Greed isn’t so good

I believe poverty and all of its associated problems are in fact moral issues, particularly when they occur in a county and country as prosperous as ours.

There are two universal principles I believe will one day compel us to eliminate poverty.

These values are that having compassion for others is good and that obsessing over amassing wealth for ourselves is bad.

Ironically, as we have generally become a more wealthy society, we seem to have turned one of these values on its head.

Greed has somehow become good, and those who are poor or in need are somehow seen as unworthy.

But the people in need are everywhere. It’s very possible that someone you know is in need of some generosity.

So who are the people in need in Shelby County?

If you judge by the people we have seen come through the door of Shelby Emergency Assistance over the past year, they are hardworking folks who have been laid off or had their hours significantly reduced.

They are individuals who can no longer meet the rising costs related to housing or medication.

They are people with serious medical conditions who are uninsured because they are unable to work or have lost their jobs due to the recession.

Many of these individuals have never needed financial assistance prior to this point in their lives.

To me, these people certainly seem worthy of our compassion and a better life.

So how do we put greed on the back burner and bring compassion to the center of public discussion?

We need to evaluate policies and ideas based on how they impact those in need.

The measure of our success as a county and as a nation should not be the lifestyles of the rich, but the quality of the lives of those who are the least fortunate among us.