According to the latest figures, there are 47 million Americans who go hungry in the food basket of the world. In a land of plenty we argue about whether to feed the hungry. The battle over food stamps is a cruel and ugly joke for those who are dependent on assistance for survival.
Last week I watched a story in the news from an enterprising reporter. She traveled around with a white woman,single parent with 4 children who lives in Kentucky. There are more white people on relief than conservatives want to admit. Here she was a 28 year old woman working hard to bring food to the table for herself and her 4 kids. With a face far older than her years. It is darn right exhausting to survive each day. It reminded you of the famous picture of the weather beaten and stress lined face of a mother in the Great Depression that became iconic.
She had this far away look in her eyes as she tried to hide the fright of being in poverty. She works 20 hours a week and seeks a way out of poverty through taking college credit courses on line. You could feel her pain as she tried to cover up the blame she puts on herself for her shame of not being able to provide more for her children.
There are families with both parents working who face the same hardships as that single parent in Kentucky..
Listen how some members of Congress, members of the millionaire’s club, try to rationalize and give excuses to themselves for wanting to gut the food stamp program. You would think after listening to them talk that all of those in poverty were to blame for their condition. That somehow it is their fault for the blight that is now part of America. The blight of the rust belt where jobs moved away. You would think that they were all fraudulently getting assistance. You would think that the mounting amount of those who live in poverty whether they live in the hollows of Kentucky or on the streets of your city or in the delta of Mississippi didn’t count. You hear statements reminiscent of the Robber Barron days when people claimed that people deserved to be poor because of natural selection. Those were the days of the survival of the fittest. You would think that we would have learned something from the past about the importance of community versus the importance of the individual. But alas memories are short and in this materialistic society it is all about what is in it for me rather than how is your neighbor doing. A few less jet airplanes would feed a lot of people.
You hear these Congressmen and women, members of the elite, talk as if the poor were just numbers on a ledger and not real human beings. They often profess their Christianity while denying the need to provide for the general welfare of the people. Where is their sense of Christian charity and love for their fellow human beings? If you think charities can take care of 47 million human beings who go to bed hungry, think again.
If we do not turn things around in this country and I do mean soon, our country will be divided between the poor and the rich. The cracks in that young women’s face in Kentucky will become a river of tears that could symbolize what has become of our country. It is darn right embarrassing to have hungry children in this country. Where is our collective sense of shame and morality? Perhaps some of us would rather look the other way or be part of the blame game. Beware, but for the grace of God, you too, could find yourself hungry some day. It is better to have a hand up rather than a slap in the face.
The towering wealth of the wealthiest among us will be the layers upon which our Tower Of Babel will crack and fall. For if we do not succor and care for the poorest among us what difference will it make how wealthy we are as a nation. Where is our morality? Can you spell revolution?