Thursday, August 28, 2008


Oh how I love politics. I know, it is a touchy subject. Maybe that is why I talk about it...or maybe it is because I feel very passionate about certain things...something to think about I guess.

Either way, we have been watching the Democratic Convention. Some of it I really like....some of it just makes me laugh. I did enjoy Michelle Obama's speech and the video that was played before she spoke. I like she was a "south side" girl that pulled herself up from her bootstraps. I do however, have a criticism. Although Michelle grew up in a rougher neighborhood (I am only assuming because I have never been to the south side of Chicago) and I am sure her family struggled to pay a bill or two - I am 100% positive that she had two advantages over all of my clients! Here is what they are - ONE: She had two parents, who stayed together. She did not have to wonder who her daddy was and she was not raised by her grandparents or neighbors or foster parents or the teen aged girl who lives next door! TWO: She had a mother who stayed home to be a MOM, not to run the streets or do drugs or to drink all day & (here is the biggest point) her Father got up everyday and went to work - he did not rely on the system (even when he was sick) but instead went to work. You see...Michelle Obama grew up instilled with those wholesome middle class values that the majority of us grew up with! That is how she is different than those families who are truly at the bottom. I don't know how to change the cycle. I have been thinking about it so much. Many of my clients are in their early twenties and I see they are really just a product of their environment - they are doing exactly what they grew up seeing. It is starting to get on my nerves to hear people say stuff about "people taking advantage of the system". That is one of the most JUDGEMENTAL things I have ever heard. I am not innocent...I've said it a few times myself. But as I have gotten to know these families I am learning that I didn't have a complete story - there were big chapters left out. I mentioned before I went to a training about poverty when I first started this job (Bridges Out of Poverty). It was so informational. There are a couple of books about this subject - if you have any interest in changing things then I highly suggest them. Anyhoo....back to what I was getting at - before you judge someone think about this - you don't know what any person has been through and how they were raised. A person may look perfectly capable of working and physically they may be but what about socially or can they even read? Several of my clients can read a little but probably not much past a 5th grade level. At that training they explained that most people develop a base vocabulary by the age of two - words that are used everyday. I don't remember exactly how many it was but there was a significant difference between the middle class number and the poverty level number. This is something that is very difficult to develop when a person is older. Therefore, many people who grew up in poverty don't even have the same vocabulary as someone like you and me. When I worked at Safe Landing I remember the girls always said I used big words! I always thought that was silly. Now it makes sense. Man, I could just rant and rave and rant about this. I do think there are people out there who take what they can get. And I think there are people who take it for granted. But the "system" doesn't give and give and give. More than one of my clients has to go down to the Job Center like they are going to a full time job in order to continue receiving their benefits. I've seen how much they earn - it isn't even equivalent to a full-time minimum wage job. Plus they have to find childcare because it is not provided. And their housing....don't even get me started on that - how would you like to live in a building that is FULL of cockroaches? I have seen it - in fact just yesterday - roaches crawling all over the walls! The landlord told them they exterminate twice a year and that is enough...obviously not! This is not just a family or is entire neighborhoods full of people and children.

Well, I certainly got off my topic. I didn't even get to talk about Hillary or Bill. I will say this - I don't think you have to be the President of the United States to make a difference. So, on that note - I can't save the world sitting here at this computer so.....gotta go!

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