Senator McCain, poor families don’t need vouchers.
Poor families need food. They need housing. They need jobs. They need security.
When a girl in the class down the hall couldn’t come to school because she didn’t have shoes, we asked her little sister what her mom did with the paychecks from her job. She said, “She saves all her money so we can get a house.” Get a house meant find a place to rent, not buy one. They were crowded into a small flat with their uncle (four kids and a mom) and wanted to rent an apartment on their own. They owned no furniture, no appliances, no basic supplies. All they wanted was to establish their independence.
This girl wanted to come to school. When her shoes broke, she worried that she was losing her record of perfect attendance. Despite her poverty, she wanted to be here. School for her was a safe and secure place to be, a place to be a part of things. A place to learn.
Senator McCain, do you know who found shoes for her? Her teacher found two pair of spare gym shoes and brought them to her house so she could try them on. I found another pair in my closet after I found out we wore the same size. This girl doesn’t need a private school; she needs financial security for her family. She needs inflation to ease so she can buy shoes as her feet grow. We’re not talking about designer heels or peep-toe pumps; simple sneakers will do. She needs gas prices to stabilize so her mother can go to work each day and consistently earn money that will pay the rent.
Senator McCain, look past your expensive shoes and your multiple houses. Look beyond your wealthy colleague and her privileged lifestyle. Look at those who are already suffering and fear the potential of an oncoming depression.
When your volunteers called asking for support, I told them, “Not a chance” and hung up the phone. I’m on the front lines seeing families suffer. Trickle-down economics won’t help these families. Neither will your private-school vouchers.
Senator McCain, you are woefully out of touch with the real world.
I’m voting for Senator Obama.
photo by La Petite, June, 2008