We are our brother's keepers
Over the past three weeks, The Sentinel has examined poverty in McPherson. Through a profile of a single mother, an article looking at the problem through the eyes of an expert and finally an article focusing on solutions, we have sought to explore a situation in this city which so often seems ignored.
McPherson is a great city. The city’s Web site boasts about the benefits of the community.
“Take a walk down one of our city streets and be greeted by friends and neighbors, see how warm smiles and friendly attitudes prevail in McPherson,” the site states.
And while that statement is true, it is not the whole truth.
The truth is that this community is very good about putting on a smiling, friendly face for those like us – those who look like us, live like us, own the same cars as us – but too often everyone else is met with a frown, or no expression at all.
This idea has been confirmed by this series. The reactions received have ranged from indifferent to something akin to describing impoverished people as the scum of the earth.
Views like these are dangerous.
Whether we care to admit it, we are our brother’s keeper. Not only is poverty a moral issue, it is an economic one as well. Caring for the impoverished will ultimately build a stronger local economy, as individuals earn and spend more money and invest in property.
But just as powerful are the calls and E-mails from people wanting to help or just show their concern.
These individuals are a hopeful sign and an indication of what we hope this community can more fully become.
The community that we need to more fully become is one which welcomes all people and strives to better each member.
All of us share some blame for allowing poverty, especially generational poverty, to exist here.
Whether it is city planners, who must create more affordable housing, or the Christian community, which too often fails to feed and clothe “the least of these,” or individuals who fail to know their neighbors, we are all to blame and we are all part of the solution.
The Sentinel included. The highest calling of journalism is to expose the truth and give voice to the voiceless, something which we haven’t always done with the vigor that is needed.
If we confront and solve these issues, if we own up to the responsibility we have, then we will truly be able to walk down any city street and be greeted warmly by friends and neighbors.
The McPherson Sentinel