Archive for letters

The result of apathy

tom hill

So the primary election is over and in the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina,  I fear we made a big mistake.

We gave the nod to Tom Hill, who knows little or nothing about politics. He spent much of his campaign against Cecil Bothwell two years ago with his foot in his mouth. He calls himself a moderate, but he hates all Muslims. He is anti-marriage equality.

From his Facebook page, in response to a John Boyle column:

The article is neither “beautiful” nor “well said”. It completely misses the point that society as a whole defines the forms of marriage it will approve, irrespective of what the Old Testament may say on the subject. Our society does have a strong undercurrent of Christian teachings, but our culture would not approve of polygamy or incest, for example, regardless of its religious bent. The same is true in non Christian countries such as Japan. There are no such entities as “gay rights”. There are only human rights, and in this country all gays have the same human rights that the rest of us have. What the homosexuals want is a special right to marry a person of the same sex and to procreate jointly, which is a physical impossibility. No other person in this state has the right to marry a person of the same sex, and we are not going to make a dispensation for gays and lesbians, many of whom have voluntarily selected that lifestyle. Just ask the actress Cynthia Nixon. I am not “ashamed” of my state’s common sense response to Amendment One, and I would like to contribute a dollar to the “Send John Boyle To A Gay/ Lesbian Marriage-Approving State” movement.”

And we chose this man to oppose Mark Meadows. So, we get another two years of Meadows. I plan to write in a name, perhaps Keith Ruehl or Cecil Bothwell.

I can’t vote for someone who thinks marriage equality isn’t about equal rights. When he says that many have “voluntarily selected” that “lifestyle,” it makes me cringe.

But he won the primary because too many people didn’t do their homework, and voter turnout was a mere 14 percent.

I suppose we get what we deserve as a nation, but what about those of us who do care and do vote?

It doesn’t take very much time to learn about the candidates, and it’s an important part of living in a Democracy.

I spent a good part of Saturday canvassing for Brian Turner, a local business owner who is getting into politics because he sees the damage being caused to our state by extremists in Raleigh.

Brian is running against Tim Moffitt for NC House, and I am going to do all I can to see that Brian wins. He is for the expansion of Medicaid, for restoring funding to schools and our higher education system, for Asheville retaining its ownership of our water supply, against the voter suppression law, against the new tax law that lowered taxes on the wealthy and increased the burden on working people … In other words, he is the polar opposite of Tim Moffitt.

Most of the people I spoke to on Saturday didn’t know Brian Turner, but after hearing he’s pretty much the opposite of Moffitt, they all wanted to vote for him.

This is why I work for candidates. It takes great courage to run for office nowadays. Brian knows that the machine behind Moffitt likely will assault his integrity — Tim told him so.

The message here is that we must vote and we MUST learn a little about the candidates before we go to the polls.



Mark has it right


I met Mark Chilton the evening this photo was taken. It was in late May, 2013; Mark would remember the exact date since it was the night he was arrested during a Moral Monday protest.

Mark was mayor of Carrboro, NC, at the time, and he was standing against the hard right turn taken by the state’s General Assembly. I had been arrested on May 13 and I was volunteering to notarize appearance waivers for people who were arrested.

We struck up a friendship based in large part on our beliefs that people deserve basic rights, including the right to have their needs met — to be paid a living wage for a week’s work, to send their children to decent schools, to have access to quality health care and to vote. He is one of many, many friends I have made in the Forward Together Movement.

When Mark’s mayoral term expired, he decided to run for Register of Deeds in Orange County. In North Carolina, the office registers deeds, births, deaths and marriages.

That might not seem like a good next political step after being mayor, but Mark saw something very important he could do with the office — he ran on a promise that he would recognize — and register — same-sex marriages, even though the state has a constitutional amendment forbidding marriage equality.

In Tuesday’s primary, Mark beat out the incumbent, and since he now runs unopposed, he is just about assured of being sworn in come January.

Mark considers Amendment One unconstitutional, and since he will swear to uphold the US Constitution first and the state Constitution second, he will recognize same-sex marriages.

Marriage equality is happening with remarkable speed across the country. I think Amendment One was a last-gasp attempt to keep change from happening, and it will be declared unconstitutional.

My pastor, Rev. Joe Hoffman, is among the people who filed suit against Amendment One, using the argument that it violates his religious freedom to perform marriages of people in his congregation. The Campaign for Southern Equality is housed in my church.

I joined First Congregational UCC because of its views on marriage equality. I would never attend a church where my sister and her spouse weren’t welcome as who they were.

My sister was able to marry the love of her life before she died of lung cancer in 2006. Her spouse made all the decisions, as was appropriate. No one in my family would have tried to prevent that, but it was wonderful that they had the legal protection in case an asshole emerged from the woodwork.

I have heard horror stories of people being prevented from seeing their loved one in hospitals to loss of property after a death.

As the law stands now, my gay and lesbian friends can be married in one state and “legal strangers” in another. They have to make all kinds of legal preparations to battle that status and they still don’t have the same rights I have — simple because I fell in love with someone of the opposite gender.

The way I see it is that the only marriage that’s any of my business is my own. I actually believe my sister’s marriage strengthened mine because her inability to marry for more than 20 years taught me to appreciate the rights I have and made me want to fight for her to have equal rights.

At my sister’s funeral, the pastor — and evangelical Christian who believes God made us just how we were meant to be — described my sister and her spouse’s love as “extravagant.”

“Such extravagant love can be given only by God,” he said.

I love that line. It has given me a lot of comfort in the years since my sister died, and it has given me the conviction that every human being deserves the right to express that love and to be given the same legal protections I get.

Mark Chilton ran on a promise to recognize that right, and he won. It gives me hope that we are almost there.

Thanks to Mark — and to everyone who voted for him.




Another day, another gun incident

gunsJust last week, Georgia passed a bill allowing guns everywhere. Gov. Nathan Deal signed it into law.

As if things weren’t bad enough already.

Within a couple of days, a man with a gun stalked a kids’ baseball game, claiming he could walk around armed and there was nothing any one of them could do about it.

Unfortunately, he was right. What he was doing was legal, even though it terrified the children and the adults to the point that they called off the game and left. One child asked his mother of the man was going to kill him. What kind of thing is that for a little boy to be thinking?

If the point here is about human rights, what about children’s right to be able to play a baseball game and feel safe while doing so? What about parents’ rights to sign their kids up for a baseball league without fear of having some gun nut attend and wave his weapon around?

Today, a shooter let loose in a Federal Express facility in an Atlanta suburb. The shooter injured six people, one critically, and then shot himself.

Last night, a man drove into a motel parking lot in Asheville and fired several shots into a car, then took off on his motorcycle to the Asheville Mall, where he waved his gun around in front of horrified shoppers before throwing it and running into the mall.

On April 13, a known white supremacist opened fire at a Jewish community center, killing three. After he was arrested, he could be heard shouting, “Heil Hitler!” Yeah, he deserved to carry a gun, didn’t he?

Between the massacre at Newtown Elementary School and Dec. 31, 2013, guns killed 12,042 people in the US; since Jan. 1 of this year, another 3,442 have died. More than 15,000 people. That was the entire population of the town I grew up in.

The idea that everyone should have a gun and should be able to bring it wherever he or she pleases is insane. This was not the intent of the people who wrote the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution.

That amendment predicated the right to own arms on the necessity of having a well regulated militia. These people are not part of a well regulated militia, although the shooter at the Jewish community center has been known to be affiliated with white supremacist militias.

Still, we can’t seem to get any new regulations on guns. In fact, gun laws are falling, especially in red states like Georgia and North Carolina. I’m starting to believe the red symbolizes the blood of innocents.

We seem to have lost our collective minds.

The week before last, a group of libertarian wing-nuts who deny the existence of the US government pointed guns at US government officials. This is the very definition of treason, but these people are still walking around free.

I’m certain as can be that if these men had been African-American or Latino, they’d all be dead. Instead, they’re lauded by a substantial minority in this country as heroes.

This is all driven by weapons manufacturers, bolstered by the National Rifle Association. It is not about freedom, it’s about profit.

I’m tired of trying to talk reason into people who have none. Guns do not equal safety. They MUST be regulated, despite what the NRA says.

I have never had a problem with responsible gun owners; I have a problem with giving guns to irresponsible people, to people with anger or addiction issues — to just about anyone who wants one.

You can tell me cars kill as many people as guns do, but cars are’t made with the intention to kill; guns are. Killing is the reason guns are manufactured. And by the way, cars are very regulated.

We need to put a stop to this. We must vote against people who refuse to enact more strict gun laws. We don’t live in the Old West, and the majority of us don’t want to.

Law and order doesn’t mean putting away minor drug offenders for years on end while letting anyone who wants one have a gun, no matter how dangerous they are.

We have to put an end to this.






Stop the gun crazies!

gun kidsOK, I have tried to be reasonable, but I’m not getting anything even approaching reason from the pro-gun crowd.

Why can’t any of you even admit that there are places and circumstances where it’s not right to carry a gun?

Why can’t you admit that you don’t need to own high-powered assault rifles?

Why must you just repeat the craziness of the National Rifle Association and not think for yourselves?

These two children are from Texas. Their parents gave them these rifles to carry around a shopping district where guns are not allowed.

This is wrong on so many levels I hardly know where to start.

But let’s start with the “responsible gun ownership” argument. I agree that responsible gun ownership is OK, but this is not responsible. Children shouldn’t be walking around in public with guns any more than they should be allowed to drive a semi or a city bus. They are not mature enough to understand the ramifications of handling guns (or a huge truck).

Even an adult walking around a public shopping area with a loaded weapon is irresponsible.

I know, I know, you’re going to bring up the Second Amendment. Do you know what it says? It says, and I quote: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Do you belong to a well regulated militia? Do you understand the history of this amendment and how its meaning has been twisted?

Are you not moved one tiny bit by the deaths in schools, theaters and houses of worship?

I know, now you’re going to bring up the kid with the knives who went slashing through his school last week. No one died in that attack, though, and I hate to think of the carnage that would have resulted if he’d had access to a gun.

The NRA has bought our government and has convinced sportsmen and women that owning a gun is a more precious right than the vote. The resulting carnage means nothing to them. They are the mouthpiece of gun manufacturers who are only looking to make more profit, no matter how many people die as a result.

You’ve been hoodwinked, and you’re no safer as a result. More people are killed with their own guns that actually stop an intruder or attacker.

I have shot guns at targets and it’s fun, but I could have just as much fun with a BB gun. I don’t need to handle something that can kill just to have a good time.

My father owned a gun and he used it to hunt deer (although I don’t remember him ever getting one).

I’m not saying everyone should lose their guns, even though I don’t on one and likely never will, but I would like to see the pro-gun crowd budge just a little. Background checks would be nice. Banning guns from most public places also would be appropriate.

You can’t be a responsible person if you are unwilling to give an inch on anything.


Happy Equal Pay Day

equal pay

Equal pay for equal work. Is that really too much to ask?

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day women’s earnings since Jan. 1, 2013, catch up with men’s earnings for 2013.

I fought this back in the early 1980s, when I discovered a man with the same experience I had, who was doing the same job I was, made 30 percent more than I did. He lived at home with his mom and I was raising two kids.

I went to the publisher to complain about the inequity, and he gave me a raise to equal what my male colleague was making. Then he called my male colleague into his office and gave him a raise, too. I wasn’t supposed to know about it, but I decided to be happy with my raise and not risk getting fired because I needed the job.

Once, when I interviewed for a job, I was told I wouldn’t be hired because I had children and this boss wanted to be my top priority. Again, I could have pressed it, but I didn’t want to work for someone like that.

When I was a child, a woman still could be fired for getting married or for having a baby. Women were passed over for promotions because they might get pregnant or because they had children, plus everyone knew they would be useless at least one or two days a month because of “female problems.”

Women could be bank tellers but not bank presidents; we could be nurses but not doctors; secretaries but not lawyers. If we chose to pursue a career, it was understood that we would sacrifice having children.

It took a lot of fighting to get past that crap, and we still haven’t achieved equality. We earn, on average, 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren calls that not an accident, but discrimination, and she’s right.

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says, “I can’t believe I’m still protesting this crap!” People often snap pictures of it in parking lots.

But I have been protesting for women’s equality since the 1960s. As early as 1958, I was thinking I was as smart as any of the boys in my class — and smarter than most of them, but I was being told my possibilities were limited. I find it appalling that it’s still true on so many levels.

My granddaughters are coming of age in a time when women are still paid only about three-quarters of what men make; I can only hope my great-granddaughter’s reality is a little better.


Phelps reaps what he sowed

Phelps14_1285527241_10_0_368781064Fred Phelps, head of the Westboro Baptist Church, has died, and there seems to be a lot of delight in that all over the Internet today.

I can’t say I’m happy, although Phelps and his followers did nothing to create any positive feelings.

But look at his face. There’s a pathetic sadness there. I can’t imagine living my life with so much hatred in my heart.

Phelps hated gays. I mean, he really hated gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people.

Before the Affordable Care Act passed, my nonprofit held a health care rally outside the Statehouse in Raleigh. I jumped through all the hoops and got a permit, but when I arrived to set up, there were the Westboro Baptist folks right across from me. Nobody wanted to go by them to attend our rally, so it was short.

As we broke down, Phelps’s people started calling us “pro-abortionists” because we wanted universal access to health care. They screamed hateful things at us. I told them God loves all of us — even them.

That set them off even more. We weren’t sure whether we should be amused, repulsed or scared. We went with repulsed.

I don’t know how anyone can spew hatred like that and claim to be a follower of Christ, who told us to love each other and to not judge one another.

I will not rejoice at the passing of Fred Phelps. In fact I’m saddened that he never learned how to be loving and kind. I’m sad he never felt the redemptive power of forgiveness.

I know people are lining up to piss on his grave. I won’t waste my time doing that.

He’s gone, but his followers, who are even more hate-filled than he was, are still with us. All of them will face judgment one day, albeit not from me. I will oppose everything they stand for, but I have no desire to engage them or vilify them. I’ll save my energy for more positive endeavors.

I support the people he considered enemies, organizations like the Campaign for Southern Equality and Equality North Carolina, who work in positive ways to gain equality in our marriage laws for LGBT people.

Rather than stand and scream at people whose minds we never will change, I think it’s wiser to take a positive approach. You can’t attract reason with vitriol. People like Phelps and his followers are screamers. They don’t want to have a discussion, so it makes no sense to try and reason with them.

If you yell at me, I will walk away; if you want to have a discussion with me, fine, we can talk like adults.

I feel sorry for Fred Phelps and his followers. Their lives are miserable, their minds clouded and their hearts always in upheaval.

I can’t say I’ll miss Fred Phelps, but I am sad for his life without joy.


Do you really want to own garbage?

gregoryAfter the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, several of the group from North Carolina decided to cross the street and visit the National Voting Rights Museum.

As we passed the chapel, we noticed a small crowd gathered, and seated near the front of the room was comedian and activist Dick Gregory. Several of us stopped to listen.

He seemed to be rambling a bit, and he was profane, dropping the F-bomb intermittently, but he was somewhat amusing.

It did disturb me, though, that he used the N-word to describe African-Americans. I’ve heard it a lot, especially from comedians, but I cringe every time I hear the word.

Young people tell me they want to own the word, and I tell them what my father told me when I was 16 and wanted ownership of the word, bitch.

“It’s garbage,” he said. “Why would you want to own garbage? To embrace it is to embrace hatred of strong women. Why would you want to do that?”

I feel the same way about the N-word. I refuse to utter it because I connect it with the hatred and violence of the Jim Crow era. The things that were done to my fellow human beings by people who used that word make me sick to my stomach.

I know that as a white person there are things about being black that I will never experience. I won’t be stopped for driving while black. I won’t be stopped for walking or running through a white neighborhood like an African-American doctor I knew was when he jogged in his own neighborhood. I don’t ever have to think about the color of my skin and I’m not followed through stores by security people because my skin color makes me a “high risk.”

On the bus ride down, an African-American man joked that I could be a spy and infiltrate hate groups. I told him the only problem with that is that I wouldn’t be able to hold my temper when they started spewing hate, and I can’t bring myself to use the N-word. Other than that, I’d be a great spy.

In Selma, another of my friends, an African-American man, asked Mr. Gregory why he used the N-word. It wasn’t a challenge, just a question.

Dick Gregory exploded. In the exchange that followed, my friend never raised his voice as he explained that Gregory had been one of his heroes for his civil rights work.

“I love you, man,” my friend said.

Gregory said he didn’t need my friend’s love and that people hadn’t sat down to listen to my friend. Then he called my friend “an ignorant n—–.”

That’s inexcusable. Gregory knows what African-Americans went through to try and gain the respect due any human being.

We were in Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday, March 8, 1965, when police tear-gassed and beat people who were marching to Montgomery to plead for the right to vote. Rep. John Lewis, then a young activist, had his skull fractured.

The violence was done by people who hated African-Americans simply because of the color of their skin. These people, who themselves embraced the N-word, hated African-Americans enough to kill them.

Excuse my language here, but why the fuck would anyone — especially someone who has spent his entire life fighting for justice — want to embrace that kind of hatred?


We can count on a smear campaign

Brian Turner

For those of you who might not know, I am active in the Democratic Party of Buncombe County. I think it’s important for everyone to understand what’s happening in politics and to participate in Democracy.

I live in the 116th District, which means my representative is Tim Moffitt, who in no way represents my interests.

Tim and I have had a civil relationship, but he still doesn’t represent the best interests of the people in his district, since he has voted to open the door to fracking and close the door on expanded Medicaid. He voted to legislate women’s decisions over their own bodies and also to make voting more difficult. He voted to cut funding to education.

The list goes on.

Tim Moffitt doesn’t understand what it’s like to live in poverty. When I went to talk to him about the voter ID law, he said he thought a photo ID was a good way to help lift people out of poverty because he knew he wouldn’t hire anyone without a photo ID. The $6 is an investment in one’s future, he said.

The problem is, people in poverty don’t make investments; they buy the bare necessities, if they can afford them. If I have $6 and I need food for my kids’ supper, I’m not going to “invest” in a photo ID, I’m going to feed my children.

So, I was happy to hear he will be challenged in this year’s election by Brian Turner.

I got to meet Brian at Saturday’s precinct meeting. He told us he met with Tim Moffitt last week and that Tim asked him to bow out of the race so he (Moffitt) could concentrate on his run for Speaker of the House.

Brian, of course, declined. So Tim told him things could get ugly because there are groups over which he (Moffitt) has no control who will try to shred Brian’s good reputation and savage the reputation of his whole family.

I would bet Tim Moffitt has some control over those groups, and even if he doesn’t, I’ll bet he won’t condemn any lies they try to spread.

He has done this before, when he claimed in an ad four years ago that Jane Whilden went to China on the taxpayers’ dime, when she paid for the trip herself. He told me he had the ad pulled as soon as he heard it, but an apology was in order and he never issued one.

I hope Brian can keep things civilized, but we all need to let him know we have his back in this campaign. If one of the groups over which Tim Moffitt has no control spreads slime, we have to stand up and tell the truth.

We have to be loud to drown out all the money that will flow into Moffitt’s campaign, but I think we can pull this off if we all pull together.



The “Christian” Taliban


I don’t want to live like so-called “Christians” would have me live.

I grew up among them in a fundamentalist Baptist church that got its kicks from judging people. When a young, unwed mom lost a set of twins, someone told her “See? God punishes.” I can still see those nasty lips mouthing the words in my mind’s eye. I can remember hoping there was punishment for her one day for being so mean.

We couldn’t dance, play cards, go to a multiplex theater where an R-rated movie was playing (lest someone think we were going to the R-rated movie), do yoga, listen to rock music … We kids did a lot of these things anyway because, well, we thought God put us here to embrace life.

Women couldn’t hold any leadership positions in the church — we couldn’t even serve Communion or teach Sunday School to anyone older than sixth grade. We could be missionaries but not lead churches. We weren’t supposed to use birth control but accept every child that was sent to us. If our husbands beat us, we probably deserved it. We were inferior to men in every way.

We had a guest preacher who said we were doing God’s work in Vietnam killing all those godless (racial epithet). When I objected, I was told to show respect and remember my place. That was about the time I realized that my place was anywhere other than with these hate-filled people.

These are the people who go around trying to make their views the law of the land, the same ones who helped push the jail-the-gays law in Uganda and the same ones who are pushing for laws that would allow people in this country to discriminate against gays.

I don’t dislike Christians — I am one — but I do really, really dislike the hate-spewing extremists.

Fundamentalism in any religion is dangerous. That’s where we get the Taliban and other Islamist extremist groups, not to mention the likes of the Westboro Baptist Church.

A few years ago, people were sporting WWJD (what would Jesus do) bracelets and other trinkets. It might be a good question to ask today.

The way I read the message, Jesus was about loving and not hating. He ate with the most “unclean” people, including tax collectors and women. He healed lepers instead of condemning them. He never said a word about same-sex relationships.

Jesus told his followers to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” In other words, we don’t own the laws of the world. We don’t get to demand that everyone live in accordance with our beliefs.

You can hate gays if you want, although that likely means I don’t want much to do with you. I don’t like to hear about who’s going to hell; in your eyes I’m probably one of them.

My father taught me when I was very young that you should take each person as an individual and decide whether you like that person or not. To generalize is to limit yourself and every group has good and bad in it.

It’s difficult for me to see the good in extremism, but I will generalize here: If you really hate someone for they way they’re made, I don’t want to spend time with you and I don’t want to hear about your hatred.

And I certainly don’t want you writing laws based on your hatred and expect me to abide by them.


Where the hell is your compassion?

poverty wages

I’m feeling down today and oh, so frustrated with people who want to blame misfortune on the victim for making the wrong “choice,” or for being an undocumented immigrant and collecting “benefits” (which they don’t, by the way), and assuming all poor people are lazy.

What the hell is wrong with you people? My son didn’t choose to be born with a birth defect that would leave him vulnerable to cancer. He didn’t choose to have insurance companies refuse to sell him a policy at any cost. He didn’t choose to have doctors deny him care. He didn’t choose to get cancer.

I am in the six weeks between when we found out my son was dying six years ago and when he died. I relive his final days and his death every year at this time and my patience with ignorance, selfishness and greed is pretty thin right now.

I see a lot of poor people who work two jobs and still can’t make ends meet because it costs about 2 1/2 times minimum wage to live even the simplest life here. That simple life doesn’t include cable TV, movies, eating out, gym memberships, mocha lattes and other things that middle-class people don’t even think about spending money on.

When you see a poor person with a cell phone and complain, what you’re saying is that low-income or homeless people don’t even deserve the basic capability to be in touch with the rest of the world.

What you’re saying is that you don’t care about that person’s story; you’re going to pass judgment based on your own sheltered and fortunate life.

You’re likely no more than six months away from homelessness yourself.

Let’s say your job moves overseas. Now you’re left with unemployment compensation that won’t even cover your mortgage and you can’t afford COBRA. So, what happens when you get an upper respiratory infection? You go to the ER and walk out with a prescription for antibiotics, a big bill and no follow-up care.

If that first round of antibiotics doesn’t work, you can go back to the ER and get another big bill, which you can’t pay because your unemployment is about to run out, and another prescription for an even more expensive antibiotic.

You haven’t been able to find another job except for part-time at a garden center, at minimum wage, which is even less money than your unemployment.

Now you’re 90 days behind on your mortgage and you’re selling some of your belongings to try and keep the house. You get a second part-time job and look for a third, but it just isn’t enough.

You’re still sick, but you can’t go back to the ER because you can’t afford whatever prescription the doctor writes for you. So you just hope you’ll get better.

Eventually, you run out of things to sell and the bank runs out of patience. You can stay with family members for awhile, but the welcome wears out eventually.

Or let’s say you have bipolar disorder. You try to keep things on an even keel, but sometimes the medications become ineffective and you just can’t function in a job because that’s too much stress for you to endure.

You lose your job and while waiting to be approved for disability, you also lose your home.

Or let’s say you develop type 2 diabetes, not because you’re a glutton but because it runs in your family. Your job doesn’t come with insurance so you can’t afford the supplies you need to monitor your blood glucose.

You decide to exercise and try to eat right. But diabetes affects every system in your body, especially when you can’t monitor and control your blood glucose levels, and you don’t know your blood pressure is climbing through the roof. You have a stroke and are left incapacitated. Or your kidneys fail and you need dialysis. Or you lose your eyesight.

Tell me where the “choices” are in these scenarios. Tell me about “personal responsibility.”

Have you ever tried to survive on less than $1,000 a month? That’s what someone on disability has to do.

Have you ever tried to eat for $2.50 a day? That’s what someone on food stamps has to do, and most of the people who get food stamps are working people and their children.

Have you ever waited for a bus in freezing rain because you can’t afford a car?

Let’s talk about responsibility — our responsibility as human beings.

The Old Testament prophets talked about justice and compassion. In the New Testament, Jesus condemned people who refused to help people in need. Nowhere did he say, “I got mine, get your own.”

I am starting to un-friend people who post these things on Facebook. I no longer want to be friends with people who would allow others to suffer and even die out of selfishness and greed.

Don’t tell me you’re compassionate and then post something that calls poor people lazy or says they’re the victims of their own bad choices.

People don’t choose to be poor and sick and hungry. They don’t choose to work at jobs that don’t pay them enough to survive.

And don’t tell me I’m judging you unfairly; I am not. If you think poor people should suffer and not get help, you are not compassionate, and I’m tired of hearing from you.




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