I ask myself, “Why is this happening?”
No, it is not the good news that the unemployment rate dropped to lowest level in six years, 6.3 percent, with the addition of 288,000 jobs.
No, it is not the Dow Jones Industrials record closing on May 1 with the Standard and Poors upward movement.
No, it is not the influx of new orders for U.S. factory goods, nor is it that 8 million-plus Americans (and rising) who have enrolled in the Affordable Health Care Act. Gallup polling reports that Medicaid also saw a surge in enrollment as 27 states expanded the program. Total enrollments are over 17 million.
And the obstructionist extreme right wing and Fox News’ answer to all of this encouraging news is: “Benghazi.” They fail to mention the 1983 terrorist truck bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon that killed 241 American soldiers and wounded 60 other Americans. Nor does the GOP mention the 13 times our embassies and consulates were attacked during the George W. Bush administration.
But I digress, so I direct your attention to the 45 million Americans who go hungry each day. That’s 45 million out of 317 million of us and I asked myself,” Why is this happening?”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, also reports that of that number 16 million are children.
That’s unacceptable. This not who we are, not in the most powerful nation on this planet.
Between 2000 and 2012, the number of people in poverty increased from 12.2 percent to 15.9 percent with Missouri ranking 25th with a rating of 11.6 percent. That’s 659,000 citizens. In Jackson County, that number has risen to 18.7 percent, or 124,000 citizens.
The irony is that 30.3 percent of Missouri citizens are obese, placing the state as number 11 on the “most obese states” list. How maudlin is that? To be poor and obese at the same time – and without food stamps and maybe homeless, and worst of all, without hope.
So what’s the solution? First, drop the ideological mantra. As the right and left stand face to face, they ignore America tugging at their coats begging for attention, for more jobs, an increase in the minimum wage, and restoring a livable food stamp program.
I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.