We're not asking our partners to choose sides or to make political endorsements. We're calling for a public means to hold candidates and elected officials accountable. We're demanding that the woes and concerns of half the American population be taken just as seriously as those in the middle and upper class. In a time of economic uncertainty, with the certainty of "more military spending" through campaigns sponsored by war-hawks and weapons manufacturers, we're resurrecting the clarion call of a civil rights icon who warned that "our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
It's a sad commentary, but we can't count on the presidential candidates to champion the causes of America's poor and neglected. In a world of spin, sound bites, and "gotcha" journalism, they fear a word for the poor will be transformed into an assault on the voters they obviously cherish more--the middle class.
If we truly want justice in America to roll like water or "righteousness like a mighty stream," we can't count on politicians. You, me, us, we-justice-seekers must champion the causes of America's voiceless and most vulnerable.We must not allow the next few months to pass without demanding that the needs of poor and impoverished people become a high-priority topic. In short, it is up to the voters to set the pace, make candidates follow our lead and force them to end the silence "about things that (truly) matter."
Sylvester Brown, Jr., is a St. Louis-based journalist, board member with the Peace Economy Project (PEP), and founder of When We Dream Together, a local nonprofit dedicated to urban revitalization.
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