Don't pin our problems on immorality

As if we needed further evidence of the right wing's obsession with morality and the politics of spite, and its utter refusal to offer anything remotely resembling real solutions to real problems, along comes letter writer Gil Ward ("Society wrongly embraces immorality," Oct. 7) to assure us that all of society's ills are due to nothing more than his hidebound concept of immorality, and that "there is no reason for a normal, healthy person to be poor in America unless they want to be." In other words, with enough fairy dust, all problems are easily solved.

Mr. Ward yearns for a prosperous America such as existed during the Eisenhower administration to the satisfaction of mainly white, heterosexual males. No doubt he finds it comforting, dreaming of what -- for him at least -- was a near-perfect world. Unfortunately, dreaming offers no comfort to the millions of working poor who, unlike Mr. Ward, live in the reality-based world.

The American dream is unavailable to these hard workers who are denied basic health care and decent educations. They are poor not because they want to be, but due largely to a collapsed industrial base, a permanent war economy and the decimation of unions with its accompanying loss of living wages, pension plans and health-care insurance.

These problems resulted not from personal immoralities, but rather from societal immoralities of a ruthless brand of predatory, free-market capitalism. Promoted mostly by the right wing, it consists of Reagan-era deregulation, globalization, free-trade agreements, tax cuts, Wall Street greed, corporate agribusiness and a government that serves private corporations at the expense of the rights and well-being of its citizens.

These factors, not the puny concerns of Mr. Ward, are the real causes of our destruction.

Joni Ellsworth

North Augusta, S.C.

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