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January 23rd, 2013

Poverty must be addressed if things are going to change

Lillie Howard

Will this madness ever change? President Obama’s ideas about guns and criminals makes it seem like he just doesn’t get it. Violence begets violence, and as long as there is racism there will be violence. Why are drugs allowed to exist in our country, especially in African American communities? That’s violent! Why are the problems that lead one to get involved with drugs not seriously addressed? That’s violent and violence begets violence.

This information in "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander is very revealing:

"Obama’s stated positions on criminal justice reform suggest that he is opposed to the War on Drugs and the systematic targeting of African Americans for mass incarceration. Shouldn’t we trust him, now that he is holding the reins of power, to do the right thing? Trust is tempting, especially because Obama himself violated our nation’s drug laws, and almost certainly knows that his life would not have unfolded as it did if he had been arrested on drug charges and treated like a common criminal. As he wrote in his memoir about his wayward youth, ‘Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.’ Unlike Bill Clinton, who famously admitted he experimented with marijuana on occasion ‘but didn’t inhale,’ Obama has never minimized his illegal drug use. As he said in a 2006 speech to the American Society of Magazine Editors, ‘Look, you know, when I was a kid, I inhaled. Frequently. That was the point.’ Those bad decisions, Obama has acknowledged, could have led him to a personal dead end. ‘Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d have been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.’ No doubt if Obama had been arrested and treated like a common criminal, he could have served years in prison and been labeled a drug felon for life. What are the chances he would have gone to Harvard Law School, much less become president of the United States, if that had happened? It seems reasonable to assume that Obama, who knows a little something about poverty and the temptation of drugs, would have a ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ attitude about the millions of African and Latino men imprisoned for drug offenses comparable to his own or saddled for life with felony records."

The bottom line is that nothing will change until this country starts seriously addressing the real causative factors of crime. Where are the programs that can seriously address these problems? Quite a lot of money was sent into this community to address the gang problem but there were no serious programs developed. Why not? A lot of people are making money off all the poverty in this community. Drugs lead to broken families, which leads to children being raised in foster homes where deep feelings of abandonment, betrayal, and loneliness make them susceptible to turning to drugs and possible crime. That’s violent and violence begets violence.

Let me end this with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "God never intended one people to live in superfluous and inordinate wealth, while others know only deadening poverty. God wants all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe "enough and to spare" for that purpose. Unemployment is a form of brutality, especially violent for those who live in poverty."

It’s time for this nation to rise up and seriously address poverty. This is Lillie’s Point of View!

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