So, it's Blog Action Day and so all of us bloggers taking part are supposed to be writing about poverty today. The thing is, I'm in politics-mode until November 4 (and probably after) so I've been wrestling with what to write. While pondering, I remembered John Edwards.

He was the first politician to make me feel like there was hope for the future. How did he do this?

By talking about poverty.

They always say that you can tell the moral strength of a nation by how they treat their prisoners. Well, I think they should change that saying to refer to poor people.

Our country hates the poor and strangely, John Edwards, back, during the 2004 presidential campaign was talking about poor folks and poverty. Yep--a rich, successful white man was talking about poverty. The thing is that he wasn't just talking about how poor people needed help, he was talking about how it was impossible for them to get it because there were two different Americas--one for the rich and the other for the poor.

Notice he didn't have a third America for the middle class. I think he understood that the middle class was dwindling and ultimately didn't account for anywhere near as many votes as the poor people did. Or it could have been that he just cared about people who lived every day below the poverty line. When ever I hear any leader (especially white leaders) talk about poverty I get excited because I know it's the biggest crime that continues to occur on our planet.

Just yesterday I read on CNN.com (here: www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/10/14/world.health.report/index.html ) about how the World Health Organization is freaking out because so many people are suffering, unable to get the health care they need. Just the article's summary points are scary enough:

# Health care disparities make world "neither stable nor secure," WHO director says
# Report: 43 percent of women giving birth this year will do so without medical help
# Tajikistan, Sierra Leone have 40-year gap in life expectancy despite expenditures
# Report applauds Iran, Cuba for finding ways to improve health care


It's disgusting how we let profit run everything because it's letting so many people suffer and die every day. Poverty isn't just a problem in other countries, either. It's a problem right here in the US. When I lived in the Carolinas back in the 90s, I discovered the existence of a community that lived inside a junk yard. Called The Blackmon Road Community, these people have had a generation be born and grow up there. APlaceForHope.Net is the website of a non-profit that delivers services to the people in this neighborhood and has done so for years. On the site's history page they explain more about the Blackmon Road Community:

The Blackmon Road Community is comprised of approximately 20 families (75-100 individuals) living along Archer Dr., Joe Louis Blvd., and Blackmon Rd., just off of SC 72.

The neighborhood area has drawn York County’s poor and destitute for several decades, harboring those unable to find affordable housing, as well as those suffering from the afflictions of alcohol and drug addiction. Many of the residents today live without electricity or indoor plumbing, and in a number of cases, are literally homeless squatters. The past efforts of the county to address the extreme poverty of the community have been hindered by complicated property ownership issues, and have ultimately resulted in little significant support for the area. Residents of the community have depended upon the compassion of churches and faith based initiatives, concerned individuals, and community organizations to help them meet their most immediate needs.


So, having been touched by the plight of these people, hearing John Edwards run for president on a platform that would address the issues facing these people made me very happy. I saw him talk at an event televised on C-SPAN (yay C-SPAN!) and immediate went to Edward's campaign site and donated $20.

To this day, that is the only money I've ever donated to any campaign ever.

When he announced he was running again in 2008 I was excited. I was really pulling for him again. Sure, I didn't agree with him on a lot of fronts (and he is a YAWG - Yet Another White Guy), but he cared about poor people!! This was huge! Hell, the last guy who did that and ran for president was Bobby Kennedy. We all know what happened to him.

Lucky for Edwards, no one assassinated him. Though you could easily argue that he assassinated himself.

When he dropped out of the race for president, I was disappointed. However, for a while there, it looked like Obama might pick Edwards as his running mate. This got me excited all over again. But as it turned out, there was already something in Edwards' past that would assassinate his career.

We all know how that story ended now.

But flashback to when Edwards dropped out of the race--he spoke with Obama and Clinton and then assured his followers that both had promised to pursue poverty in their platforms.

Since then, I haven't heard anything about poverty from either Clinton or Obama.

So, with Edwards' lost political career so is his favorite cause lost in the shuffle--poverty.

What's so wrong with helping people out? I don't get it.

It kills me every time I hear the phrase "get a job" because not only does it mean that someone has no compassion for their fellow human, but it means there's another person who buys into the system and the idea that everything is equal and that everyone's on their own (and that this is OK).

We're NOT on our own. None of us are--we're on a planet with 6 billion other people, yet too many of us starve every night. Too many of us are homeless. Too many of us feel alone.

And for what? For an ideology--capitalism is best! The free market rules!

Well, the free market left 90,000 people homeless in Los Angeles according to statistics I remember hearing a few years back. Those numbers are disgusting.

Where do 90,000 people "get a job"?

Where do wages for 90,000 people come from?

Government programs (if properly funded) could help these people train for jobs (if any can be found). But oooh, no! We can't have government programs! They'd be too expensive!

Instead, what do we spend our tax dollars on?

Two failed wars.

A monstrous bailout of companies that violated the rules of the free market in order to get rich.

Ah well, Happy Blog Action Day '08!

Got a poverty post? Link to it in the comments. I'd love to check it out!



OH yeah and one least thing: If you're a good person and you think you're a good leader (or if people tell you that you are) don't cheat on your spouse. Just don't.

Thanks.