Archive for the 'socety' Category

12
Aug
14

Riots are NEVER a good thing

A few blocks from where I once worked selling cars in Ferguson, Missouri, a young man was shot and killed by a policeman which in turn has triggered ongoing and increasingly violent riots in the whole St. Louis area. Demonstrations are perfectly legal and entirely understandable but rioting, stealing, looting and destroying property is NOT.

It is interesting that the things going on in my area are the very things brought up and prohibited in the New Testament. Obviously the idea of people using a situation to justify rioting is not a modern phenomenon for it has been a part of cultures for thousands of years.

We need look no further than the mob action relating to the apprehension, “trial” and sentencing of Jesus to see that when leaders (especially religious leaders) stir up the people into a frenzy, the results are predictable and unpleasant. Is it not possible that the reason Pilate gave into the demands of the people to crucify Jesus was his fear that if he did not, the people would break through the Romans guards and crucify him?

On more than one occasion, the Apostle Paul was caught in public riots that nearly cost him his life. In Acts 19, while Paul was at Ephesus, people upset with losing money making idols of the goddess Diana, caused a riot that would have killed Paul if the disciples had not restrained him and safely took him away from the upheaval. An excellent definition of a mob is recorded in Acts 19:32 where it says:

Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused: and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

Most people who participate in a riot have no clue why they are rioting. The confusion of the situation leads to lack of communication which in turn leads to clamor and mass destruction. While in Jerusalem, Paul went to the temple to purify himself in Acts 21. What happened next defines a riot and almost claimed Paul’s life:

26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

29 (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)

30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.

31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.

32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.

33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.

34 And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle.

35 And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.

Acts 21:26-35

Mob action is dangerous and many times leads to a full blown riot. A riot is a violent disturbance where angry and out of control people damage property and physically injure others. Rioting, reveling, clamoring etc are specifically forbidden numerous places in both Paul’s and Peter’s epistles. God’s people should NEVER be lured into a riot or mob action. There is absolutely no justification for anyone claiming to know and love God to participate, incite or take pleasure in anything resembling a riot.

My heart aches for what is happening in the St. Louis area for innocent and gullible people are being lured into doing things both illegal and dangerous. I pray that calmer heads prevail and the vultures descending on the area from other states fail in their attempts to incite the people to even more dangerous and damaging actions.

06
Oct
08

Millions Suffer while Smiley celebrates and “the Boss” serenades Obama’s Nation

Finally, after a wait which seemed to take forever, the Associated Press released a couple of articles this weekend dealing with the missing people from Hurricane Ike and the environmental damage caused by hurricane damaged oil platforms, pipelines and storage tanks. What has been the response? Well, if silence speaks volumes, then we have our answer.

Americans cannot be bothered right now about mundane and trivial things such as hurricane Ike related issues. Not with the Stock Market poised to drop by a million this morning. After being mesmerized by many days of drama in Washington over the Bailout Bill, everyone thought all would be well after the House voted Friday afternoon to approve the measure. Immediately after the vote, the Stock Market plunged.

This is what it is coming down to in America. Far more people are concerned about Cubs and Brewers got knocked out of baseball playoffs than the fate of hundreds (if not thousands) of missing fellow Americans in Texas and Louisiana. While millions upon millions of fanatic football fans were glued to their television sets Saturday and Sunday, thousands of people waited for someone to help them figure out where to start in the recovery process. While just about everyone was burning up the phone lines complaining to someone about the financial mess, hardly anyone even remembers there were back to back hurricanes less than a month ago.

No one knows what this month holds, but being an election year, there is a 100% certainty of some “October surprise”. Even now, the campaign has turned negative with the inevitable name calling and dredging up dirt on each other. Like a long running soap opera, millions of people stay glued to their news outlet waiting for the next installment of “As the Campaign Turns”. This would be humorous except for all the horrible things going on in the REAL WORLD.

So what if “Hannah Montana” turned 16 this weekend. So what if “Brittney” is going back to her old ways. So what if Bruce can play his guitar and through his influence persuade thousands of people to vote for Obama. So what if Saturday Night Live does a good parody on the VP debates. None of these things are news. All these stories do is feed the monster of the fantasy world most people live in.

Americans better wake up and realize what is happening right under their noses. The government, which is set to grow far bigger than anyone ever imagined, is taking control over things that not even the most brazen conspiracy theory backer thought possible this quickly. Once Sen. Obama is elected (and that is foregone conclusion), the nationalization of health care, insurance, education and welfare will soon follow. Anyone caught badmouthing minorities, gays and lesbians, Muslims or the government will pay dearly for their folly.

The Bible speaks in 2 Timothy 3 that the last days will be “perilous”. If the current days do not meet that criteria I don’t know what would. In the following verses in 2 Timothy 3, specific things are stated which define “perilous”. The first thing mentioned is that people will be lovers of themselves more than lovers of God. Our selfish, “me” driven mentality has produced the crisis in the financial sector as well as housing, employment and even disaster recovery.

Until and unless Americans yank their collective heads out of the dark place and rise up and do two things, the circumstances we are surrounded by will only get worse. The two things we all must strive to do are:

1. Let our voice (vote) be heard. Do not sit back and allow the vocal minority to say they reflect the views of the silent majority. Speak up, stand up and let your opinion be known.

2. Exercise the old axiom of when the pressure is on—GIVE. If Americans continue to shut down their spending it causes businesses to fail. When Americans shut down their charitable giving, lives will be lost and undo suffering will abound.

We must not allow the current economic situation to persuade us that we cannot afford to speak up or give. To the contrary, we must use the current situation as a springboard to bolder speech and more audacious giving. While the world says “you cannot afford to give”; God says “try and out give ME”. Please, on behalf of millions of suffering people, I beg of you to find new and innovative ways to give of your time, resources and means. Thank You.

22
Sep
08

Is America Still Able and Willing to Help Those Devastated By Storms?

America, the land of the free and home of the brave, is on the verge of falling from its perch it has prominently sat upon for well over 200 years.  That which has kept America strong and prosperous through World Wars, terrorism and economic upheaval has been the overwhelming generosity in the hearts of Americans to reach out to those in desperate need domestically as well as overseas.  The consistent giving to help others has allowed Almighty God to prosper and bless America and those honored to be called its citizens.

Americans have always been willing to “give the shirt off their own backs” if their neighbor genuinely needed it.  Americans have raced to disasters to offer assistance no matter where on earth they have occurred.  Americans have given millions upon millions of dollars in aid to help those deprived of the necessities of life wherever they live in this world.  Americans have generously supported charities and the work they do for the disadvantaged.  Americans have opened their checkbooks time and again to help, restore and rebuild communities and neighborhoods devastated by natural disasters.

Americans have rushed to the Red Cross when they hear the blood supply is low.  Americans have given millions of dollars every year to the Salvation Army and their holiday season red kettles.  Americans have supported research into finding cures for diseases once thought incurable.  Americans have faithfully shared of their tithes and offerings to support not only their local church, but the social services many of them provide to their communities.  Americans have always been ready, willing and able to help the guy on the street who hasn’t a dime to his name.

Americans have always been willing to give, even if no one knew they did it.  Americans have seen needs and sought to supply them, seen hurt and sought to heal, seen pain and sought to comfort, seen suffering and sought to relieve it.  Americans have always had what amounted to a ministry of mercy when it came to putting the welfare of others ahead of their own.  Americans have always been the leaders in compassionate care for those who have suffered loss.

America used to take great pride in its ability and willingness to share of its resources regardless of whether they were appreciated or even asked for.  America used stand alone at times in its compassionate response to starvation, torture and genocide in the world.  America used to shine as a beacon of light, providing a refuge for those who barely survived elsewhere in the world.  America used to be the land everyone wished to immigrate to and it was immigrants who made America who she is.

God has truly blessed America.  This country has never been invaded by a foreign nation.  This country has never suffered a truly catastrophic natural disaster which would render the entire nation crippled.  This country has always enjoyed freedom to speak and serve God as one sees fit.  This country has always encouraged its citizens to go and serve wherever and however they felt God wanted them to.  Except for wartime, this country has not forced its young men to serve in the military and has not demanded a certain number of years of service to be a citizen.

America has a problem.  For many reasons she has cut back on her giving.  This is not a good thing for the country or its inhabitants.  For America to stay strong and be the leader she has always been, Americans must never forsake the willingness to give to those who are in need.   I beg you, America, please do not quit doing what made you who you are.  It was not your intellect or brawn which brought about your rise to glory, it was your humility and compassionate giving which enabled God to make you great.

Too many times recently, resources that once were designated for those in need have been diverted to meet the needs of the givers.  Too many times excuses have been offered instead of offerings when needs have been made known.  Too many times personal lack has been magnified at the expense of looking at what could be given without incurring hardship.  Too many times the attitude of “I can’t” has replaced the previous “can do” attitude which previously opened doors when none were there.

I fear people have allowed the economic negatives which bombard them daily to influence their decisions to give.  A “hunker down” mentality appears to be what is needed in difficult times, but in reality the old cliché of “when the pressure is on—give” would be a far better one to live by.  When people stop giving they clam up and cease to be of any benefit to others.  Cessation of giving spells doom for any person or group.  Giving is the lifeline to receiving God’s abundant promises of blessings.

I have heard recently from numerous groups encompassing the whole spectrum of care-giving that donations are way down.  Food pantries have had to close their doors and facilities that disperse not only food but other vital necessities of life have had to go on “hiatus”.  Due to economic problems, faithful donors have cut back or even ceased giving.  However understandable this is, it leads to a cessation of services among organizations essential to many communities.

I pray that as we see the suffering of so many on our television screens; that we remember what charity is all about.  Charity is simply the Love of God in manifestation.  Charity is loving thy neighbor as thyself.  Charity is doing unto others as you want done unto you.  Charity is faith in action.  Charity is actively working to help another by giving of yourself and your resources.  Charity is reaching out to help another, realizing their need is far greater than your own.

The true heart of America will always be found in its benevolent giving and sharing of resources.  Please, America, don’t give up on those who need you.  Not now, not ever.  Keep opening your heart, your home and your wallet to help those who need what you have to share far more than you.  Please remember that disasters usually bring a time of sharing and giving more than any other time.  I ask you to please remember those in need and reach out in some way to help those who have been devastated by life’s storms.

17
Sep
08

Louisiana–The Forgotten Battleground of Gustov and Ike (Rita too)

AMERICA—The call has gone forth and has not being heeded.

AMERICA—The needs are far greater than anyone knows.

AMERICA—Are you going to step up and meet the needs.

AMERICA—Your brothers and sisters await you.

While the vast majority of Americans are either pre-occupied with the daily financial market soap opera installment or spend all their time wondering what their favorite candidate said or didn’t say today; deep in our country’s hurricane ravaged South, the pain is deep and the need is greater. A story which should be at the top of the news has, amazingly almost dropped out of sight in the media.

On Labor day, Hurricane Gustov slammed into the central Louisiana coast as a strong category 3 hurricane. While all the eyes of the nation were glued to see whether New Orleans would survive; nary a soul was watching to see what Gustov actually did. As constant images of flood walls being overtopped by a little water filled our television screen, those gathered in Minnesota for the start of the Republican National Convention were holding a telethon to raise money for Gustov victims.

Amazingly, the next day Gustov was ancient history except for a few stories of evacuees scattered all over the Southern states. There was no media coverage of the damage caused by Gustov outside of New Orleans. By Wednesday of that week, there was no longer any coverage of the event whatsoever as all media attention was switched to the speech by Gov. Palin at the Convention.

As soon as the Convention ended, tropical storm/hurricane Hanna came to life and threatened Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina. Even while Hanna was toying with becoming a major storm, hurricane Ike exploded in the Bahamas into a giant hurricane. By the time Hanna had come and gone, Ike was quickly becoming the major story as it first destroyed Cuba and then set his sights on various places along the Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, during this period of time, an absolutely incredible thing was taking place. Deep in the very heart of Louisiana, Hurricane Gustov victims were by and large being totally neglected and forgotten. Unlike every other major hurricane to strike this country, there was no media coverage, no racing to the scene by various charities and very little help from even government agencies. It was as if no one cared about what had happened because of the people involved.

Who lives in this area of Louisiana anyway? What do they do down there? Why should I care about some God forsaken, mosquito infested backwater chunk of real estate in one of the strangest states in the country? These were the questions America asked after Gustov, instead of those which should have been asked.

Should it really matter where disaster strikes in this country? Should it really matter whether those impacted are rich or poor, white or black of English origin or Cajuns? Should it really matter if the area which is devastated is lush farmland or a swamp? Should it really matter what state the disaster is in?

Hurricane Rita ravaged this area three years ago. No one knew and no one cared. One ministry out of Lafayette tried to provide food and supplies to people scattered from Cameron Parish to New Iberia. That is until their resources ran out 9 months after Rita hit. There was never any Red Cross or Salvation Army presence. FEMA came and moved in and quickly moved out to handle Katrina related matters. While these tattered and torn people had no one helping them, those in New Orleans and Mississippi were being flooded with supplies and volunteers.

Does lightning strike twice? You bet, especially when those who have little to begin with are affected. Those people scattered in south central Louisiana were devastated by Rita in 2005 with little or no outside help to repair and rebuild. This same area, but now including Baton Rouge and Lafayette had to deal with the full fury of hurricane Gustov. Lest we forget, Gustov was a stronger hurricane than Ike. Less than two weeks after Gustov, this same area was swamped by hurricane Ike.

What is it like to live in an area no one knows about or cares anything about? It breeds self reliance and extreme bitterness. Those who live in these areas are highly skeptical of anyone claiming they want to help. They have been neglected and forgotten about countless times. Why should they believe this time is any different?

Last week, the day before Ike hit; a retire medical doctor from Gulfport, MS who goes only by “Doc” braved the rising waters and took some much needed food to these people in south central Louisiana. Just barely beating the rising storm surge from Ike leaving, he was awed by what he saw. This says a lot because Doc has been rounding up food and other supplies for Katrina victims since the day after Katrina hit.

Yesterday Carolyn Thompson from Tri Coastal Community Outreach in Grand Bay, Alabama returned with Doc to Louisiana to drop off more supplies. Fighting knee deep water, the devastation they found is beyond description. Yet, America does not know and could really care less about what is going on in New Iberia, Louisiana. See, America is too busy raising money to elect another worthless President. America is too busy crying over drops in the Stock Market. America is too busy trying to help those in Houston and Galveston to worry about Louisiana.

Please America, though they may not be many and they are certainly not mighty or influential; our fellow citizens in Louisiana desperately need our help. Unlike Texas where outside help has problems getting in, there is no such problems in Louisiana. Any and all help is desperately needed. For more information and current status please contact:

Carolyn Thompson, Director of Tri Coastal Community Outreach–(228) 623-0017, or go to Tri Coastal’s website at http://www.tricoastalcommunity.org/main.htm or contact me via my website at http://heart2heartshare.com/contactus.htm

The Gustov/Ike legacy is FAR MORE than Houston or Galveston. There are smaller less populated areas stretching from Galveston all the way to Mobile, Alabama which have suffered greatly from storm surge damage from these two storms. Please, there are huge immediate needs NOT being met in many of these areas. As soon as the water ever goes down, there will be a gigantic need for supplies and volunteers all along the Gulf coast.

24
Jul
08

Staying Thankful in the midst of a Thankless Generation

We are living in the year 2008. Did you know that 100 years ago there was not one single air conditioner in existence? The air conditioner was not invented until 1902 and then took many years to perfect until it could be mass produced. I think many people believe air conditioning was around in the Middle Ages.

1947 marked the year in which window air conditioners were first mass produced. There were a few before 1947, but one had to be very wealthy or have good connections to get one. Once air conditioners began showing up in windows all across America, the willingness to move to areas of intense heat and humidity grew also. There is little doubt that the only reason cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas have grown like they have is due to air conditioning.

After working outside in 100 heat, there is something extremely wonderful about opening the door and walking into a home that is 77 degrees. One would never think that 20 degrees makes much difference, but it does when the humidity is pulled out. Any of us who live in climates prone to excessive heat and/or humidity understand the significance of and are extremely thankful for the air conditioner.

1939 marked the first year of the first air conditioner in a car. By 1969 only one half of all cars had air conditioning. Most of us can remember the first car we got which had air conditioning and it was cause for great celebration. It was only in the 1970’s and beyond that air conditioning in vehicles became the norm instead of the exception.

The same technology in air conditioning is used in refrigeration. After attempting to perfect the process, in 1915 a refrigerator was placed in a house. It was huge, very inefficient and used ammonia to cool with; but at least the door was opened for people to have a way to keep their food cool without ice. By 1922 there were a few refrigerators for sale, but not many buyers. The average cost for a new refrigerator back then was $714. At the same time, a brand new Model T automobile cost $450.

In 1930 freon was invented which ushered in the refrigerator we all know. By late in the 1930’s the price had come down and more and more homes had a refrigerator and fewer and fewer were still using the old ice box. About the only people sad to see the end of ice boxes were the men who used to deliver huge blocks of ice to be chopped up and placed in the old boxes.

When you look back at when things were invented, it has to be understood that it took years of research, hard work and money to ever perfect the invention and production of it so that it could be mass marketed and end up in people’s homes or work places. Here are the dates of just some of the things invented early in the 20th century. It took years for some of these products to reach the common person.

1. Escalator—invented in 1900

2. Radio receiver—1901

3. Vacuum cleaner—1901

4. Air conditioner—1902

5. Airplane—1903

6. Tractor—1904

7. Cornflakes—1906

8. Color photo—1907

9. Model T—1908

10. Talking motion picture—1910

11. Crossword puzzle—1913

12. Bra—1913

13. Zipper—1913

14. Stainless steel—1916

15. Multi station radio receiver–1916

16. Bandaid—1920

17. Insulin—1922

18. Penicillin-1928

19. Frozen food process—1930

20. Analog computer–1930

Too many times we take way too much for granted. We live in homes with central heat and air keeping the temperature the same night and day. We have electricity whenever we want and need it. We can turn on radios, televisions and computers and have instant access to entertainment, news, sports and weather any minute of the day or night. We have phones that we take with us everywhere and GPS units to keep us from getting lost.

It is just too easy to fall into the complaining trap in America. We need to snap out of it and take stock of all we have and thank God for the unbelievable privilege it is to live at this time in this country with all that is available to almost everyone. There is absolutely no Godly reason to have any other attitude in our hearts than one of extreme thankfulness for all we have and can use on a daily basis.

If somebody disconnected all the electricity in the world today; and there was no way to power all the cool gadgets and inventions we use all day—could you still be thankful? If there was no running water, flush toilets or hot water heaters—could you still be thankful? If there was no television, radio, computer or phones of any kind—could you still be thankful? If there was no cars, trucks or SUVs to drive and no buses or trains or planes to pay to travel on—could you still be thankful?

If it gets to be 100 degrees and there were no air conditioners or fans anywhere—could you still be thankful? If there were no refrigerators to keep your food cold and no freezers to keep your ice cream in—could you still be thankful? If there were no way to receive news, sports or weather except by word of mouth—could you still be thankful? If all you had was the roof over your head, clothes on your body and food in your stomach—could you still be thankful?

99% of Americans would be extremely miserable if they were deprived of even one thing mentioned. Honestly, most people’s day is ruined the minute the electricity goes out during a storm. We should really try to keep the attitude of gratitude NO MATTER WHAT happens or doesn’t happen around us and to us. God has truly blessed us more than we could ever know, but those who had to live without all our conveniences DO KNOW.

23
Jul
08

The Impact of Hurricane Dolly You Will Never See on the News

Images of devastation are appearing on television screens around the world out of Brownsville, Texas and surrounding areas. Please keep in mind that no one will ever see the images of those whose lives will be wiped out from this storm. That is because those who will be most harshly dealt with are not living in Texas, but across the Rio Grande in Mexico.

There are, no doubt, pockets of extreme poverty all along the Rio Grande valley in Texas. That is not the issue here. The real issue deals with the lack of understanding regarding just how bad conditions are on the Mexican side of the valley. One must keep in mind that few Americans ever venture into the horrible neighborhoods of most Mexican cities where people live in cardboard houses (at best) and survive on nearly nothing. Welcome to the “Third World”.

One does not have to go to countries in Africa or Asia to find living conditions so brutal that no one in this country could imagine. Poverty so deep that there are no solutions and political systems so rife with corruption that there is no hope are the norm in most third world countries. Too many times Americans picture Mexico as a resort country due to visits to Cancun or Acapulco. Also, too many times Americans associate Mexico only with the huge and sprawling capital of Mexico City.

Outside of these areas, there is a huge country locked in poverty with few governmental services available and areas run more by drug lords than any official government. The people live in utter squalor and have for many generations. From these dire straits comes the yearning to come to America where there are jobs (which most Americans refuse to do) and money to be legitimately made. Most of what is made by Mexicans in America goes back to Mexico to support their families.

As fewer and fewer Americans are willing to make a living doing physical work, somebody must to it or it won’t get done. If it were not for the Mexicans who went to New Orleans and the Mississippi coast after Katrina, hardly any roofs would have been repaired or replaced. Americans are simply not willing to climb up on scalding hot roofs and do the hard work needed to make the repairs.

We all know that we would starve to death if not for the migrant workers who make their living picking the fruits and vegetables we enjoy so much. These people spend all their lives doing a job very few Americans would do even if paid $30 an hour. Americans are simply not willing to get down on their hands and knees to do what is needed no matter how difficult or physically taxing.

Yet, in spite of all the good things most of our neighbors from the south have done for us, they are hated and despised and huge numbers of Americans want to deport anyone who snuck into this country. Giant fences are being put up to keep people who are trying to survive out of our pristine land. Since when is this country so damn righteous that we shut our doors to those who are only trying to literally live? Since when are we so high and mighty that we say NO to those who are gladly willing to do the jobs we refuse to do.

Nothing has changed since the days of slavery. Just because official slavery was banned by the Constitution doesn’t mean it does not still exist. What else do you call the importation of legal and illegal aliens to do jobs no one else will do? Slaves were imported to work in the cotton fields and to take care of children and make meals. Slaves were imported to do all the dirty work so that the wealthy land owners could busy themselves with making more money, socializing and traveling.

Those wealthy enough to hire “household servants” usually don’t get them from the local labor pool. No, they scarf them up from Guatemala or El Salvador or Mexico. Why? So they don’t have to pay them what an American would demand in wages. This exact same thing goes on with migrant workers and other menial jobs Americans will not lower themselves to do unless they receive a king’s ransom for doing them.

As Dolly plows up the Rio Grande River valley, it will literally wipe out hundreds of thousands of cardboard homes and probably end of killing thousands of poor people the world will never hear about. Every major hurricane has seen far more casualties than are officially recorded. Eyewitnesses swore under oath that they saw trucks loaded with bodies in body bags leaving the devastation after Hurricane Andrew. The same can be said after Katrina.

Officials refuse to accurately give statistics for fatalities due to fears that they will be held responsible financially or in the court of public opinion. Instead, they downplay the numbers of people killed, especially when they are peasants, homeless, illegal aliens or ultra poor. These tactics are employed in the United States, Mexico Miramar, China, Russia and just about every other country in the world. Ruling governments do not want the world to know just how badly they screwed up by not preparing for a major storm or helping them quickly afterwards.

Please keep all this in mind as you see the handpicked images of particular destruction that will grace our televisions over the next few days. Rest assured that a week or so from now, Dolly will be forgotten except for those directly impacted. The rest of the country will be far more concerned about politics and sports than how “forgotten” people will figure out how to move on when they have lost literally everything they had in this life.

In any major disaster there are those who we see on the news who somehow manage to get all the help they need both economically as well as volunteers. The people we never see are the ones who either fall through the cracks and somehow miss out on all the help provided by social safety nets or worse yet; as far as the government was concerned—they never were there to begin with. God help the invisible forgotten masses whose only means for survival comes from our prayers and the willingness on the part of a few true heroes who look for them and help them exclusively.

I thank God for the small independent relief agencies whose mission is to find those people neglected by everyone else. I thank God for those who are willing to avoid the headlines and the photo ops to search out the one lost sheep no one else cares about. In my books, those who are worthy of being called “relief workers” are those who go where no one else is willing to go to help those no one else will help.

28
Apr
08

The American Nightmare (Sad State of American Inner Cities)

Gangs run the inner cities today the way the Mafia did two generations ago.  Drug trafficking today is every bit as profitable and dangerous as the trafficking of alcoholic beverages was during Prohibition.  The main difference today is the level of firepower available for rival gangs to destroy one another.  The problems seen in Chicago recently and repeated in Tijuana, Mexico a few nights ago bear this out.  Gangs today have the weapons to literally annihilate its opposition in one night.  God help the poor police who are supposed to stop the equivalent of small militias from destroying one another.

Gangs recruit disgruntled young people and entrap them in the gang mentality.  Quickly there becomes no way out and the only recourse is to attempt to rise through the ranks and stay alive.  The main avenue of business for gangs is drugs.  Drugs have crippled the inner city through the vicious cycle of addiction and the corresponding frantic everyday search of new money to feed the addictions.  Crack houses and meth labs along with old staples like heroine breed strung out people whose only reason for living is their next hit. 

Desperate people do desperate things.  Once addicted, there is no turning back from the lifestyle of stealing and killing to support the habit.  Crime rages unabated because of drugs.  The only winners are the gang leaders who rake in the money to keep the people addicted.  The two most profitable jobs in the inner city are drug dealer and pimp.  Next in line are the drug runners and the prostitutes.  When the money runs out in the city these “entrepreneurs” take their show on the road to the well-heeled suburbs ringing the big cities.

The American public is clueless as the extent of the drug and gang problem in their country.  Since most of middle class America lives in cozy suburbs far removed from the inner city violence, they have no concept  of how ugly life has become for those whose daily routine revolves around finding or trafficking drugs or impressing or running from gangs.  I am no fan of the Rev. Wright, but I understand the frustration and anger that has built up though years and years of living the American nightmare.

The American nightmare is as much a reality as the American dream.  While millions upon millions of predominantly white people work their jobs, live in their three bedroom/two bath tract house in a nice sub-division taking their kids to soccer, t ball and cheerleading practice; millions of predominantly black or Hispanic people cannot find any work other than minimum wage jobs, live in run down rat infested hellholes with either cheap rent or have been in the family for generations and watch their children either join gangs or get shot playing in the street.

The gulf between the lowest class in this country and every other class is staggering.  Those at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder have nothing, will never have anything and survive through the anger and rage in their hearts towards all who “sold them out” and relegated them to their pitiful existence.  This holds true regardless of race or geographic location.  Those at the bottom have lived under the boot of oppressors so long they do not know any other way to live.

The complete breakdown of the family unit is the predominant reason the extreme poor have gone from being simply that to the dangerous simmering pot of rage that boils within most inner cities.  Considering the vast majority of extremely poor children grow up without a father, many times with their mother strung out on drugs and raised by grandparents; the entire perspective of these kids is skewed from the get go.  Throw in the miserable state of inner city schools and it is very apparent why the vast majority of extremely poor inner city kids run into trouble.

That which is important to those trapped within the prisons of America’s inner cities is far different than what the vast majority of American consider vital.  Those trying to survive the American nightmare find themselves in a situation worse than in many developing countries.  These people are interested in the bare essentials of survival such as food and money to pay the light bill and could care less about Iraq or 99% of the issues the rest of America is so passionate about.  When the predominant issue is survival, all else tends to quickly be forgotten.

Is the answer to this massive breakdown of society found in new and greater government programs?  Is the answer really going to come through flooding inner cities with even more money to be wasted on boondoggles such as “public housing” that turned into cesspools of every filthy and vile habit known to man?  Is the answer to ignore the problems and simply add more police to the force to deal with the ever increasing crime rates? 

I don’t have all the answers, but there are some who have dedicated their lives to finding ways to break the stranglehold currently gripping America’s inner cities.  In future posts, I will attempt to chronicle some of the groups and programs that are working and are making a difference in individual’s lives as well as neighborhoods and entire communities.  We desperately need to find long term solutions before the problems in the cities become the problems everywhere.