When you talk about poverty, you’re talking about people.

Another Hope Entirely

Why is it that when politicians start talking about poverty, they stop talking about people?  Even the good guys, the progressives who want to end poverty, are prone to this. 

When you talk about poverty, you’re talking about people, even if you’re more comfortable hiding behind statistics oversimplified moral proclamations and judgments.  You’re talking about me, so let me tell you about me.

I’m 27 years old, and I’m disabled due to severe, chronic mental and physical illness.  I’m not stupid or lazy or morally lacking.  I would love to get a job.  I’d love to finish my undergraduate degree and go to law school.  Ever since I was a kid and realized I could get paid to fight with people, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer–but I’m not above working less professional jobs to get there.  I’ve worked in a fast food restaurant, a hotel, and a hands-on…

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7 thoughts on “When you talk about poverty, you’re talking about people.

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  1. It’s SO much easier to bypass the emotional attachment that people have when they see a human face to poverty when you are trying to ram something through some government department. If you are able to renegotiate poverty as something that someone is responsible for, as in “they should get off their lazy butts and go get a job…” sort of responsible for then you can redirect your sympathy to someone who deserves it and you might just get out of having to pay taxes to support this “poverty”. In all seriousness, a nation that refuses to deal with it’s poor in a sympathetic and proactive way is a nation on the brink. Without an appropriate and realistic welfare system, health care system and other necessities for a dignified life, the poor become second class citizens to be given a wide berth. Not “you and me down on their luck” but “bums”. It is much easier to reclassify than deal with something fundamentally wrong with a society especially when there is money and power at stake.


    1. Thank you for your important thoughts about poverty and how to advocate for more humane solutions, Narf. I am copying your comment and posting it on Hope’s blog so she will have a chance to reply.


  2. This reminds me of a quote by Fr. Greg Boyle in his book, Tattoos on the Heart: “We seek a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.”


    1. Thank you, Cindy. I appreciate your kind words and I trust Cheryl does as well. We are both grateful to Hope for allowing us to reblog her important essay.

      We send you wishes for safe and lovely travels.


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