Achievable Steps Together

Faced with a world of “modern ideas” which would like to banish everyone into a corner and a “specialty,” a philosopher, if there could be a philosopher these days, would be compelled to establish the greatness of mankind, the idea of “greatness,” on the basis of his own particular extensive range and multiplicity, his own totality in the midst of diversity.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

When we consider the future we have to see the present in its fullness, clearly and honestly without bias or denial.

The population of America, even Arizona, is vastly different than a generation ago. In just 20 years we now have an unconscionable number of homeless families. Over 1.5 million homeless children go to school every day and are expected to learn and perform. They arrive at school in no state capable of essential learning, emotionally unavailable because of their situation. How can we expect teachers to make a difference when these children aren’t emotionally available to learn? What are achievable steps?

Let’s go really ‘out there’ for a moment. I feel like I’ve been one of those philosophers who shares an audacious and outlandish possibility of harmony among people and planet. I’m often thought naive and out of touch. I’d venture to say if a poll were taken, most would say it isn’t possible. The way things look today, across the world, it would be an easy assumption.

What I see, though, are indicators of a movement, a wave of substance and consequential size that is swelling in the hearts and minds of humanity and bears evidence like the sparrow that drops by Bernie’s podium in Portland. A heart-centered human race is emerging, tired of the tyranny wherever it exists. Together we can do amazing things.

People just above the poverty line are just one paycheck or health disaster away from poverty,” said Katherine Newman, a dean at Johns Hopkins University. “They are still quite fragile.

This brings us to an even larger challenge: homelessness. Did you know that 14.5% of American families live below the poverty line? That is roughly 45 million people. Another 30 million live just above the line and has grown 10%. So that is almost 20% of American families. By comparison, about 85 people hold nearly all the wealth in America. Even if we taxed them, where would that money really go? How would it be used? Is there a real plan for restoring their lives and getting America back on track? What are the achievable steps?

From CNN Money – The near poor have grown by about 10% in number over the past five years, as the Great Recession sent many people falling down the income ladder. The ranks of those in poverty, on the other hand, swelled 24% in the same period.” Newman calls this group “the missing class” because they can be overlooked by policymakers and advocates. They include home health aids, child care workers, teachers assistants and hospital orderlies, to name a few. They work full time, but often don’t have employer benefits, which adds to their vulnerability, said Newman, whose research looks at those up to two times the poverty level.

Arizona has dropped to near the bottom of the pack, unfortunately. Despite improvement in 11 of 15 child welfare indicators, Arizona still ranks near the bottom of a national ranking of child health, education and welfare statistics. The state ranks 46th nationwide in conditions for the well-being of children, according to the 26th annual Kid Count Report compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and released Tuesday, July 21. Child welfare activists Wednesday pointed to the report as evidence of the need for investment in early childhood education programs and a focus on lifting children – and their families – out of poverty.

We tend to have a culture of saying every family for themselves and not a lot of investment in community and what we can do for each other,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, director of the nonprofit advocacy group Children’s Action Alliance.

Amazing things can happen when a few people with passion and purpose get together and are determined to succeed. Imagine what would happen if the majority of a population would stand in agreement with certain tenets that lead us all to a promised land. Whether prophetic or mystical, doesn’t matter. The movement is in our nature, an evolution of humanity. Achievable steps come from working together.

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