Wednesday, January 9, 2008

the more you see the less you know...

i really don't have a whole lot of faith in politicians on either side, but i have been finding this election season a whole lot more interesting even if i'm a bit fatalistic about whatever we end up with. ideally i'm hoping for an obama-mccain matchup just because it'd be interesting but being from this neck of the woods i've learned not to expect too much.

one of the things that irritates the heck out of me though is when people use the whole poverty thing as a talking point, especially if they're ambulance chasing lawyers turned politicians (cough cough, john edwards, cough). come on now, what would you know about any of that? you go to work every day in one of the most desperate areas of the country and don't look any of these people in the eye and you have the nerve to act like you care. i could think of a whole lot of other things you could do with $400 instead of getting a haircut.

(then again being that scruffy kid, i cut my own hair all the way through college and that didn't always look too good).

one of the things that always struck me whenever i've visited dc is that you could be driving through the very worst part of town and you'll see the capitol dome rising up over all of it. there are homeless veterans and people on crack and people down on their luck like the unemployed migrant workers that becky and the rest of us ended up hanging out with who traveled across the country picking fruit and doing construction but weren't able to find any work so they were living on the steps of a lutheran church less than a mile from the white house.

i don't know how you could live with yourself walking past that every day as you go to work and make legislation or attend various talks and photo-ops and fundraisers.

but then again, i live in one of the poorest cities in the country and my bus goes by guys sleeping on heating vents on the superior avenue sidewalks in the shadow of the keybank tower.

i guess i try to do what i can, trying not to consume as much, trying to do what i can in the places where i find myself. i pass on job leads, old textbooks, any resources that come my way. i don't have time like i used to, but i still try to give it up, use it for something.

trying not to be so darn self-absorbed, which is hard given that my generation codes itself by "i" and "me" and "my."

it's not like compassion is relegated exclusively to the republicans or the democrats or conservatives or liberals. there are heartless and self-absorbed people on both sides and while it may make you feel good to talk about how great you are in comparison to "those other people," doesn't really do a whole lot of good.

i see anarchist friends who feed the homeless every sunday in public square, and the amazing people at nueva luz who come from a much more conservative nazarene background who distribute food and clothing in the neighborhood and have loads of resources for people with AIDS in the hispanic community.

this whole issue is never as cut-and-dried as it appears to be. so please, talking heads, everywhere, please stop acting like you have some kind of monopoly on it.

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