A candidate talks poverty – is anyone listening?

John Edwards, the presidential candidate, is spending this week on what’s being dubbed the “Poverty Tour.” Eric Pooley, a Time Magazine reporter traveling with Edwards on the tour, shares a first-person perspective today that raises the question: Can poverty define John Edwards? It probably can, but it won’t likely get him elected. Still, I admire him greatly for making the issue of poverty what he calls “the cause of my life” and a cornerstone of his candidacy. As Pooley says, “Democrats with national aspirations have been avoiding the issue for the last quarter century or so, since Ronald Reagan cast them as the party of welfare-queen-coddling big gubment.”

Meanwhile, years roll by and the poor remain without voice or representation in government. Edwards would be that voice if he were president. Sadly, I don’t think enough Americans are ready to face up to one of the great stains on our character as a country and elect a president who wants to end poverty in the US in the next 30 years. Instead, the poor remain out of sight, out of mind, simply chalked up as the unfortunate have-nots in a free-market economic system most candidates and voters would not think to question.

July 18th, 2007
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