Poverty needs to be framed differently to have the truth about it understood. Since our current administration took office, the political slandering of the poor seems unnecessarily rigorous. The administration appears uninterested in honest statistics readily available that can prove and diffuse blatant misrepresentation of the poor. Its “voice” relentlessly promotes false and corrupt rhetoric fueling prejudice.

But context is everything. The truth is that poverty can find any of us, especially in a state where job growth is nothing more than a broken promise. Lose a job, get cancer, lose an income-generating spouse, bear a child with a disability, care for an ailing adult, experience a devastating house fire — none of us are immune to life’s tragedies. The ensuing financial instability of these households sometimes never recovers, weakening the ability for families to protect themselves from chronic poverty. For a child in that setting, everything from health to education can be negatively affected for many years.

Food, shelter, day care and transportation demand large financial obligations. If politicians vote to cut the meager incomes that struggling populations already live on, or vote to withhold funds and subsidies that are available, it further exacerbates the desperation and poverty in our state.

Withholding available funds and making veterans, seniors, children, the disabled and the truly poor more downtrodden is a travesty of justice and humanity. Impacting lives for the better helps us all. Change the legislation. Change the conversation.

Claire Hersom


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