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Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Poor and the Lack of Access To Justice

(Ryan Messmore. "Justice, Inequality, and the Poor."
The Heritage Foundation. December 19, 2011.) 

"How, then, can we foster a national conversation focused more directly on helping those in need rather than on income inequality? One place to start is by making sure we talk about others as fellow citizens or neighbors, rather than as targets of envy or victims of greed. We should care about the condition of the poor because we want our fellow citizens to thrive, not because we resent those who have done especially well for themselves.

"We should be moved by compassion, not bitterness; we should want to help the poor make something of the great benefits and advantages of our free society, rather than to limit the ability of the wealthy to do so. Reframing the debate about poverty can help us shift moral attention back where it belongs: to changing conditions that hinder economic mobility and to helping all citizens — especially the poor — improve their lives.

"Changing the focus of the conversation is the responsibility of leaders in civil society and government alike. This debate touches our core sense of what justice and human equality are all about, and those intuitions are formed by parents, teachers, and other moral leaders. Religious leaders especially have the opportunity to shape public notions of justice, human dignity, envy, compassion, and mutual responsibility."

In hopes that this food for thought encourages all of us to value justice for the poor, I present these findings. In Scioto County, where positive opportunities for poor people are scarce and empathy for social programs is even scarcer, we owe much more human kindness to those less fortunate.

Whether the environment, the genes, or the lack of resources produces poverty, we must help those who suffer break their hell of deprivation. We must be willing to give, not just to judge. At the core of that assistance is helping to instill feelings in all people that they have equal justice and equal worth. The poor in Scioto County see themselves as voiceless victims of strong political cronyism and deep inequality. The writing is on the wall for all to see.  

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