>Today was the second hottest day of the year in the capitol, and it was definitely hot at the convention center when the Sojourners met with White House personnel and listened to what the Obama Administration wants to do to eradicate poverty in America, heard from President Obama and Jeffrey Sachs via video appearances and then gathered in state groups for our trip to Capitol Hill tomorrow, planning our strategies for discussing three important issues with legislators: health care reform, domestic poverty and fully fund the president’s foreign affairs budget request.
We learned that a budget isn’t just an Excel spreadsheet of numbers and bottom lines, but a moral contract that outline our nation’s values and priorities.
How is it that the most powerful nation in the world, and the wealthiest cannot take care of its poor and defenseless? Can bail out banks and insurance companies, but cannot offer its citizens medical insurance so that people needn’t go bankrupt trying to pay the cost of medical bills if they lose their insurance?
Rep. Lewis told us yesterday that Christians have an obligation to get in the way of injustice. Today one speaker said it in plain English – he said he was sick of “dumb, stupid, poverty” and wanted to do something.
Tomorrow I’m sure he’ll be on the Hill with us.
I don’t have a large bank account that I can use to contribute to food banks and shelters, but I have a gift that we all have – the gift of having a voice that I can use to speak with those in positions to make laws and change laws, to ask them to consider the needs of the poor and struggling middle class when allocating money and programs.
The President addressed the conference via video feed, encouraging us to speak out and fight for those without voices. Mr. Obama was proud that our government takes the problems of the poor seriously and want seriously to turn things around, e.g. the Half-in-Ten resolution put forth by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Cal.Dist.9): that the United States should set a national goal of cutting poverty in half over the next 10 years.
But remember what thirteen colonies of Great Britain did over two hundred years ago?
Remember what a rabbi from Nazareth started up with 12 of his friends?
Go in peace, dear ones.