Here we sit again, with the nation with baited breath waiting for answers on the Obamacare rollout, NSA spying, Benghazi, and other battles on foreign soil – all while ignoring the growing poverty that has engulfed recession-torn America.
The theory from many establishment Democrats is that the changes to the American health care system due to Obamacare will aid the poor by providing much-needed services immediately. This, in theory, will make America stronger as a nation.
The theory from many establishment Republicans is that gaining the answers we seek from the American government concerning the terror attack in Benghazi in September 2012 will aid all Americans due to the heightened level of transparency and dedication to justice for those that threaten our compatriots, from the poor to the privileged. This, in theory, will make America stronger as a nation.
The same is true from both Tea Party conservatives and progressives. Turning the tide of status quo towards their perspectives will, in theory, will make America stronger as a nation.
All are talking about economic matters, freedom, safety, and furthering the American Dream. Yet, no one is directly speaking to America’s forgotten – the growing poor in this nation – again. As long as this continues, nothing that we can do in foreign policy matters, the health care sector, and political theory that will truly make America as strong as we should be.
With all of the talk of gerrymandering, political obstructionism, misleading campaign messaging, and under-investigated controversies, the focus of America’s leadership at key levels continues to sidestep the wealth of potential, talent, and moxie that resides in the depths of America’s poorest communities. The greatness of the American Dream for generations lay in our ability as a nation to raise up a generation of historic doctors, scientists, civil rights leaders, business innovators, and teachers from the seed of custodians, ditch-diggers, maids, railroad porters, and dishwashers. Through economic policies that fostered economic patriotism – investment in America with profitable endeavors for those ranging across our socioeconomic diversity – we built a nation that allowed poor White children to live in a place called Hope to enact childhood dreams, a nation that allowed abandoned children living with grandparents to earn the highest honors in academia and public life as adults.
Our continuing and shameful inability to maintain focus on the working class of America ferments into the stench of social upheaval, racial tensions, economic instability, and geopolitical descent that we experience currently. For those that believe this is a frightening reality for those in the middle and upper classes of America, it is a nightmare reality for the working and poor classes that are not engaged in polling exercises, sound-bite political rallies, and get-out-the-vote efforts on an ongoing basis. With one party taking the poor’s vote for granted while the other ignores “unobtainable voters” in a streamlined fashion regardless of the political dynamic (e.g., Democrats may get the poor in urban areas, but Republicans capture the poor vote in Middle America), an increasing amount of Americans have become mostly irrelevant 23 out of 24 months every two years. American politics has prompted politicians to target likely voters only. In the process, it has prompted politicians away from grasping the mantle of leadership for their communities inclusively – including and especially those without the financial means to play politics.
As a nation, we cannot continue to strain our working class as we continue fighting for freedom overseas (with the toil it takes on American families in doing so). We are moving through an economy where both American families and American governments (at the city, state, and federal levels) are running out of money while also dealing with social instability in our communities. These tides will turn back to uplifting our boats once we begin focusing on strengthening the working and poor classes of Americans primarily, not as an afterthought.
The fiscal policies and the political talk in Washington and throughout state capitols speak towards helping the American middle class without acknowledging that the working poor grows its numbers daily as an endangered socioeconomic species. Home ownership is not a goal with paying the rent on time is tough. Earning a good-paying job is not a goal when quality education and community job growth are not prevalent on the minds of politicians or in struggling neighborhoods. A vision for uplifting one’s self and bolstering the American Dream in one’s family stays hazy when all we see mostly are fights for precious few undecided voters in November, not for the most vulnerable Americans year-round.
At some point – perhaps as we move out of this scary season and into 2014 – the power moves and political positioning may finally focus on the destitute and truly strengthen our nation, not continue the high media optics within politics while continuing the low civic shame of disregarding them.
LENNY MCALLISTER ( @lennymcallister ) is an internationally-recognized political commentator and former congressional candidate that is regularly featured on several national and international outlets including Canada’s Sun News Network, Al Jazeera American, Radio New Zealand and Sirius-XM Radio. His daily podcast “Get Right with Lenny McAllister” can be found 12pm Eastern on www.LennyMcAllister.com. Catch Lenny’s “The McAllister Minute” regularly on The American Urban Radio Network.