First, came this blog from Sojourners which included a video clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
And, then there was this headline on the front page of this morning’s New York Times…
President’s Plan on Deficit Mixes Cuts and Taxes
Foes See Class Warfare
I spent the rest of today thinking about those who are poor.
Are there some who “take advantage” of the system?
But in any group – welfare recipients to politicians, there are those who take advantage of “the system.” But, I can’t imagine that most of those who are poor want to be poor. Make a choice to be poor. Even “like” being poor. More often than not, “being poor” is something that happened to them. Little education. Loss of a job. Serious illness without health insurance. Something. And, government support does not move one from poverty into the lap of luxury, but it may mean that your children will have something to eat even if they come home to a run down house or a overcrowded, barely livable apartment.
And, I also remembered Archbishop Oscar Romero.
Archbishop Romero was a little known Roman Catholic priest in El Salvador before he was made Archbishop. As he saw and experienced the overwhelming suffering of the people of El Salvador he could no longer talk about them as “the poor.” Instead, he always spoke about about them as “those made poor” recognizing that other factors led to poverty besides personal choice. Because of the stance that he took and the side that he took, he was assassinated…on a Sunday morning in church as he celebrated the Mass.
As we debate tax increases (which may fall most heavily upon the most wealthy) and spending cuts (which may fall most heavily upon the least wealthy), may all of us remember that most of the time poverty is not a choice that one makes, and then turn and acknowledge our responsibility in participating in those systems that make so many of our neighbors poor.