Promoting social justice

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 3:41 p.m.
Due to circumstances far beyond their control, the poor have become the new "lepers" of our society.
We refuse to admit that it is almost impossible to get out of poverty working a minimum wage job. We will not admit that our system is planned, calculated and supported by the government to keep people poor. We try to ignore the fact that there are millions of children who go to bed hungry each night in this country. There is a continuation of the transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the upper class. The richest 17 percent now own 80 percent of the wealth, while the rest of us are left scrambling for the scraps.
The current budget proposed by the Bush Administration cuts $202 billion from Medicaid and Medicare over the next five years. There is a proposed $159 million cut in substance abuse and mental health counseling funding. One million people will lose their assistance to pay for basic utilities under the proposed cuts to the Low Income Energy Assistance program. Three hundred thousand working people will lose their food subsidies, along with 450,000 more elderly people and 50,000 low income pregnant mothers-to-be.
It is a shame that over two-thirds of the people receiving food subsidies are already working. Just to make ends meet, even middle-class people find themselves working two jobs and going into massive debt, while hardly finding quality time to spend with their children. On any given night in the U.S., 9 million children and 3 million seniors will go to bed hungry.
There is also a new phenomenon emerging in the elderly community; older people are now being forced to become homeless simply so they can afford their food and medicine. Too many are having to choose between paying their rent and keeping the lights and water bills paid, and being able to afford their food and prescriptions. Is this any way for people who have worked so hard for most of their lives to live out their twilight years?
Governments at all levels are turning a blind eye towards the problem. By and large, national, state, and local government support the interests of the corporate/military industrial complex and the few who profit from it. Are we as people, who have entered into a covenant with God, keeping up our end of the bargain by seeking justice for poor people? Are we being true to the founding principles of our country?
"We the people" need to take back our government from those who have stolen our birthright. We need to ask the hard questions and do the organizing to take back the wealth which was meant to be shared by all.
If elected to the Gainesville City Commission, I will donate half my salary to charities and organizations who promote social justice. My main emphasis will be to work for justice for the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the neglected and the forgotten of our society. Make sure to vote on March 6th.
Pat Fitzpatrick is a candidate for the Gainesville City Commission District 4 seat.

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