Friday, September 27, 2013

Those Left Unserved: Poverty and State Law

Last night, I had the opportunity to tell people the "long form" of why I chose to run for Delegate:

I try not to talk too much about the service activities and pro bono work I do in the community.  Selfless service isn't selfless if it is a springboard for self-promotion.  But I wanted to tell these stories to let people know the brick walls and insurmountable hurdles I had encountered that brought me into the race. 

I've said time and again that our conversation on poverty and the working class is broken.  For reasons that are simply beyond my understanding, we are more comfortable treating the poor with blame and accusations than we are empathy and assistance.  Maybe, just maybe, if we stopped pounding our chests about drug tests for welfare recipients and instead solicited job opportunities for those living in subsistence conditions, maybe the world would be a better place.

This isn't about redistribution of wealth.  It is about recognizing those faults in the system that provide insufficient legal aid for our poor, cruel collections practices against our sick, and unreasonable preclusion for our neighbors looking for work.  Don't you want to fix that?

Politicians like to have their photos taken at soup kitchens.  The apron, a ladle, and a sympathetic face go a long way to establishing oneself as a person of service.  But those photographs are evidence of failure.  Failed education, failed social services, failed job programs, failed housing.  They may as well celebrate their stance on crime in a morgue. 

Where they need to be is at the table, with papers spread out, cameras absent, when someone is facing the tidal wave; when this person realizes that despite playing by the rules, the system is about to overtake them.

There are fixes.  Some are quick, some more drawn out, but there are fixes.  Let's see if we can do it.

Have a great Friday doing what you love!