When you've nothing to live for, you aren't afraid of dying.
This is a factor that is overlooked by too many people. We have the hopelessly greedy in that very top financial range, the self congratulating comfortable known as the middle class, the working poor who are too tired and preoccupied with keeping alive to do anything but work endlessly, and the desperate who have nothing, including hope.
A nation which pins it's admiration on class one and ignores all the rest is a nation headed for big, big trouble. In this case, it means trouble for the entire world because the nation that has gone bad is also the nation that has the ability to literally destroy life on this planet.
Add to that what mga said, as we export military discipline and we have a duality that divides the world into those that see american culture as decadent and dangerous and those that wish for respite from their worries. It comes down to our personal interpretation of bliss. When you know no different, a good day may be some fresh food. But when it is shown to you that others can control and manipulate your/their lives, well suddenly your ideas of what is real and relevant become skewed and altered. It is a threat, promise and a bribe all at the same time. People sell out their souls and country for it.
During the '30s nearly everyone was poor. I am sure there were those with privilages and who abused them, but most people didn't know of it. We all fit into the same general structure.
We went from the struggling years of the '30s, to the war years in the '40s. Rationing. Again, people were not aware of the abuses going on and felt as though we were all in the same boat.
But there were our own 'concentration camps' going on when we decided the Japanese in America were not to be trusted. There were native peoples living their own kind of 'concentration' just as so many do today. There were African Americans who had still never gotten their 40 acres and a plow. There were the disabled who were just written off as useless rather than giving them a chance to make a life for themselves.
The poor, the truly poor, are not on our nations radar and have not been for a very long time. We hear of 'lazy Indians', and 'welfare queens that drive their Cadillac to get their welfare checks', and all the other excuses comfortable people use to not have to face the cruelty we inflict on our fellow humans.
It is said Bush, and people like him, will run our government until the comfortable are touched by the practices that have already ruined so many lives. The comfortable would rather feel superior to those less fortunate than to identify those people as our brothers and sisters.
We cannot take a person's heritage away along with any chance for that person to 'make it' in a hostile world and expect the forgotten to remain silent forever. We are digging our own grave.