Is this a case of the poor caught in the crossfire between political parties? (And should Vincentian folk care?)

Seems that the Heritage Foundation claims that “many of the 30 million Americans defined as ‘poor’ and in need of government assistance” are actually doing very nicely, thank you.

Others counter that this figure is based on a rather primitive and woefully outdated measure, i.e., the inflation-adjusted cost of what used to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cheapest meal plan.

To those we serve such statistical battles do nothing to help them deal with the painful choices of food or medication, etc.

Perhaps we can avoid the dueling statistics and be the “Voice of the Poor” whether they “Nouveaux” or “Generational”. So many in the Vincentian Family touch real people every day rather than dry numbers. We have to tell the stories of the people we serve.

Fortunately the Vincentian Family is doing just that as it moves to build on its many programs of direct service and supplement  them by lobbying for those who have no paid lobbyists in the halls of government.

Regular readers of famvin know well the many courageous stands taken by the Vincent dePaul Society in Australia and the US Voice of the Poor.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society  seems to have imbibed deeply of the spirit of their founder Frederic Ozanam who wrote in 1838,

“The question which divides men in our day is no longer a question of political forms, it is a social question—that of deciding whether the spirit of egotism or the spirit of sacrifice is to carry the day; whether society is to be a huge traffic for the benefit of the strongest, or the consecration of each for the benefit of all, and above all for the protection of the weak.

“There are many who already have too much, and who wish to possess still more; there are a greater number who have not enough, and who want to seize it if it is not given to them.

“Between these two classes of men a struggle is imminent, and it threatens to be terrible—on one side the power of gold, on the other the power of despair. It is between these two opposing armies that we must precipitate ourselves.” [The Social Justice Vision of Frederic Ozanam (note 3]

Think about…

  • How can we promote the spirit of sacrifice which Frederic called for in times that were in many ways not different than our own?
  • Do we pay attention to our organizations  and support members who try to raise consciousness to the systemic issues behind the statistics?
What have you found most helpful in moving beyond a numbers fight to real solutions that address underlying causes. Click on the “Comment” button and let us know.

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