Will Hungry and Poor People Be Remembered in the Presidential Debates?
October is a busy month for people who care about ending hunger and poverty. With the elections just a little over a month away, the biggest issues facing our nation are being debated on the public stage. We need to make sure that hunger and poverty are part of the discussion.
While Bread for the World can lead the way by providing you with election resources, when it comes down to it, your voice is the one that must be heard and that will make a difference for hungry and poor people. A Bread member once wrote a line that has been driving me all year long: "Silence is approval."
So what are our priorities? Right now, we want to use the upcoming presidential and vice-presidential debates as opportunities to make sure that hunger and poverty are part of the national dialogue. The first presidential debate will take place on Wednesday, October 3. It will be moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS Newshour and will focus on domestic policy.
Continue to share the Circle of Protection presidential videos and talk about the candidates' statements. Hold a house meeting, inviting family, friends, co-workers, and members of your church congregation to watch the debates and engage in a discussion of the issues. Talk about what the candidates are saying, but also share stories of poverty in your community and discuss how, as people of faith, you are compelled to act.
For more guidance in pulling together a house meeting, check out the "How to Host a House Meeting" resource on our elections page.
If you and your group are social media-savvy, amplify your house meeting on Twitter. Some of our partners, led by the Half In Ten campaign, are starting a wave of poverty talk through social media channels, submitting debate questions by tagging @newshour and using the hashtag #talkpoverty.
Elections matter and as people of faith we must lead the way in making sure people who are poor and hungry are part of the conversation during campaign season. But, while elections and the debates are the center of attention in October, it is also crucial that we remain focused on the lame duck session.
During the lame duck—the period between the November elections and January 2013, when newly-elected officials come to Washington—Congress will be making decisions about programs that are critical to people struggling to put food on the table, both in the United States and abroad.
As Amelia Kegan, senior policy analyst in our government relations department keeps reminding us, “The framework for the budget is being decided now; waiting until after the elections is too late.” We must let members of Congress know that it is essential to form a circle of protection around programs for the poor and hungry. Even if you have already written, tweeted ,or called your member of Congress, do it again.By participating in discussion surrounding the presidential and vice-presidential debates, and continuing to engage our members of Congress leading up to the lame duck session, we let the public and our politicians know that poverty matters!
Debate schedule for October:
October 3 , 9:00
– 10:30 EST (Presidential – Domestic Policy)
October 11, 9:00 – 10:30 EST (VP – domestic & foreign)
October 16, 9:00 – 10:30 EST (Presidential – Town Hall format)
October 22, 9:00 – 10:30 EST (Presidential – foreign policy)
Robin Stephenson is social media lead/senior regional organizer,
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