Hey Congress! We Have an Idea to Help You Out
A chart showing the 112th Congress as the least productive Congress in history. Source: Annual resume of Congressional activity, Ezra Klein/Washington Post.
If you follow U.S. politics, or heck, even if you don’t, you’ve probably heard that our current Congress is a bit … well … dysfunctional. Ezra Klein's piece in the Washington Post last Friday on why our current Congress is the “worst” Congress in U.S. history affirmed for me just how tough things really are. Klein states that "the 112th Congress is no ordinary Congress. It’s a very bad, no good, terrible Congress.”
Upon reading Klein’s piece, (which made me laugh out loud, but also made me quite sad), I felt compelled to think proactively about this dilemma.
Here’s the simple, far-from-rocket-science solution I came up with as an activist and organizer: Working to end hunger and poverty has the potential to unify our 112th Congress.
Hunger has no political party. Nobody believes that a child should go to bed hungry at night. Ending hunger should be a no-brainer. So then, why is our Congress doing so little about hunger and poverty? And why are they threatening to cut programs that reduce hunger and poverty?
I believe it is because there isn't enough pressure on our members of Congress to make ending hunger and poverty a priority.
Poverty is something our Congress simply isn’t talking about, and they’re not talking about it because American people aren’t talking about it to them. Furthermore, American people aren’t talking about it to Congress, because Congress isn’t talking about it. It’s a vicious cycle.
I’m dreaming of a day -- soon -- when the words “hunger,” “low-income,” and “poverty” will reverberate off of our national lips the same way certain buzzwords currently permeate our televisions, newspapers, and conversations.
In a time when our Congress is accomplishing precious little and our political parties can’t seem to work together on just about anything, I strongly believe that hunger and poverty is a topic both sides of the aisle can come together over, particularly with enough pressure and support from their constituents.
So friends, family, and decent human beings everywhere: I urge you make “hunger” and “poverty” buzzwords in our country. Give Congress something to come together over. The members of Congress who aren’t talking about these issues need to hear it. And the members of Congress who are talking about these issues need to know their constituents support them so they feel empowered to keep fighting the good fight.
And Congress: We still believe in you. We know that you were called to public service because you care about this country and believe in what it stands for. We know that you are a potent force, with the power to influence lives for the better — especially the lives of our society’s most vulnerable. Please, come together to do this. Do this, and I guarantee we’ll have your backs.
For more information about ways to get involved, visit www.bread.org.
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