Before we look abroad – look at home

I am not one of those people who expect too much from “quick fix” solutions — especially for large scale, social problems that never seem to get any better; however, I think there is always an opportunity to stop digging any deeper into a glaringly obvious hole.

Anybody take a count lately of the number of government agencies and private not-for-profit 501(c)3 organizations and unincorporated grass-roots, loosely organized volunteer citizen groups that exist for ostensibly charitable causes?

You will be surprised by the number of homeless service, prevention and shelter organizations in St. Johns County and local, state, regional and national organizations whose mission is to feed the hungry — homeless or not — and provide relief to those in need in St. Augustine.

Shamefully, many people who find themselves destitute, homeless and hungry are United States veterans, senior citizens, are mentally impaired or physically limited or are orphans — all of which represent the most vulnerable and least able to reverse their situations.

The record is replete with cases that are referred to one social organization or another and perhaps even referred to a second governmental agency or faith-based charity only to learn that, in essence, “we have no money”.

We are at the precipice of that “glaringly obvious hole” I was talking about, and, I would like to suggest one small step that is long overdue, in my opinion.

The homeless, tempest-tost, tired, poor huddled masses of wretched refuse from the teeming shores around the globe were invited here, after all, by us. So, thanks to that well-known, landmark invitation that brings us a world of immigrants, we add our natural-born citizens who have lost their jobs, their cars, their homes and are no longer able to support themselves, our “need” is “greater” than our available resources.

The need is always greater than available resources, right?

Maybe, but in addition to enforcement of laws that regulate the legal immigration of people into our country, I believe the time has come to take a second look at resources squandered to the benefit of foreign nations so long as we have not satisfied our own domestic needs.

I am putout with organizations based locally that redirect our resources rather than invest them here at home — to jumpstart our local economy, re-employ those that are able bodied, invest in the future of our own citizens.

With just the government and private money raised recently to provide aid to Haiti, how many of our own homeless could have received shelter? How many of our own children could have gone to bed without the pain of hunger? How many of our own elderly could we have provided needed medications, or, treatment been made available to our own mentally ill?

I watched the American dreamers on one-out-of-every-three television stations for days on end as they stocked ships and planes lined up with food, water, tents, clothes, bedding, doctors and medical supplies while our own American citizens went without.

Was the need to provided aid to Haiti, Chile, or Turkey greater than the need of our own disabled veterans or retired seniors living on a “fixed income”?

Imagine how different things would be at home if our government gave us the same support they give to other countries.

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