Saturday, August 28, 2004

Poverty Grows....Where do we look?

I awoke to the headline in our paper (and on CNN, and on Google News) that poverty has grown in the U.S. over the past year by 1.3 million, and another 1.4 million lost their health insurance. Here's a link if you missed it. I'm totally bummed about this, because there is no excuse. No excuse for seniors who can't afford their prescriptions (but heaven forbid should import the same stuff from Canada), no excuse for poverty or people going without health care in the richest country in the history of the world.

So how does it happen? We look away. We donate our clothes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army , perhaps work a shift or two at our local soup kitchen, and then we all (and I'm talking about me, too) go back to our book, or our TV show, or our children: our lives. And we look past the poor, because we can't save everyone, and it's not us, or our families or our close friends. But if it isn't today, it may well be tomorrow.

A couple of years ago, my children's high school put on a play about the Holocaust called "Then They Came for Me", based on the famous quotation by Rev. Martin Niemoller, you know,

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't' speak up, because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. "

Poverty will come for us, and our families, and our friends....particularly if we are not out there demanding a more fair and equitable solution to the economic divide being encouraged, legislated and regulated by the Bush Administration.

Don't get me wrong...I think capitalism is a very, very good thing. But the way I see capitalism and the way these people see it is very, very different.

And they call themselves compassionate conservatives. Shame on them.

Oh, in looking into Neimoller, I found this. Also too true, and another reason to resist the status quo. Isn't it pitiful that our most ardent and tough advocates of free speech in the U.S. are our librarians.? Good for them! Shame on us.