Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today we're going to talk about poverty

And by "we", I mean more than eleven thousand bloggers. That's thousands more than most days, so there's a plus.

I've had brushes with low income living, but was never in serious danger of starving. The only time I was functionally homeless was when I was in the process of buying a house. I qualified for free lunches as a child, and one of my college room mates was on food stamps, and that kept us in Ramen. lots of it. And peanut butter.

Welfare deform may have changed welfare as we know it, but it hasn't made life any better for the people who are affected by it daily. And if you think it has no effect on you, well, you'd be wrong.

I've had friends who delayed getting to the doctor because the co-pay was too high or the clinic wasn't open when they were off work. One got sick and ended up in the hospital.

Hunger is not going away, either. My grandmother started a food bank in 1980 - it's still going, and still needs people to help.

People aren't poor because they're lazy. They don't go for government help because they think they're entitled. When we'd visit during the summer we'd help sort clothes for the little thrift store Grandma set up in a closed restaurant. She was asked why she sold the clothes instead of giving them away.

"People don't like handouts," she said. "They want to support themselves, not be the object of pity."

So, no moral to the story, except that even if the poor will always be with us, they still end up being ignored most of the time.

Let's not make this attention just for today.

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