It’s our first time in the United States in nearly two years and one of our greatest challenges remains trying to find a land line on which to make phone calls back to the mother ship. The U.S. basically trashed all the pay phones. They have disappeared completely from downtown streets, malls and train stations. You have to have a mobile phone here to survive. Or else.
Our cell phone is somewhat useless down here, though this time around we did purchase a ‘service pack’ which allows us to make a total of 20 minutes in calls, and allows us no data. It really cramps our style.
But I keep thinking of what it does to those who can’t afford a cell phone at all. Who can no longer call the 800-number for the government agency that might be able to help whatever challenge they are currently facing. Or call 911 in a crisis.
I was reminded of this when we were here a few years ago in the middle of the conversion from analogue television to digital television. You know who that impacted greatly? The poor. The people who could least afford to trash their old style TV sets for something new.
And the other thing we’re noticing this time around is how the casino is at the center of life for everyone in almost every town, whether they actually have a casino or not. Gambling and lottery sales have been referred to as “a tax on the poor.”
Overall, I’m not impressed with how America treats its poor. I know the country presently faces some other challenges, including one very big one — the spectre of another war — but the two technology examples and the growth of the casino industry concern me greatly, as they should concern you.
I don’t like where I see this heading.