Smoke from Billion$ Burning Blinds Us; Post-Election Survival Battle Threatens Millions

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The Human Suffering Caused by Stupidity

Anyone with half-a-brain knows that birth — three-years-old is the most critical time of a child’s development. The respected Zero to Three organization offers a plethora of proof. No matter. We don’t value early childhood enrichment because it’s too expensive.

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Anyone with the other-half-of-a-brain now bemoans the endless, brutal election which resulted in $14 billion being spent on ads, posters, bumperstickers and consultants. Evidently we “value” the barrage of lies, hatred and broken promises from armies of campaigners, and we’re willing to drop a cool $14 billion to show our loyalties.

Alas, the end of the election still escapes us, but what doesn’t escape us is the reality facing millions of families across the land — suffering children, parents/guardians. CoVid-19 tops the list of dire threats. Evictions, homelessness, hunger, lack of medical care, and more follows close behind. Bump up the suffering rating for those experiencing homelessness. Despite the scope of adversity, the political powers don’t seem to give a rat’s ass.

While getting my pre-(anticipated) lockdown haircut the other day, the scissors goddess (my respect for those who cut my hair soared after our last lockdown) shared that she spent seven months out of work because of the pandemic. She bemoaned the necessity of receiving government assistance. Lack of childcare kept her locked down with her kids.

Another mother I’ve known since my days running a homeless shelter, shared her long list of serious health issues. She is chronically ill and impoverished. Despite her woes, she soldiered on, but was halted by the relentless pandemic. Her food delivery gig died. She and her son headed back to TX from IL, hoping for cheaper housing and maybe medical care. She blames Illinois’ governor, Pritzker, for her woes.

It’s disingenuous to make the argument that we don’t have money for childcare, health care, affordable housing, and other essentials when we have money to waste, $14 billion, on hateful, divisive, deceptive political campaigns. More accurately, we lack political will.

But the average mom doing double and triple duty so her family can survive doesn’t give a rat’s ass about political maneuvering. So the deceitful pols get away with their shenanigans.

Assuming we will have a change of regimes in January, we have a chance for a seismic shift on every level. The special interest crowd are licking their chops and devising their strategies to get more government funding. Those not at the table — millions of people in poverty — will be eaten for lunch. Or at least their essential funding will be devoured.

My status as a national advocate, filmmaker, author not withstanding, I’d be surprised if the Biden team will contact me for my input on important issues. But here’s what I’d start with:

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  • Without significant bulking up of our nation’s child care system, families will continue to suffer immensely, and will slip closer to homelessness with each passing moment. Quality, safe childcare. Affordable. In quantities to meet the pent-up demand from the millions of parents, primarily mothers, who must work.

    It can happen. 400 child care spaces will open in the enlightened community of Eugene, OR. Community leaders recently announced a major increase in child care funding from a variety of sources. They recognize the need and payback of this investment.
  • Health care, a human need and right for adults and kids. Healthcare for all. Don’t say we can’t do it (remember that $14 billion we just wasted?). We must go beyond the paltry, expensive and ineffective health system we now endure, especially as we attempt to tackle COVID-19. Perhaps a better model is social medicine.

In contrast to conventional medicine, social medicine views social and economic conditions as key drivers of health or sickness. Using a social medicine lens to look at COVID-19, the diagnosis is of a syndemic. The prescribed treatment goes beyond simply addressing viral transmission to address social determinants of health. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

  • Educational access and supports for kids in dire circumstances, like the 1.5 million or more experiencing homelessness, and the millions of households struggling to hold their families together while home-schooling.

The Richmond, CA school district realized the old adage of catching more flies with honey. Instead of threatening parents with the dreaded “truancy” consequences, “the district has changed its tone. ‘Last year our truancy letters were very blame-y and sounded like we were collecting a bill,’ he [Marin Trujillo, West Contra school official] said. ‘Now the messaging is ‘we miss you, let us know if you need help.’” Not so blame-y. That’s enlightened!

Learn More About Poverty/Homelessness

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I’d be remiss not to mention that my new book, Dismazed and Driven — My Look at Family Homelessness in America, is now available. I’m pushing it, not for my sake. The proceeds support my nonprofit, HEAR US Inc. It’s for the millions of kids and their families experiencing homelessness. You’ll get a perspective seldom offered — looking at families’ situations from their perspective. Plus a bit of unconventional travel narrative from me.

Rev. Liz Theoharis, cochair of the stalwart Poor People’s Campaign, lays out the challenge to the incoming Biden administration:

The first 100 days of the Biden administration should then be focused, at least in part, on launching a historic investment in securing permanent protections for the poor, including expanded voting rights, universal healthcare, affordable housing, a living wage, and a guaranteed adequate annual income, not to speak of divestment from the war economy and a swift transition to a green economy.

I couldn’t agree more.

Now if someone would just hand me $14 billion, I’ll see what I can get for that chunk of change. I’m sure I can do better than our campaign squanders.

Founder/pres. HEAR US Inc., gives voice & visibility to homeless families & youth, ran shelters, advocate, filmmaker, author, 15 yrs. on US backroads.

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