I was sitting in a coffee shop today grading papers and watching people on my breaks. At one point a man came in and it was obvious he was cold and did not have much money. He bought a coffee and sat down at a table with his sandwich he had bought next door at the sub shop. A young couple say down next to him and he began to speak to them. I had my headphones on so I did not hear the details but after about 2 minutes, the couple politely excused themselves and left the shop. The man finished his coffee and walked back outside. He was a “streetwalker”. He was one of the people that holds the signs on the side of the street what read “clearance” or “going out of business”. The catch was that today is was 17 degrees and snowing. He came back in about an hour later and bought another cup of coffee (with all change) and warmed himself a bit before returning the elements.
I am not a bleeding heart liberal by any means and people that hard work and effort are what it takes to get ahead BUT there is something very wrong when we have shelters overflowing and millions of people who cannot afford health insurance and live below the poverty level. It is easy to talk of these things when we sit in our warm homes with plenty to eat and gainful employment but it is quite a different thing when you see it firsthand. I love our country and it is this love that leads me to say we need to do things differently. Love does not mean blind support…love means telling the truth and the truth is we need to reach out to those below and help them. I am not saying we need to become a welfare state, I am saying we (the people) need to be the change we want to see. Politicians are the not answer, we are. If we want something different, we can make it happen. We need to stop listening to the extremists (on both sides) who are full of nothing but hate and self-loathing. I agree with Bill Clinton when he said. ” There is nothing wrong with America, that cannot be fixed by what is right with America.”