By MARCI ADELSTON-SCHAFER Originally printed June 28, 2020, Letter to the Editor, The News Gazette
Let’s expand the safety net
My husband and I were at the #EndWhiteSilence vigil outside of the CPD. As we protesters were waving our signs, I saw a tired older woman walk past, dragging a suitcase. I saw her cross the street and set up camp in a clump of trees. She was obviously homeless.
After that, all I could think about was how privileged we protesters all are. We don’t have to expend all of our energy on eking out life. That is why we can be out in the streets.
This country’s social safety net is not really a social safety net. If it were, our most vulnerable would not be making bedrooms out of trees. Even during a pandemic, there would not be mile-long lines of cars at food pantries. Families would not be destitute simply because of one catastrophic hospitalization.
This country’s system needs to be overhauled. This pandemic laid bare how vulnerable we all can be: devastating hospitalizations, record unemployment and people losing their health care because it’s tied to their jobs. D.C. will NEED to make some drastic changes in order for our safety net to be able to catch everyone and give them a softer landing. I cannot think of another industrialized country who does a worse job of taking care of its own than the U.S.
Call Congress. Let them know that, as rich as our country is, nobody should be without a home, food or health care. Re-imagine the budget to fix our social safety net.