Full obligation to help less fortunate

Published 10:05 am Friday, November 2, 2012

I had the privilege of attending a woman’s retreat in Albert Lea on Saturday. Two of the outstanding speakers work with the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

The work that they do here is so important to breaking the cycle of domestic violence. They aid those who have been abused by a domestic partner, helping them with the alternatives they have to get out of a dangerous situation. Of course, the children who witness this abuse are also helped by these programs. The perpetrators, most of whom are products of a domestic violent environment as children, are helped to work through their anger issues in the hopes that families can be reunited into a safe and loving environment.

Unfortunately, these programs have been hit hard by budget cuts. Staff to provide these much-needed services have been dramatically cut. The people who use these services are not slackers. They are not people who want to live off government. They are not people who don’t want to take responsibility for their lives. They are people who found themselves in dangerous situations. They are people who need a hand from their community. Who amongst us at some point in our lives has not needed some help from family, friends, community or our government? Certainly the people on the East Coast who have experienced the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy are all grateful for the help of state and federal assistance. Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has nothing but praise for the help his citizens have received from President Obama and the federal government.

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So when you hear politicians speak about the “entitlement” society, these are the people whom they are talking about — our neighbors, our friends, our children’s classmates, our family members. Should we keep giving the wealthiest among us tax breaks and not ask them to pay their fair share?  Many ultra-rich are very willing to pay a few more percentage points in taxes that they can well afford, in order to help make our society safer and healthier.

So when you step into that voting booth on Tuesday, I hope you think about some of these issues and who is benefiting by many of our government programs that are in danger of being cut or removed entirely. Remember: There but for the grace of God go I.  Have gratitude for your many blessings and be willing to share to help those less fortunate.


Karen Meyerson

Albert Lea