I finished my year of service back in August. I haven’t been able to write anything adequate to sum up what my year of service meant to me. I thought I would be able to to after our reunion/re-entry retreat at the end of September, but I haven’t been able to. It is one of those experiences that will always be with me. It has shaped me in ways of which I’ll never know the extent.
So here is what I know. I know that there is poverty in America that should never be ignored. I know that the majority of people in the United States, including myself until I did my year of service, are uneducated about the problems facing immigrants, minorities, the disabled, and other disenfranchised groups.
In our current presidential election, poverty is being ignored on both sides. In the most recent debate, did anyone hear anything said about the poor? Not one word?
Here is what I wish for myself and my fellow volunteers who finished their year of service and have returned or have decided to do a second year of service. I wish that you use your intelligence, your drive, your information about what it really means to experience poverty and show the world what needs to be done about the real problems facing America. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney debated the other night and did either one mention the problems of poverty in America? No, they didn’t. Because impoverished people don’t vote. Impoverished people don’t watch debates. Impoverished people are too busy working three minimum waged jobs to try and pay the rent and utilities on their house that is falling apart because they can’t afford someone to come balance the foundation. What we need in this country is the people who have the power, white, upper-middle class women (or men) like me to stand up and fight for the impoverished who may not be able to stand up for themselves and be heard.
Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat? A Socialist or a Libertarian? Whether you know what the terms “conservative” and “liberal” mean or not? Get informed. The only way you can know the difference between the rhetoric (excuse my language) bullshit and the truth is if you look for it yourself. Do you know about Simpson-Bowles? Do you know about Dodd-Frank? Do you know about the Affordable Care Act? Do you know about Social Security? Do you know about the DREAM Act? Do you know about Medicare and Medicaid? If you don’t, there are millions of web pages and newspapers that will tell you about them and it only takes a minute of your time.
Do you have a minute to change the future of the United States of America?
You’re answer should be, “Yes.” Then, take that minute and sharpen up on one issue. Vote for the candidate who represents what you believe on that issue the most. That makes you an informed voter. And I believe that informed voters can change the world.