While many church people rally to defend an unapologetic celebration of Christmas, public officials are busy crafting public policy that will be anything but a gift for low-income Americans, millions of whom live in our inner cities.
Consider New Orleans and Uncle Sam's. . .er, Santa's current list of "gifts" for the poor in that devastated city. The Small Business Administration has processed only 1/3 of the 276,000 loan applications it has received from businesses and homeowners. The SBA has rejected 82% of those it has reviewed! Forty-seven per cent of the approvals have gone to well-t0-do neighborhoods in the city, while only 7% have gone to the poorer communities.
This dismal performance record doesn't really square with what the President said on September 15, 2005 when he spoke at historic Jackson Square.
"As all of us saw on television, there is also some deep, persistent poverty in this region as well," Mr. Bush said. "We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. so let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality."
Santa's on-the-ground policy doesn't measure up to the political rhetoric that extended false hope to New Orleans residents, especially among the poor.
Or, consider the battle that rages on in the Congress as we speed toward the Christmas or Holiday break. Senator Frist called in every Senator and every vote this weekend, including Vice President Cheney who interrupted a trip to Pakistan to scurry back to the Capitol in case his tie-breaking vote were required on the Senate side. As it turned out, he cast one deciding vote on Wednesday.
The result appears clear. Billions of dollars in funding will be stripped away from programs benefiting low-income Americans, including nutrition, health care, child welfare and education initiatives. The very efforts our nation employs to extend new opportunity to working families will now be cut back even further.
Don't despair! At the same time our Congress squeezes the poor, it will provide even more billions in additional tax cuts to the rich!
Merry Christmas! God bless us every one!
It happened again on Monday of this week. And, I must say people didn't like it.
Our resource center assisted almost 400 families with food and other pressing matters. I have never seen our building more crowded.
Everyone was gracious. Everyone seemed grateful. But, not everyone was happy.
People who must depend upon charity to get by in life really don't like it. Put yourself in their shoes. You'll begin to understand.
We need more in this nation. We should be doing better by those at the bottom. What we have today is not only inadequate and short-sighted, it is simply not right.
I wish the folks who are so incensed about the Christmas-Holiday argument would turn their attention to the values of the person behind the celebration they champion. Maybe then things would change.
Good Friday Meditation
6 days ago