"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


No Poverty in Politics.

My viewing and reading of political discourse is pretty constant these days. I am beyond jazzed about the prospect of Barack Obama being our next president. I am even more excited that there are no more debates to sit through. I have grown tired of yelling at my TV. One of my friend's mentioned in her debate blog her dismay that the poor were never mentioned in the debates, overtaken by our concern for the middle class, in which the majority of us reside. I went yesterday to Pennsylvania to do canvassing for Senator Obama's campaign and sat in on informational conference calls and read stacks of policy material/propaganda. During our canvassing debriefing, we were told to go back again and again to the message that "Barack Obama will never betray the middle class," with no mention of what must be done for the poor.

So I've been thinking about this alot. If you Google Obama on Poverty, you do get a comprehensive policy statement, but this is not something that has been talked about in any of the debates or on any of the mainstream media new programs. And I guess this is because the majority of American's place themselves in the fabled Middle Class. We are used to our concerns being heard, because we are the voters that can make or break you. We need to know what you will do to make our lives easier and to help sustain our way of life. Nothing is less popular than the times when one of the candidates have talked about the potential sacrifices we will be asked to make during the current economic crisis, or the tax hikes that may be necessary to fortify our infrastructure, or to work toward expanding healthcare or improving schools. But people who live in poverty are not used to being heard. They are used to being uniformly blamed for society's ills without consideration of how these supposed ills came to be.

It is as if these people do not matter. As though their voicelessness means that they do not deserve to be heard. It is imperative that we address these problems for the people afflicted. For most of us it is difficult to believe or understand that there are people living mere miles from our homes who do not have enough to eat, who are in constant danger of becoming homeless, who are more likely to die from treatable medical conditions because they receive inadequate medical care, if any. And I feel that this is inexcusable.

Now if you look at the policies of the nominees, there are things there that will affect the poor. Raising the minimum wage, extending and improving educational policies, striving for universal health care, job creation, etc. But these things are not presented as a war on poverty because we are more concerned for our own economic recovery than we are for providing relief for people who have never had anything. I have difficulty reconciling this. I, as with all things, would like for the nominees to just come out and acknowledge these injustices, and to say what they strive to do to repair them. But maybe that is too much to ask.

1 comment:

JTB said...

I actually heard a pundit last night state that Obama wanted to build the economy "from the bottom up," beginning with "the middle class." I gnashed my teeth in frustration!!! Since when did bottom=middle???


You'd think that it would be pretty safe to express concern for the poor at this point...I mean, what're they gonna call you? A socialist? Oh, um...wait...