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The Virus Of Greed

Written by on March 27, 2020

Story by Chuck Tackett

The Virus Of Greed

Today is Sunday, March 15th, as I am writing this article. News can change quickly, as you all know, so by the time this article comes out on March 26, then I am sure you will understand.

I have just finished watching “AMJoy” on MSNBC. During her show, Joy had as a guest the Rev. William J. Barber II. Rev. Barber is Co-Chair of “The Poor People’s Campaign. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this movement, it was started in 1968 by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The main goal was to create a movement to gain economic justice for poor people in the USA.

Joy had Rev. Barber on to get his views regarding Republicans trying to sabotage a bill passed by the House for paid family leave, and also the upcoming Democrat primary debate on Tuesday, March 15th between Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. First, Rev. Barber addressed the issue of paid family leave awaiting for McConnell to bring to the Senate.

Rev. Barber replied, “You know Joy there is a psalm that goes ‘grant us the courage of the facing of this hour.’ It shows this greed, this virus of greed that even in times of crisis still exists. Not only did Republicans stand in the way, but why did Democrats cave on this? They had the votes. Why didn’t they say that to McConnell? How can you leave out millions of people in times like these, and say we’re going to trust in the good graces of the companies to cover them? Before the virus, we had 140 million people living in poverty and low wealth. It shows something is wrong, even in a crisis, we still will cave in, or give in to the virus of greed and social violence as Coretta Scot King called it. It is just wrong. That is why we have to demand that we deal with this issue of poverty and low wealth as a centerpiece issue of our society.”

Joy Reid then asked Rev. Barber what he wanted to hear from the 2 Democratic candidates (Biden & Sanders) on the March 17th debate. There is a core belief that Democrats want to help people that are left out economically.

Rev. Barber responded. “Well, they do but they talk about the working class and they act like poverty is a curse by refusing to say it. Republicans tend to racialize poverty and diminish it. Democrats tend to run from it. A few months ago, over 9000 religious leaders, along with the Poor People’s Campaign, called for a full debate on poverty and low wealth. “It didn’t happen. This weekend, we have pushed CNN, DNC, Univision, our call-out to hundreds of thousands of people on a tweet and email storm that this what we are saying. This is what we want to hear. The coronavirus is exposing even further that the real numbers of 140 million poor and low wealth people. 250,000 people die of poverty and low wealth was already facing us before the virus. We need them to tell us how are they going to deal with this issue of poverty and low wealth. We can’t ignore this anymore. We can’t pass bills that leave out millions of people. We don’t want to hear just personality endorsements. We want to talk about policy endorsements. Where do you stand on the issue of poverty, not just the working class, not just the middle class, but poverty and low wealth? How will their administration address it? We can’t make it marginal. We can’t give out cute little statements about it now and then. We have to deal with policy. I’m from the south. A third of all poor people live in the south. A third of all White poor people live in the south. An exuberant number of African American percentage-wise. How can you say you running in the south, support people in the south, appreciate the Black vote or any voter in the south and you are not going to address the issue of poverty, the issue of interlocking injustices like systematic racism, the issue of denying healthcare. We have to do this and we demand it be part of the 25 questions asked tonight at the debate. If not, will it be pushed for in a future debate, but we are not going to quit.”

Now call me “loony tunes” folks. I may be wrong, and if I am, I hope someone will correct me. I thought former Democratic candidate Andrew Yang addressed the issue of poverty and low wealth when he was pushing for Universal Basic Income and trying to prepare this country for the 4th Industrial Revolution where automation and robots are replacing human workers. I don’t recall hearing anything from the Poor People’s Campaign regarding that.

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