Counting my 3 blogs--this, my Camper's RVue, and the HEAR US media center--this entry is my 100th blog! In honor of this momentous occasion, I am offering a free "Piggies" poster to the first 10 people who email me mentioning the 100th blog. firstname.lastname@example.org will do it!
(This house is not the house in this blog, but it easily could be. It is in the same neighborhood.)
Sunday morning at the campground I watched a 5-ish year-old girl do the kid thing on a scooter, going up and down the paved road in front of the campsites. She was focused on her mission, seemingly to set a worlds’ record for going back and forth on a scooter. Some adult was outside, sort of keeping an eye on her.
Then I headed to M’s house, one of the kids who participated in the HEAR US documentary, My Own Four Walls. The yard and street were not fit for playing in. To be honest, the house, from what I could see, wasn’t fit for living in, but it is a roof over this vulnerable family’s head.
From the porch I could hear sounds of kids playing inside. One of the older boys answered the door and at least had enough sense to appropriately question why I wanted to talk to his younger sister.
Some families have everything, or at least an abundance of what they need, or sufficient resources to meet their needs, and sometimes even their wants. Other families, a growing segment, have not even enough to meet their basic needs. M’s family would fall in that category. They live in poverty in an impoverished neighborhood. They have little, if any, hope to get ahead. Their worry is keeping this shabby roof over their heads, knowing that if they lose it, homelessness hits them in the face, again.
As I drove along the PA countryside, through the mountain towns and countryside, I saw as many “FSBO” (for sale by owner) signs and for sale/rent signs on shuttered businesses as I saw presidential campaign signs. I thought of the money spent by both sides on this blistering campaign for a job that no one in their right mind would want. Spending hundreds of millions to slam the other and promote themselves, these candidates are taking disconnected to new levels, so far from M and her family that the gap will never be closed.
Will the next president be able to reach his influence into hopeless neighborhoods like this and so many others, to touch the lives of people with homes and without, to gently lift them up from the downward spiral that has enmeshed so many families in this past 8 years?
Or will more join these, the huddled masses, in the growing underclass that doesn't seem to matter unless it's you or someone you know heading in that direction.
It seems to me that it's time for a trickle-up approach. Let's reinforce the safety net, insulate people from abject poverty, provide resources for health care, education, and child care; utilize abandoned/foreclosed housing to shelter families, create jobs that would let people work on the infrastructure that the rich have so long neglected...it can't be any worse. But it will take some informed voters to figure out the candidate likely to care about those who have nothing. I'm having a hard time not mentioning any names....