Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008

*Blog Action Day is a specific day of the year on which bloggers from across the world come together in an effort to raise awareness on a specific issue. This years issue is Poverty. This is my contribution.*

Remember in grade school how, when discussing other countries, our teachers would always refer back to that survey that demonstrated the wealth of the average person in America compared to the average wealth of the rest of the world? The one that shows that we Americans were among the richest people in the world merely because we owned a refrigerator, had more than one pair of shoes, or had access to clean drinking water on a daily basis.

I remember how our teacher would hand out different slips of colored paper and tell us all to stand on top of our chairs. Most of the class had yellow, pink, or green slips. A few had blue. Only one other kid had a red slip like mine. She explained that the yellow, pink and green slips demonstrated the different levels of poverty in which most people were living and told us that if our class was a small scale representation of the world everyone with one of these slips was living in an impoverished country. She asked those people to sit down. Over two thirds of my classmates quietly took their seats.

"Those people," my teacher told us "are the people that do not have clean water, safe food, or a house to live in. They don't have access to doctors and medicine when they're sick. They don't get to come to school like you do. They probably wont live as long as you will." She turned to the students holding blue strips. "Those of you that have blue papers are living in developed countries. You have safe houses, decent schools, some medical care, and a government that provides some benefits for you." With a nod from our teacher those children took their seats too.

Finally, she turned to look at me and the other girl that was still standing. "You two are from countries like America where you can have the best schooling available, be taken care of by the best doctors, and maintain a lifestyle that many people in the world could never dream of. You can own a car, new clothes, a big house, toys, and books. You have heating, indoor plumbing, and many other things that are considered luxuries to most of the world. The people like you amount to less than five percent of the world yet they own more than ninety percent of the worlds wealth." And that was when she looked me right in the eye and said "Don't you think we should share?"

Poverty is, and always will be, an issue of extreme importance but its devastating effects have been brought into the limelight recently by economical failures spanning our globe. It's common knowledge that both the American and the Canadian economy have not been doing well lately. People everywhere are in constant fear of losing their jobs, their homes, and their savings. It's terrifying to think about but the worst part of it is that it could all have been prevented. I truly believe that if it wasn't for the strong few who prey on the many that are weak we could have avoided a financial crisis like the one we're in now. If it wasn't for large corporations and billionaire CEO's that just can't have enough and choose to find ways to cut costs that deplete our markets, raise inflation, and leave so many jobless - without even a pension to get them by - maybe we might have been able to stop this from happening. If it wasn't for all the greed upon which our nation runs then maybe our unemployment rates wouldn't be so high and our citizens would be happier. If health care wasn't just another opportunity to make money, to cheat a patient out of something he needs in an effort to keep more money in the investors pockets, perhaps our country could enjoy the riches of being safe and healthy.

Just last night Crayon and I had a discussion over what we would both be doing to support ourselves financially and how that would affect where we live and when we get married. We talked about what kind of options we had with our careers and what choices we could make that would allow us to live comfortably - without the cloud of financial stress hanging over our heads. And it was then that I remembered standing up on that chair in school with all my classmates looking up at me and how I wondered if I was going to be one of the lucky few that didn't spend life worrying about whether or not I would be able to make rent or buy groceries that month. I didn't want to have to choose between three meals a day or college textbooks. I don't want to have to suffer through a career I despise for the sake of being able to fill up my gas tank every week. And most importantly I don't want Crayon to spend forty hours a week doing something he doesn't love just for money.

The amount of poverty that resides in our nation spreads far beyond our bank accounts and affects every aspect of our lives, from where our children attend school, to what kind of car we drive, to whether or not we can even afford to see the doctor once a year and unfortunately it's something that can't be fixed over night - but it can be fixed. So tonight, if you choose to watch the presidential debate, I urge you to do so not only with an open mind but with the welfare of those less fortunate than ourselves as your prime concern. Let us not elect a president who will, driven by greed, bring our country farther into debt and farther from accomplishing the goals that are important to the American people, but instead put in power a man who will start from the bottom helping those in the most dire of circumstances first and leave the corporate bailouts in the past where they belong. Let this election be a turning point for our society and a chance to eliminate poverty in every form.

*Blog Action Day 2008*
*Vote Obama 2008*


JCampbell said...

This is just another reason I love you honey. You have such a big heart!

Nikita said...

I am from India, a developing and not yet developed country. I really appreciate what you have written and most of us in India support Obama.