The Differences in the Presentation of Poverty in Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative and Harrington’s The Other America

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Welcome to the year 1963. Three years into this decade have proved to be not only influential to the future of our nation but also to serve as a cautionary tale. New technological inventions, major political occurrences, and a more aware society have proved to be very important events. These events in addition to many others will undoubtedly influence our nation in many ways but it seems to be that our nation has lost grip of a crisis much closer to home and much closer to the individual person, this specific person mentioned is the American citizen. Rich, poor, middle class, privileged, etc. are all ways to define oneself in the American Society, but as we reach the end of this decade, will we be able to say we efficiently took care of our American people?

In Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative and Michael Harrington’s The Other America: Poverty in the United States, the issue of poverty and social welfare are brought to the attention of the readers but in drastically different ways. Goldwater claims that the responsibility of Americans lies on the individual, as in you are responsible for what happens to you. Harrington offers a more sobering view of this issue by explaining the general disregard for those less fortunate than the affluent members of the American society. The poor have essentially become invisible members in our society that to the outside world appear to be doing quite well. Goldwater’s general disregard for society as a whole and all too intense focus on the individual is what has caused this unfortunate blind eye to those who cannot afford new television sets, cars, or new suburban homes.

In order to maximize social welfare and fix problems occurring within our communities, states, and natio...

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... leaders”. He fears that unions create a dangerous friendship between state unions and big government, and believes this is taking away from individual freedom.

Goldwater essentially wants the American people to be afraid of its government. However, whether one likes it or not, the government is responsible for its people. Increased wages, increases in education and programs for those living in the slums or rural areas will cost extra money, but the overall benefit to our society at the end of the day drastically outweighs the negatives of living in a country with millions of people left to rot. Those on the side of the conservative/right are too focused on defending those who already have an upper hand over the poor. Not all individuals are born with extreme drive and skill, and those born into poverty practically always become stuck if there is no helping hand.

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