Fighting a Never Ending War: The War on Poverty 50 Years and Counting

The war on poverty is a clash of ideologies that persist through debates and elections. Elected, political, fiscal and public will to continue the war has waned long ago. Partisanism is reframing the debate and reshaping the context of the war. In 1964, just a few weeks after the death of President John Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched “an unconditional” war on poverty. He believed the real remedy was not to just end poverty but prevent it as well.

Today, we face a much different reality. There seems to be a lack of political will to “attack” poverty and prevent it from defining, as reported by the Huffington Post, over 50 million Americans. The urgency in the legislative acts of the  Johnson administration began a journey that continues to continue. How do we end poverty and then prevent it from reoccuring in the lives of over 50 million  Americans?

It is time for a nonpartisan approach to poverty that does not end with an administration but begins in the hearts and legislative acts of all elected officials.  There must be a dual approach to finding the best practice to save taxpayer hard earned money while at the same time, exercising diligence in meeting the needs of the most frail and least likely to make ends meet. Textless and baseless debates over whether or not to lend a hand to one who has fallen and struggles to get up, needs to rest within the context of an undeniable infallible truth written long ago.

Without debate there is a moral obligation to care for the poor. It has been a stalwart practice of mankind since his creation. So much so, that in Deuteronomy 15:11, inscribed into the pages and into the mandate for living, was a forewarning that  the poor would always be with us. The challenge it presents to all of us is how can those of us with bread deny him that has none. How can those of us who have been blessed with plenty not consider him that has very little or nothing.

It is said that if it is within our power to do good to another, we are to do just that. The good we can do also includes public policy matters that move beyond name calling and into legislative might that really makes an economic difference in the lives of those who need it now and in the future.