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CHICAGO, December 13, 2011 ― I was a Chicago Police Officer for almost 30 years. I spent the first ten years of my career in one of the worst, most impoverished areas of Chicago, Lawndale. It was named as one of the ten most dangerous neighborhoods in America. Even people’s dreams weren’t safe.
Everyday I patrolled streets where there was no hope, no change, no future, and no way out. Self survival was paramount. People did whatever they could to live through one more day. Crime was just a day’s work.
The only thing that differentiated Lawndale from a fourth world country was indoor plumbing. The armies of rats and stray dogs ate better than the people. They were healthier too.
There was block after block of perfectly good commercial, manufacturing, and industrial property, all of it vacant, buildings and land. Urban renewal meant tearing things down, not redevelopment.
Day after day all we did was deal with people who were just trying to survive in any way they could. I developed a very healthy hatred. It wasn’t racism. I did not hate poor people. I hated a system of welfare, social engineering, and entitlement that did nothing to help poor people or alleviate poverty.
There was never a war on poverty. It was a war on poor people, a long term war designed to keep them in perpetual dependence and poverty. Our government created a system of slavery. They made people slaves to dependency, generation after generation.
I witnessed the big lies: wealth redistribution, social justice, social economic justice, and social engineering. Lies the progressives, liberals, and our president keep alive to this day.
I learned one thing. There are no safety nets. Government benevolence does everything to enslave people in a cycle of generational womb to tomb dependency. The so called safety nets are nothing but chains and shackles in disguise.
America has wasted money on programs that only benefit bureaucrats, social service agencies and their workers. Those are the only jobs created. The people the programs were designed to help are allowed to barely survive.
Not much has changed in Lawndale since 1978. There are still the same vacant buildings and vacant land, just more of it. There are still people living in abject poverty, just more of them.
There is still no hope, no change, and no way out. The vicious cycle continues.
There is anger in this community. Over 60% of the men are ex-felons. The unemployment rate is upwards of 70%. There is misery and hopelessness. People no longer want welfare or food stamps. They do not want subsidized housing. They want their share of the American dream. They want economic independence: They want jobs.
The politicians are still not listening. They are still pushing the politics of poverty.
The people no longer believe believe racism is the cause of their plight. They know politicians, including Black politicians, are the reason they remain poor.
No one is listening. The career politicians, at all levels of government, keep pushing the same slave agenda. The progressives and liberals keep pushing the same benevolent dependency policies. The bureaucrats and social workers, the only beneficiaries of government largesse, keep selling the dream of dependency.
One thing you learn as a police officer is how to spot a lie. The politicians have been lying to all of us since the 1960s. They are still lying, now to the middle class. They are pushing the same agenda of dependence and slavery instead of prosperity and independence.
Instead of economic development, which creates jobs, they push for more social welfare programs. More and longer unemployment benefits, tax holidays that will punish people when they end, food stamps, and other welfare type schemes - the false safety nets.
They absolutely refuse to pursue an agenda of economic development. They refuse to provide the certainty and confidence that will allow businesses to expand, grow, build, or even start.
Liberals want to create a more dependent society. They can control dependents. That is what progressive politics is all about, control. You cannot control people with paychecks.
I witnessed the failure of these programs over thirty years ago. They failed then and they will fail now. It is easier to get people on welfare programs than it is to build a factory to put them to work.
In Chicago there are square miles, in the aggregate, of land that could be used to build factories and other industrial entities. There is land that could be used for commercial and small business use. It all lies vacant.
Chicago is no different than other cities. No one wants to even attempt to build anything there. The hurdles, obstacles, and barriers are too high. Federal, state, and local governments put up roadblocks.
Better to have people survive on their benevolent largesse. Better to have people with their hands out instead of their hands dirty from work. Better to have welfare and unemployment checks than paychecks.
Those programs failed to help the poor. Poverty has never been alleviated and never will be. What is going on in America today is just a repeat on a larger scale. No one will be helped. No one will benefit except the politicians, the bureaucrats, and social service agencies, the sales people of misery and dependence.
We are supposed to learn from history. We learn nothing. We keep repeating the same mistakes. We keep electing the same kinds of people. Over and over again.
Peter Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer, freelance photographer, and consultant. He is a passionate cook and eater. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, annoys, and provokes. His opinions are his and his alone.