Dear America

When I was a child, I saw the United States of America has the greatest country in the world. Movies from Hollywood entered in my mind, as well as rock and pop American stars. American culture is global and reaches every corner in the world – this is your best ruff! When I was in school, I remember to play as Batman, Superman, Flash Gordon, Hulk and Captain America. America gave me my childhood heroes. My great-grandfather lived and worked very hard in the US, the house were I live today is a result of Portuguese hard and proud labor in American land. Although I have never been in America, the US occupies a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, this affectionate picture is loosing brilliance. I am not going to talk about the XXI century wars, the GWOT and the financial crisis, but Owsley. This town in Kentucky stopped in time. Here, 41,5% of the population live below the poverty line, without electricity and piped water. The unemployment is high, due to the failing markets of coal, wood and tobacco. How is it possible? Owsley big event is the high school prom…


14 thoughts on “Dear America

  1. Did you take these photos. . they’re amazing, reminiscent of Diane Arbus’. The name Owsley holds a different context for me . . .he was responsible for cooking up some of the best LSD for the likes of Ken Kesey, Neil Cassady and the rest of the Merry Pranksters, and the Grateful Dead. I heard that right now in America, some 50% of its citizens live below the poverty line. Owsley is not that unusual; what is unusual is that the 1 percenters don’t give a damn; and many others just turn a blind eye.

  2. In America the most poverty stricken individual lives much better than those of other countries. I have seen poverty in the US and in the far east. Trust me, I would rather be poor in the USA than in Malaysia or Indonesia.
    The people shown in your photos do exist. Their jobs left them, and they chose to remain in the town where they were born and live in poverty, rather than move to a place where there is work.

  3. Great article and great, yet sad photos. In a way… But this is a part of America we almost never see nor talk about. Me too grew up with a very different image of the United States… But I always get touched when I see these kind of pictures. Thank you for sharing. I hope one day I too can take photos that show the real life over there…

  4. Cornell West and Tavis Smiley claim, in their new book “The Rich and the Rest of Us” that 1 in 2 Americans live in or close to poverty. I’m not sure how they reach this figure but it is very worrying if true. It would not be surprising considering the statistics that we hear.

  5. Bruce is on the money. We WANT WANT WANT. “I WANT” “THEY NEED” Our political leaders are slowly changing us into a country of WANTERS. We need to again become “DOERS.” I hate politics but we need to send a message to washington (small letter on the W for the small people there.)

  6. Right Richard, it’s always the conservatives and never personal responsibility. 50 years of out of control spending on poverty has not made a dent. I wonder why.

    Barge is a good guy and I enjoy his blog but his own country is on the brink and if we have it your way, so will we. Then we can all be poor together in your collectivist utopia.

    Great pictures Barge. We are losing our luster and it’s because many are just looking for a free ride, as opposed to your great-grandfather who worked hard,

  7. There has always been poverty in the United States. There has never been a time when there wasn’t poverty.

    Look and you can always find it.

    Whats different about the U.S. is that it provides more roads out of poverty than anywhere else… even during the worst of times… like The Depression… like NOW.

  8. Nicely written. We all have grown up watching Hollywood characters and Movies. I still remember Knight Rider, Air Wolf, Superman series, Sox million dollar man etc. May there be peace on earth and goodwill to humans.

  9. This is a very poor part of the United States. The poverty rate is high, literacy low – there is a connection there. I think you can lay part of the blame on the conservatives who won’t spend money on education.

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