Thursday, May 01, 2008

My 3 Top Issues: Poverty, Health Care, War

(After I was elected as an Obama pledged delegate, the Obama campaign asked me to fill out an information form. One question asked me to explain my top three issues. Below is my response.)

Basic principles drive my positions on the issues. Jesus the Christ directs us to Love God, Love our Neighbor, Help the Poor, and Help the Outcast. As a result, the three issues that are most important to me are poverty, healthcare and the Iraq war.

  • Why should any child suffer from poverty, hunger and lack of health care, when we, the wealthiest nation in the world, have the resources and the means to eradicate suffering among our most vulnerable citizens, our nation’s children, who have no voices?

  • For 47 million Americans to be without health insurance, and for a very high proportion of them to be children, is just plain wrong. Even in the absence of this shocking truth, for our government to deny the basic dignity of health care for all of its citizens is an immoral transgression.

  • Why should we continue to squander our treasure and the lives of our military heroes in Iraq at outrageous expense to our society? If we instead used these precious resources wisely, think of the social injustices that could be effectively addressed, the societal good that that could be procured, and the wrongs that could be made right, most of it here within our own borders.

My views on poverty, the war, healthcare and government’s role are exemplified by the following quotations:

  • The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson

  • “Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for by this wisdom.” Edmund Burke

  • “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” – Jane Addams

  • “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” – Paulo Freire

  • “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”MLK Jr.

  • “Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.” Edmund Burke

  • “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr.


  • “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” FDR

  • “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?’ Or thirsty and give you something to drink? … And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ ” The Gospel of Matthew

  • “Of course people cannot contribute to the nation if they are never taught to read or write; if their bodies are stunted from hunger; if their sickness goes untended; if their life is spent in hopeless poverty, just drawing a welfare check.

    “So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we're also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates. My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English and I couldn't speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast and hungry. And they knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them, but they knew it was so because I saw it in their eyes.

    “I often walked home late in the afternoon after the classes were finished wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that I might help them against the hardships that lay ahead. And somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.” Lyndon B. Johnson


  • A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” – MLK Jr.

  • “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” – MLK Jr.


  • “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” MLK Jr.

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