As I write this, a picture comes into my mind. It’s a Sunday in December, 22 years ago, when I wrote my first holiday piece for the Boulder City News and the Henderson Home News. It was the day after the Boulder City Christmas parade. It was 7 a.m.; I was sitting at my desk typing and a light snow was falling.
Today, I’d like to say I’ve been more involved with peoples’ lives than ever. Over the last few years, I’ve been cooking and sharing meals with our neighbors without homes. I do this with a small group of friends, no big organization, just friends getting together to share with others. Each time we cook a meal and share it with our neighbors without homes, we celebrate.
It might sound Pollyanna-ish, but we don’t wait for a “special day” to make life a bit more comfortable for folks. We can only provide one meal, some used clothing and information about where to receive services from the city or county. We want more for our neighbors. They don’t deserve to suffer.
To work on eliminating poverty, joblessness and home insecurity, it takes government, starting from the federal level. We have to first remember: We are the government. The politicians hold their positions to serve the people. The politicians are people just like we are. Their responsibility is to the public.
Because many feel removed from government bureaucracy at all levels, they feel powerless, yet it is those elected by us who forget who they are supposed to serve.
If you want to say we’re not the government and don’t deserve assistance, go right ahead and say that. If you want to say everyone has to work hard for what they get, say that, too. If you want to say it’s not the government’s duty to create jobs and provide housing and medical care because that’s socialism, go ahead and shout it. I’ll tell you that is wrong.
We are the government, remember? If that’s not the case, who is? We allow 535 members of Congress to continue to make the political choice of keeping people in poverty. We don’t hold them accountable because we are too busy making a living or being comfortable with daily life or feel powerless and hate “big government” and it’s every man for himself. And if you are out on the street, it’s your fault. You’re a bad person.
We’ve given those in government the power to work for us. That can’t be denied. Congress does the spending. That can’t be denied. It is a fact that the 535 members of Congress are the few who choose where federal government spending will go. They choose the spending every time they decide to “protect us” with military expenditures and trips for themselves to go on a “fact-finding” jaunt. We know they decide who benefits.
We allow Congress to make the political decision to make some people very wealthy while others suffer. That’s not what we elected them to do. If you think it is their job to allow people to suffer, you are wrong. Call me whatever you will. I don’t think people vote for politicians to allow them to help some and harm others.
Our economic system operates in a specific way since the U.S. is a monetarily sovereign nation. That means the government is the sole creator of the currency. Congress chooses all spending. No one, no other entity, issues the U.S. dollar and no other body does the spending. That’s a fact. Feel free to say this isn’t true.
Politicians claim the national debt is too large, we’ll burden future generations with mountains of debit, but they are wrong. They know they have to spend to keep the economy going, yet they ignore spending on the people. Why? Because they are the “smart” ones? Because they wouldn’t lie? They do it because they can.
A small group provides some comfort for a few hundred, but that group in Congress can improve the lives of millions. Do we hold them accountable or do we blame immigrants or foreigners or the poor themselves?
We are powerful. Don’t forget it. Let’s celebrate!
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She is the national outreach director for Real Progressives. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-339-9082.