I do believe we are fighting a war here in this country. I believe we are fighting many wars on many different fronts and the battle rages on many different levels. but I think all the wars combined leave us in the position of fighting for our country and its fundamental values like no other time in generations. perhaps the battle we now fight is as important if not more so since the civil rights movement in the sixties. I think these battles have reached such a fever pitch and is having such a detrimental effect on all of us that we are now at a critical juncture that will decide the fate and future of this country as we know it.
I wake every morning and read about, see and witness these battles. we have been involved in a self declared war on poverty since 1964. but the real war was never on poverty. it was fought between two very different set of values and ideals and visions of where this country was going and whether or not it should assist the most vulnerable and poorest of the citizens in coming with it or leave them behind to continue to struggle. on the surface we made the correct decision and decided to attempt to aid the poor and raise them up to a level where they too could enjoy the rewards of the American dream. but the war on poverty has become the war of the two major political parties in this country and it is being fought at the expense of the very ones the war was designed to rescue. the poor have become collateral damage of the political parties and their willingness to allow needless casualties for the sake of their own agendas and ideologies. we have fought this war on poverty with no real ammunition and no clear cut vision of the ultimate goal of eliminating it. it has denigrated into nothing more than a topic to be brought to the forefront in election years and the debate on whether to continue, abandon or how to do either has become nothing more than a springboard for politicians to put forth their party platforms during election and pre election speeches. we have weakened our fight by a subtle attempt to make poverty and lack of opportunity a racial issue. it's not a racial issue and hasn't been for years. it's an issue of the failure of our national leaders and representatives to safeguard our economy and our middle class. they have abandoned our inner cities and our middle class....regardless of their color.
hunger came with poverty and so the battle eventually spread to include this enemy also.while we have made great strides on alleviating hunger in this country, it is for the moment a continuing battle. we have achieved these victories despite efforts from self declared experts and economists who have never experienced a day of hunger in their lives. we have achieved some victories over hunger despite the best efforts of politicians to allow the elderly, children and women to go without food. we are winning this battle, but will continue to do so only if we silence the politicians and policy makers who somehow think the poor do not need assistance to obtain food and to cut the very programs that have been successful in delivering much needed relief to those fighting to feed themselves and their families.
I witness personally the fight against homelessness. but it's not a fight against homelessness at all. it's a fight between different coalitions, agencies and advocates on the best way to reduce and end the problem of homelessness in America. it is an argument of money, resources and how to acquire, distribute and utilize those resources while appearing on the surface to actually be housing the homeless. this fight is rapidly being lost. it has been a stalemate from its inception and the battle lines have never been moved. this war in particular is one of very enormous cost both in money and human respects. the human cost is perhaps the most expensive because this war knows no race, no gender, no sexual orientation, religion or social standing. you can become a victim of this war quickly and become one of its refugees when you least expect it. the battle lines may not have changed but the war zone has continued to expand and now touches all of America. it was at one time an urban war but has now become an all encompassing one that has found its way into every part of America and all levels of our lives. we have become acutely aware of homelessness and the fight on it not because we have finally recognized the importance of this social injustice, but because it has effected people in our own community. it has effected families that we are familiar with. it has effected our young children and our elderly population. each one of us now probably knows someone who is homeless or is aware of someone who is.
the rest of the wars and infighting and struggles are just as important and just as devastating. but I think the longest, most hard fought war lies within myself. I struggle daily to fight the onslaught of negativity that continues to try to convince me that this country is lost. I fight daily the hardships I witness with the homeless people I encounter. I struggle with the fact that I see families teetering on the edge of poverty daily. I fight that sense of outrage and sadness I sometimes feel when I see men, women and children struggling for food and shelter in the richest country in the world. I fight the sense of despair when I leave nobucks café in the mornings and look at the skyline and see tremendous financial institutions with hundreds of billions of dollars in assets, while in their shadows walk homeless men seeking their next meal or shelter for the day. I feel contempt when I read about or see politicians that continue to ignore the needs of the American people while bickering over which party is right in their beliefs and methods of giving a lifeline and a sense of hope to the unemployed during the deepest, slowest and most prolonged recovery after a recession this country has seen since the great depression. i fight the utter sense of disbelief when i see corporations moving their jobs overseas while our own country experiences unemployment, a stagnate economy and people searching for employment that just isn't there. they do this for profit and because of greed..nothing more, nothing less. i fight the feeling of apathy when i realize that these politicians were elected by the very ones that they fail to serve by continuing to pass laws, regulations and policies that not only allow this but encourage it. i fight these battles almost daily.
i fight these battles because i am not yet willing to give up on this country. despite all the problems, poverty, hunger, broken dreams and pain....it is still my home. i keep hoping that America will unite and bring this country out of the shadows of constant war among ourselves. i remain optimistic that somehow a coalition and united front will step forth and begin to earnestly solve homelessness, poverty and hunger with one common goal and method as a weapon. i keep waiting for the day when we all will unite and tire of racism, geopolitical tactics in washington, corporate greed, ineffective leadership and demand a more responsive, productive and citizen oriented system of governing. i keep waiting...holding my ground....fighting the small battle that i can. but like every soldier in every war, without the proper leadership and battle plan, i too will tire of the fight. and so will America if we don't remain vigilant and continue our own individual fight to turn this country back toward the path that brought us to greatness. it's a war we cannot lose. it's a battle we cannot run away from. it's a fight that is indeed our own fight....among ourselves and for ourselves. it's a battle that moves closer to our own front door every day. stand firm....fight the good fight....fight it for your country, your city and your home. most importantly, fight it now so our children do not have to.
see you around town