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March 7, 2013

ANDERSON: Politics and poverty: An activist’s perspective

(Continued)

Locally, politics have been almost as bad as on a federal level. The school board races were hotly contested and not without a lack of civility. The same thing happened in the Jeffersonville mayor’s race; it was vicious, mean and not good for this community as lines were drawn, feelings hurt and with everybody wondering what was going to happen. 

The folks at the shelter just shook their head and said, “We don’t want to be part of that mess.” A lot of people said that along with them. Since the election the divide has only worsened, both locally and nationally. It is not healthy for our country or our community. 

The poor have always been easy prey. They are every politician’s dream — not in my backyard, taxes, immigration and medical care divided everyone. The money spent on war wasn’t discussed much. Neither was the true impact of the “fiscal cliff” or the sequestration. 

Keeping us divided on issues that constitute barely 4 percent of the budget is much easier than making the tough decisions. Keeping people mad at each other or the poor keeps us from dealing with real issues like corporate welfare (large corporations, not small business), taxes uncollected from those who have more than they could spend in several lifetimes. 

It has taken four decades for us to get to this point; it isn’t going to be over tomorrow. Our children will know the words recession and depression, and we allowed that to happen. 

It is our responsibility to hold those we elect responsible, it is also our responsibility to engage all Americans to vote and to participate, if this country is ever to be great again, it must first begin to care for its own. Charity begins at home.

 

— Barbara Anderson is executive director of Haven House Services Inc.

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