Breaking the Grip of Poverty: A View at 50,000 Feet

By: Stanley Ralph – September 23, 2020

The relentless din of political advocacy and character assassination is bombarding our senses to a point where my hair hurts. I realize that lively debate on the issues before us as a country is healthy. What is going on now, is not.

We are reduced to scoring points on opponents, commenting on the role of an increasingly biased media, moving ever more into the corner of our belief system. Is it any wonder that some are just in a white-out of raving, a blizzard of mis-information and dis-information?

Ride with me for a moment up to the 50,000 foot level, where it is quiet and peaceful, and where we can actually see the curvature of the blue marble we call Earth.

What do we see? We see an America of great beauty, but imperfect in many ways. How do we heal her? Certainly, no politician or party or ideology can heal because they radically oppose each other. The police are good; the police are bad. If you don’t do as I say, I’ll “cancel” you.

What rises out of all this and, nowhere else, is the Constitution. Don’t believe me? Take 15 minutes and read it. Read it away from the noise at ground level. Away from white vs black. Away from rich vs poor. Away from religion, race, or origin.

America was forged through a violent revolution, not in 1619 but in 1776. What emerged was a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy in the Greek sense, surely not a socialist state (that attempt came later and is coming back now).  The Founders crafted a brilliant societal and governmental concept.  That all were created equal, that all deserved and were guaranteed the right to self-determination and self-achievement, that all deserved equal justice under laws that were applied equally to everyone, at every economic station, at every level of influence.

Today, as seen from 50,000 feet, that concept is under attack. Why? Because some see a diversity of achievement as an injustice that needs to be repaired through the economic and social weapons of re-distribution and revenge.

At ground level, we are told that we are an evil and unjust nation. That skin color defines privilege and ultimate success. That the scales of justice are tilted in favor or one class vs another.

I won’t debate these topics because at 50,000 feet, they don’t seem worthy. I will debate what we can do to make an imperfect union more perfect.

At the heart of it all is poverty. Poverty is the evil we need to attack. Not by artificial redistributive methods, but rather with systemic methods.

Poverty exists because a person does not see a way out of it. The very real magnetic attraction of the welfare state holds a person from escape. A lack of a marketable skill holds a person back. A safe, clean and uplifting living environment holds a person back. And, yes, peer pressure holds a person back.

Every successful black person in this country tells the same story of how their parents and often single parent pushed them up and out of the life they once lived. And, at the core was education.

Every, and I mean every, child in this country, even those with special needs, can rise to exceed expectation and in his/her own way prosper. In all cases, education is the key.  And it is there where we have failed.

Why is that? Overwhelmingly, teachers mean well; PTA’s mean well; School Boards mean well. Then why? To learn, there must be a confluence of good instruction, safe environment, focus and discipline.

Curricula and instruction have become politicized. Hallways are unsafe. Smart phones and hip clothing are diversionary. And the classroom is out of control because teachers have no authority to exercise control over the setting in which they teach.

At 50,000 feet these things should be the point of attack against poverty. And, yes, it may take more money, but money spent strategically to improve the chances that real learning will result.

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