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COMMUNITY VOICE

Romney's comments about poor were designed to divide us, not remind us

Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 12:01 am

It appears that with each passing day, Americans of progressive conscience are given new reasons to work fervently to ensure candidate Romney’s policies are never put into play.

He is making it categorically clear that under his administration the poor would have very much to fear, because in his way of thinking they possess absolutely nothing worthy of anyone’s cheer. As one who is unfortunately only a few paychecks away from poverty, it is chilling to hear that a presidential candidate thinks my concerns are beneath his level of priority.

To assume that everyone who is poor simply lacks “personal responsibility,” is also an indication that he views them as an unchangeable corporate liability. But the fact that people are poor is not simply evidence that they are lazy at their very core. The fact that people are poor is not evidence that they have ignored every opportunity that came knocking at their door.

The fact that people are poor does not reveal that they have simply been raised to never desire anything more. And I reject the notion that the 47 percent of Americans who are poor have no innate desire to learn how to successfully economically score.

They may receive food stamps to purchase their food, but that in no way negates their desire to do some good. They may live in housing that is subsidized, but that should not automatically qualify them to be politically ostracized. They may lack their own health care and have closets that are nearly bare, but I refuse to believe that the majority of our citizens look upon them with a disdainful stare.

Reasonable people will concede this is yet another appeal to the baser instincts among us. As polls show the high possibility of him losing this race, Romney has decided to bring up the perceived burden produced by those of us who wear a brown face. In other words, if America were not browning it would not be drowning.

When the census numbers were released in June it was the Eagle Forum, a staunchly conservative voice, who said “the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share American values and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.”

The word “welfare” has always been used as the code word that places racial politics in the air, but it ignores the reality that it’s the white number that carries the majority of our nations public assistance lumber.

From welfare to Medicare or Social Security to farm subsidy, the overwhelming faces of those suffering from a negative economic plight are white. And I already hear somebody thinking: Are not minority numbers disproportionate? But is there ever a time when any percentage is appropriate? Romney was not using his comments to remind us; they were designed to divide us.

Every responsible citizen should be concerned about the growth of our nation’s entitlements, because a number of them have done absolutely nothing for our personal or political refinements.

We have an increased defense bureaucracy, and yet we have not improved our international security. We have helped to revive Wall Street, but investors are not running to create jobs on Main Street. We are discussing lowering the wealthiest taxes but showing little compassion for those on the receiving end of employment axes.

I believe we are better than that. This land, in which I was born, long ago gave up treating the less fortunate with a corporate sense of scorn. The land I have grown to love has never been comfortable with giving the least and left-out among us a shove. The land of my pride has always understood that somewhere along the journey all of us may have to be offered a ride.

Rev. Bill McGill is senior pastor of Imani Baptist Temple