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When I read this year’s topic my first thought was, of course, food and shelter. I’d planned to write about Grant Avenue Street Reach and the work we do feeding the homeless and working poor in Denver. But then I decided to address the larger issue.
The people of the United States are suffering a collective poverty of morality. And no, I’m not talking about nudity or profane language. I’m referring to our complacency in the face of illegal invasion and occupation , torture , illegal wiretapping , assault on the poor affected by Hurricane Katrina, assault on the environment , illegal signing statements , and soldiers’ mental health issues.
Why aren’t we out in the streets with burning torches and pitchforks? Where is our outrage? And I include myself in this question. Sure, I’ve written many letters to the editors, made numerous phone calls to my representatives, protested in the streets, signed petitions, knocked on doors, etc.
But. There are also days when I turn the page, shut off the television, click onto a different web site, all of the above in order to avoid the ugly truth that has become the United States. I feel beaten down by the Bush administration’s use of The Shock Doctrine. I feel powerless. Overwhelmed. And that’s just what they want. A traumatized citizenry that refuses to act even in the face of ongoing immorality.
I’m optimistic Obama is going to win the election. But I’m also worried people will think that’s enough to fix the mess Bush/Cheney/and Company created in the last eight years. It won’t be. We must hold the Obama administration accountable and demand the U.S. leaves Iraq. Demand the closure of Guantanamo Bay and an end to torture. Demand a return to the Constitution. Demand those among us with the least get the help they need. Demand bold action to protect this planet. Demand an end to an out-of-control Executive branch. Demand that those who serve this country are only asked to do so based on truth, and then given the help they need.
It’s way past time for us to disavow our national poverty of compassion and decency. We can do so much better.