I would like to pose the following question – How bad do things have to get before we collectively embrace the necessity for change? Whether we examine the human condition locally or broaden our view to encompass a more global view, we are, undoubtedly, a troubled species.
Within the boundaries of the United States, we are faced with some very daunting realities. I will attempt to enumerate some of them –
- One out of every four children currently lives in poverty
- 1.4 million Residents of New York City depend on food banks and soup-kitchens (some 1200 exist in the city) for their nutritional sustenance. Thirty-seven thousand New Yorkers live in homeless shelters
- Over eighty thousand are reported homeless in the city of Los Angeles
- 46.3 million Americans (15.4%) as of 2009 do not have health insurance as reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- There are 13.9 million (9.1%) individuals unemployed as of 2010. This number does not include those who are under-employed or have stopped looking for work
- The data regarding the severity of summer temperatures, violent storms and unusual weather conditions continue to show strong correlations with the unabated increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
This list is a relatively small one with a somewhat narrow focus. All these conditions continue to worsen while public monies flow unabated from those with little resources to the wealthy; the income gap continues to worsen. In spite of these data, many politicians are calling for simultaneous cuts in taxes - benefiting those who already have nearly everything - and a further degradation in public services including widely-used services such as Medicare. These same voices would like to unravel the remaining remnants of public programs that benefit the many, including Social Security.
How bad do things have to get before we collectively embrace the necessity for change? How much needless suffering is required before we begin to more equitably utilize all the resources available to us as a very wealthy nation?