by Pa Rock
I love our governor! Janet Napolitano is one of the smartest, hardest working, and most caring of individuals serving in American politics today. She is the epitome of what a politician should be. Governor Napolitano will be sorely missed in Arizona when she moves off to Washington, DC, to become the Secretary of Homeland Security. But our loss will be America's gain.
Last week, shortly before Thanksgiving, Governor Napolitano sent out a gentle email reminder about those in our state who are having trouble putting food on the table. Arizona has a good food bank system, and the governor was nudging her supporters to donate money to ensure the system's continued effectiveness. She also put out the challenge for citizens to begin food drives to help stock the shelves of the food banks.
We tend to forget that the poor are among us, and when we do remember those less fortunate, it is sometime with scorn. For most of a generation now we have suffered political leaders who demonized the poor for their own political advancement. Many churches even heaped on ridicule, suggesting that anyone who worked, regardless of the menial nature of the job, would magically become healthy, wealthy, wise. Welfare for the poor was to be cut or eliminated at every opportunity, while tax breaks, tariffs, business deregulation, and other protections for the privileged were viewed as necessary for a healthy economy. The game was welfare for those who didn't need it, and nothing for those who did.
But now that the economy has tumbled into the crapper, we may all get a taste of what it is like to be poor-of-pocket and poor-of-spirit. Hopefully we won't be forced to experience the depths of hell that is the daily life of many of the less-fortunates who live among us.
Did you know that last year, 2007, before this economic "downturn" came upon us, that over 700,000 American children went hungry at some point? The Department of Agriculture said that figure represented a 50% increase over 2006. The number of children going hungry during the economic craziness of 2008 must be staggering!
I'll do my part by donating cans and cash. I don't need a plasma TV, but I do need the peace of mind of knowing that some child is not going hungry while my cupboards are full.
Thank you, Governor Napolitano, for reminding us that we all can be doing more.
Happy holidays - to all!