Happy poor? It Works.

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in Cancun. Mrs Real Debate and I took a day trip to Chichen-Itza and the trip was lead by a Mayan guide. We stopped in an authentic village to get a gauge of the real Mexico.

These people are VERY poor. But you know what? They are VERY happy. All along the 3+ hour drive we noticed people living in squalor, but they were all working.

We asked our guide about this, he said the difference in attitude was so striking to us due to welfare. I asked him to expand upon that. In Mexico, there is no welfare so everyone must work, no matter how poor, he added. He also indicated that families stuck together and often lived on the same property. School is provided by the government but it is only required through junior high, after that many children must go to work to help support their families. In addition health care is provided by the Government but in most of these small villages there is little to none of that.

No one is giving these folks anything, they live in conditions far below our citizens who are screaming and yelling about living in a shelter right now complaining that people are not giving them things fast enough.

The difference is so striking, and I am sure it would be difficult to understand unless you have seen it first hand. I am not saying I have no compassion for those struck by Katrina's wrath, quite the contrary. I encourage you all to help out in any way possible just as we are doing. However, the welfare gimme gimme culture in our culture was in such contrast to the system in Mexico. Perhaps we could afford national health care if we had not been spending 7 trillion on a war on poverty we can never win over the last 40 years.

Yes, I fully expect people to make the immigration point and a good one it is, no wonder so many people are fleeing to the US, but the people I saw were content with their existence as it was. I understand one days observation does not a scientific study make, but my opinions were mostly influenced by our guide who was Mayan and lives among these people.

Posted by RealDebate at September 15, 2005 1:19 PM