks and balances.
Any system that treats children like ours does deserves to die.