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A Question for November 8th

Posted by Dave Griffith on July 5, 2016 at 5:35 PM

This month both of the major political parties will nominate their candidate for President of the United States. If all goes as indicated we will have our first woman nominee and we will have our first candidate of the modern era to never of held public office or significant military service prior to running.

This is not a commentary on the quality of candidates or how we got here as a country. Nor do I want to offer an opinion of either nominee in my capacity as Executive Director of ECS. Rather I want them to answer a straight forward, uncomfortable question. The question is are they prepared to deal with issue of poverty in America and deal with all of the associated issues regardless of how politically unattractive and charged the real issues are here? I really don’t care about email servers and walls with Mexico.

In 1960 poverty in America was roughly 15% of population, today and billions of dollars later, it remains 15%. Arguably the wealthiest nation on earth, the strongest military in the world, home of the best and brightest educational system in the world, in 56 years we have only maintained the percent and in real terms the population in poverty has soared. One could argue that the funds we spend maintain the status quo, save lives, but in reality do little to change lives.

If left unchecked poverty will consume us as a society. At ECS we believe that poverty is impacted, and an individual’s life changed with what many of us take for granted; housing, education, employment, wellness, a level financial field and the associated equal access to opportunity.

My question to the candidates is this. What is going to change? Are we going to continue to spend billions to maintain individuals and families in poverty or are we going to after 56 years consider a different approach? One based on data driven innovation, partnership rather than competition between agencies and the government, realistic budgets, and the linkage between best practices and public policy with respect to employment. Are we prepared to talk about race, diversity, and equal access to opportunity and have some uncomfortable conversations? I am not calling for income redistribution, far from it, but rather taking the billions we spend and taking a different approach that not only maintain lives, but gives individuals the opportunity to change their life. We need to think about radical change and we need leadership willing to take the risk to start the conversation and do more than talk.

How about a bipartisan issue that matters? We can’t talk about one America without listening to all Americans. I will vote for a leader that is willing to have the uncomfortable conversations and lead. The current status is simply unacceptable and unsustainable.

November 8st is not that far away. How about we all ask what is going to change and hold our leadership accountable?

All our leadership.



Categories: ECS Outreach, Muddy Boots, Griffith Thoughts

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1 Comment

Reply Doris Rajagopal
8:31 PM on July 7, 2016 
Well said! We have almost come to accept poverty as an unmutable fact of our reality. The truth is tthat with equal opportunity to high quality education, housing, healthcare and employment we can make a difference.