Sunday, August 27, 2006
"Our" Quality of Life Should Matter
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 Texas Attorney 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?