BY SHARON MARTIN
Bishop Edward James Slattery told our congregation that abortion is the biggest problem facing America today. Rep. Sally Kern told her audience that gays are a greater threat to American security than terrorists.
Presumably neither of them has ever been food insecure. They both have safe places to live, access to health care, and jobs.
There are plenty of real problems in Oklahoma. There is no need to invent them.
Jobs are going overseas. The poverty rate is rising. For those lucky ones with jobs, wages are stagnant or falling as the cost of living continues to go up.
There’s a widening gap between the rich and poor, and it isn’t because poor people just don’t work as hard as rich people. I’d like to see the CEO of any Fortune 500 company spend one day on an oil rig or road construction crew. I’d like to see my senators spend a week as substitute teachers in a public school classroom. We’d see who’s got the stuff to get the job done.
Public education, a person’s best hope for rising above economic hardships, is under attack. Cities and states are going broke even while fees and sales taxes are going up. The cost of medical treatment is astronomical, and only the wealthiest and poorest are assured that medical treatment won’t drive them to bankruptcy.
There are problems, but we are Americans, and we can find solutions. First, we have to come to terms with this fact: there is not enough money coming in and there is too much money going out. Second, balancing a budget requires tough decisions and clear priorities. Third, rancor and petty quarrels won’t fix the problems.
It’s time we put clear minds to work on solutions. No more obstruction by those who don’t want to lose their excesses. No more grandstanding by those who are more interested in elections than in getting a job done. And no more us and them. We are all in this ship together and we all need to bail to keep it from going down.
Denying civil rights to any Americans and denying reproductive choice to women are buckets with holes in them. They won’t fix the problems that ail this country; they just distract us from the work that needs to be done.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer