Unless you have barely existed in poverty, seen your children go without for weeks or months at a time, been hungry because you can’t afford food, faced eviction or been evicted, or had no heat, electricity or phone because of poverty, there is simply no way you can understand the constant fear, desperation and depression of the millions of Americans who deal with this reality every waking day of their lives.
No way. Period.
Sadly, these same Americans living at or well below the poverty line, are seen as nothing more than cheap pawns to be exploited by most politicians on both sides of the aisle who regularly put the needs of special interests, their political party and their reelection well before the needs of their constituents. Poor or otherwise.
For me, poverty has never been academic. As a child, I grew up in abject poverty and was often homeless. By the time I was seventeen years of age, my family had been evicted thirty-four times. Most of the homes we were thrown out of having no heat or electricity.
As I grew older, I – temporarily – morphed into a Republican because at least on paper, their messages of personal responsibility, accountability, and smaller government made the most sense to me at the time.
Based on – at the time – brutal real-world experience, I knew that government handouts were not the answer to me escaping the humanity-destroying cycle of poverty. As that child, and as I observed what poverty was doing to my family and those trapped on the same sinking ship around us, I knew that government handouts were nothing more than an addictive Band-Aid which barely allowed the poor to exist but never escape the shackles of poverty.
For me, I started shining shoes at nine years of age to try and help my family, and then took on every odd job I could find after that. By that age, I knew that – in the macro sense –…