Reflecting earlier this week on what it would be like to wake up as Mayor of Dallas, Texas got me to thinking about the importance of looking at life as a people through the lense of "us" or "we."
"I" or "me" or "my" or "mine" just doesn't get it.
Here we arrive at the fundamental problem with American politics and goverance today. It's not hard to see every day in the city.
Those of us who read The Dallas Morning News woke up to it yesterday. The new federal budget, passed and signed early in 2006 in Washington means that TexasAttorney General Greg Abbott must lay off 1,750 employees who work in the child support payment division of his shop. Mr. Abbott estimates that because of these cuts child support collections would drop by $2 billion just this year.
Part of the federal "deficit-reduction bill" takes $2,000,000,000.00 out of the pockets of the most vulnerable children in Texas.
Let's see. Already Mr. Abbott had planned on laying off 87 employees because his boss, our governor, Rick Perry, told him and all other state agencies and departments to come up with ways to trim the state's budget by 10%.
Of course, the child support collections department shouldn't feel singled out. The federal and state cuts gouge the operations budgets of every agency and department in the state designed to aid the weak, the poor and the ill.
Even Child Protective Services (CPS), the agency that attempts to protect our children from abuse and neglect, is included in the list. Central Dallas Ministries just signed its second annual contract with CPS to provide services to some of these young people.
Just one more example, as if we needed another one, of the priority of "I" and "me" versus the common good for the "us" and the "we" of our city, state and nation.
I hope we wake up soon to the truth that when all are cared for more adequately, all of us do better. Robbing children of benefits today will come back to haunt us. The tab for neglecting children who need us to be responsible today will have to be paid at some point.
I pray that people of faith would embrace their sacred traditions and speak out for all of "us."
It is past time. What in the world are we thinking?
Larry's new book, now available from Amazon.com! Also, now in Kindle format! To place your order visit Amazon.com today! Also, available at Barnes and Noble bookstores and on the web. Click on the image above to order!
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.