December 13, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Letter dismisses humanity of the poor

Although I might understand the point of irony that the recent letter to the editor  "Feeding the animals makes them dependent" (Dec. 10) was trying to make, the comparison was appalling in a number of ways.

click image to enlarge

A man shops for groceries using a food stamp benefit card. A letter juxtaposing recipients of food stamps with animals "is childish and wrong," a reader says.

2008 File Photo / Shawn Patrick Ouellette

First and obviously, saying that those in poverty are like animals fails to put a human face on those who are living day to day without basic essentials of sustenance, namely food in this case.

What about children, single mothers and senior citizens who through no fault of their own use these government programs to survive, especially in difficult economic times? Are they animals feeding at the trough of government spending, or are they just simply surviving hard times?

In our society, many are comfortable with casting blame upon those enduring poverty and moreover, blaming big government, which somehow seems to create and sustain this condition. I would suggest that a truly caring and compassionate society with less greed may be a more suitable answer.

John Barritt's letter fails to state the obvious: that employers are looking for inexpensive labor and that housing, food and other costs involved with raising a family have skyrocketed.

Second, to say that the government is making people experiencing poverty more dependent is too general for the various life stories that people have for needing the assistance.

With the holidays upon us, could it be said that the many splendid efforts of community groups and the generosity they exhibit are causing some kind of dependency also? Or is it more correct to say that as a society, especially here in Portland, we share with the less fortunate and help those who cannot provide for themselves?

I believe that we all must be very careful in how we speak of those in need -- each of us could be there someday. Now that would be irony.

James Fry


It is very disappointing that in the season of Christmas and giving and sharing, the Portland Press Herald would publish a letter that likens the poor to "animals."

Demeaning our fellow human beings who need assistance has become a way of life for those on the right side of the theater we know as politics. And the willingness to post different points of view here is laudable. But to liken people to animals is childish and wrong.

Here is hoping that the author of this letter never experiences the hardships that many of his fellow human beings and their families face on a daily basis. Here is hoping that he might educate himself on the truth regarding poverty and misfortune in this nation that has treated him well, often at their expense.

And to all those who have felt life's bitter sting in this year, may Christmas and the New Year bring you better times.

Howard Hanson


Obama's efforts do nothing to make seniors' lives easier 

I thought that post-election fatigue would set in, but my neighbor kept relentlessly haranguing me, praising the re-elected messiah Barack Obama.

He continued claiming that Obama is the only one who continues to save Social Security, Medicare, etc.

I blinked and replied that Obama had done nothing for me or any senior citizen, and asked, "Why should I have given him my vote?"

I said that my real estate taxes and Medicare premiums have risen, but my Social Security check had remained stagnant. I asked my neighbor how he enjoyed paying an 80 percent tax on his certificates of deposit at his local bank, and his automatic reply was "I don't pay any income taxes."

I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Before Obama, your $100,000 CD returned $5,000-plus. Now you're lucky to receive $1,000. That looks like an 80 percent tax to me."

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