i listened yesterday as a oklahoman oil worker railed about the poor and indigent who he thought did not work as hard as he did; who took welfare when they should have "pulled themselves up by the bootstraps"; and who were generally lazy and without moral code or work ethic. it was a rant i could hear daily at many gatherings around the town where i live, and a rant that i would like to respond to with such a good argument that even the thickest among the ranters would take notice and possible learn. faulkner wrote a wonderful short story, "the barn burner", that exposes the hate that the aristocracy/oligarchy encourage among the poor and undereducated: the poor white man hated and denigrated the poor black man because the poor white was encouraged to feel a step up the ladder, a better class than the poor black. on another level, the poor white felt great anger toward the aristocratic white man because that was the class he felt he belonged to and it angered him that he was not accepted as this rich man's equal. this oklahoma gentleman, like so many in my small community, feels much closer to the rich, to the elite; at least they aspire to be accepted as such, and they have little compassion for the poor of their own community. though the rich often flagrantly break rules, display terrible morality and commit many wrongs against humanity, it is the poor who are indicted by these narrow-minded bigots who "think" they have more in common with the wealthy. these simple lessons of humanity should have been taught throughout elementary and secondary education, but rarely are. every year, 75% of each graduating high school class exits with much this same viewpoint; it is the end of their formal education, and they grow increasingly more hostile toward the poor. why can't we find a way to correct/influence these self-righteous morons; unfortunately, our many fundamentalist churches are only adding to the problem, using them to politicize their intolerance.