Tuesday, September 20, 2005

There Will Be Poor With You Always


This past Sunday night there was a fellow on public radio that was introduced as an expert in the field of dealing with the poor of our country. His beef was concerning the situation in New Orleans. In his opinion the reason that Katrina was such a travesty was due to racial inequity and poverty. We needed to band together and do so much more for the poor. He went on to say that the poor of our nation are ignored and placed in communities away from the middle class and rich all because of the prejudice of the middle class and rich. If only we would offer a hand and a handout to these unfortunate multitudes their lives would be so much improved and a blight would be cast away from our nation. Birds would sing, the Sun would come out, the air will once again be pure and all men would be equals. He laid blame at the feet of the hard working and educated that our country is home to so many that are impoverished.

Jesus said that "there will be poor with you always." There is a good reason that He made that statement.

We have generations of folks that go from cradle to grave seemingly content to exist on welfare. The drop out rate in high schools is unbelievable as is the truancy rate in many schools. As far back as in the 1980's I was shocked to learn that the local high school was allowing students to "intern" at Wendy's and McDonald's. The reasoning the schools offered was the kids were studying a valuable industry, food service and they were supplementing their family's income, since "Dad" was not a factor in many families since the parents were never married. By working, the kids also got free meals. However the school also was the recipient of tax money from the state, since the kids were considered "students" as opposed to mere drop outs working at Wendy's and McDonald's studying a valuable skill in the fast food industry, supplementing their family income and getting free meals. Why didn't the school set the goals a little loftier?

This weekend as I listened in amazement to a public radio news program I realized that their reasoning supported the fact that, "the poor will always be with us."

The show reported that a few weeks ago those housed at the Houston Astrodome were offered the chance of a life time by several different States. The States were eager to make a difference for the unfortunate folks that had lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. The State of Colorado set up a booth in the Texas facility. Colorado offered to anyone displaced by the hurricane a 3 bedroom house with all appliances and furniture with no mortgage for a year, free home owner insurance for a year and also family medical insurance for a year, free education, free groceries and clothing. They would be guaranteed a job at either Wal-Marts or Coca Cola. During the first week, out of the tens of thousands housed in the Astrodome only two families took advantage of this opportunity. The State of Florida made a very similar offer at their booth. Thirty-five families signed on to move to Florida. Why the difference? Florida was warm and they equated Colorado with the entertain. During the second week more people did sign on for the move. A total of 35 signed on to move to Colorado and 48 to Florida. The rub with Florida is that you are back in Hurricane Alley. I would assume that other states were there with similar offers. The only downside is that within a year, the person would have to assume responsibility.
So why out of all those stuck living in the Astrodome did only 83 families want a life changing "hand up" that involved some initiative and decision on their part? I may be wrong, but what I am thinking is many there were stuck in the mindset of welfare and the monthly government check , Medicaid, food stamps etc. Responsibility is not an option.

The fellow on public radio failed to understand that we all have to work for what we have? It certainly is very, very hard to break away from the cycle of poverty especially for a young, female with children and have no man to support you financially, emotionally and be a father to his offspring. All individual situations are differing. But there are those that have no work ethic and no desire change this attitude.

Jesus said, "There will be poor with you always."

1 comment:

Boo said...

What you posted was dead-on. If my sister can pull herself out of the hole that she's in, anyone can do it. They raised an interesting point on Friday on a local radio show. Why should our tax dollars go to rebuild people's homes who had no insurance on those homes? Isn't part of being able to afford where you live being able to afford the insurance it takes to live there? I felt kind of rotten agreeing with them, especially when one caller who used to live in Ft. Lauderdale said that it cost him $10,000/yr to insure his home from wind and flood damage. But, I have to say, they have a point. If a tornado came through and destroyed my house, the government wouldn't give me a penny because my husband works and we have good insurance. No one would offer us free housing, free food, free jobs. However, if we didn't work, but were on welfare, we'd get everything free. So, it's hard. I still feel rotten agreeing with it considering the little babies that died of dehydration and all, but, I don't know. My neighbors are from New Orleans, and they have several relatives currently staying with them. The ones who know their homes are still standing are eager to get back to their jobs and rebuild the city. When they were told to leave, they left. If someone told me a terrible disaster were coming, I would walk out of the city with my baby if I had to rather than stay there and put him in harm's way. These people just assumed that they would be taken care of. They'd always been taken care of. They'd never had to take care of themselves. And then they add to the destruction of the the hurricane by looting and burning and murdering and raping? It's horrible.