You made a bad life choice...
You made a bad life choice... vladans/gettyimages.com

Seattle Times' editorial cartoonist David Horsey has it in his mind that he is the voice of good old American common sense. He never goes too far to the right, nor too far to the left. He is a moderate, and so he can see the good and bad on both sides. And so, in one cartoon, he shows how the argument for the impeachment of Donald Trump is very simple, and how the argument against it is overly complicated. Clearly, Horsey dislikes Donald Trump, a politician whose body doesn't have one moderate bone. But liberals can be immoderate, too. This is certainly the point he made in his recent editorial: "Seattle’s nightmare in broad daylight."

He finds it a "wee bit bizarre" that the King County Courthouse is closing its Third Avenue entrance because there's just too much crime on the streets. Yes, the situation is so bad that this center of justice—with its cops, detectives, prosecutors, judges—is "under siege." If the law cannot do something about lawlessness, then who can? And why can't the law do something? Because Seattle has too many "super sensitive" people.

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Being sensitive is moderate. Being super sensitive is immoderate. Nothing will get done if we care too much about poverty and its consequences. And so this is our reasonable cartoonist. On one side, he is anti-Trump; while on the other side, he sees crime and poverty as one and the same thing. He even mocks the super sensitive solution to the problem of homelessness: "more drug treatment and mental health services." And he suggests that the do-nothing bureaucrats in the King County Courthouse provide "the [silly, meaningless, waste of money] treatment inside a jail instead."

Let's break all of this down to its one question: Why do we hate the poor so much?

This is the thinking that thinks it speaks common sense.. It says the left can go too far sometimes, and the right is ultimately right about law enforcement. Strong policing keeps order in our society of free individuals who make "life choices" on their own. But if a life of poverty were a matter of choice in a democratic society, this would certainly mean that all of the society's subjects began life with the same opportunities: the same quality of education, the same securities in regards to food, clothing, health, transportation, and housing. In this society, which is not too hard to imagine, no one begins way, way, way ahead while others begin way, way, way behind.

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In a society of absolute beginners, we can see how poverty could really be a "life choice." We could understand Horsey's hatred of the poor. His cartoon "Seattle’s nightmare in broad daylight" would deserve a Pulitzer and to be turned into a movie. Yes, these inveterate booze-swilling, loud-mouth law-breakers got it as good as everyone else, but still they made a mess of every opportunity and now make daily trouble on our streets, even the one next to the courthouse. How ridiculous they are; they had it all, then they threw it all away.

In this very democratic society, which we assume has completely expunged "The Parable of the Prodigal Son" from its official religion, Mayor Durkan's sweeps would be justifiable; their logic, sound enough. If you decided to live in a tent, that is your business, not the city's—now get!

Durkan's sweep and Horsey's cartoons occur in a society that doesn't even have the basics—universal childcare, strong social institutions, reliable public transportation, job security for low-wage earners, and affordable high-standard housing. Why do so many people believe that our culture, with its brutal economic restrictions, offers everyone an abundance of free choices? Indeed, poverty in our society, which is by no means poor, is not even real. It is imposed. Which is why the hatred of the poor has to be manufactured. What is always wanted by the haters is to make poverty something that's not out there or structural. It is, for them, deep inside this man and that woman, this junkie and that thug. In each of these reprobates is a demon fountain from which vices overflow.