Bravo to Jeffrey Neil Young for his Maine Voices column calling for a renewal of the War on Poverty (“America can still win the 50-year-old war against poverty,” Jan. 6).

So many powerful voices over the historical eras of time have told us that poverty is an evil that must be eradicated. Read the words from Isiaiah and Jesus to Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson.

So many of our clergy (including the new Pope Francis), philosophers, economists and some thoughtful political leaders have informed us both of our obligations and of this historical truth: Time after time, those powerful empires – including Rome, Britain, France, Spain, Netherlands – that have oppressed and enslaved their underclasses, have fallen.

As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, let us also take time to wonder what has happened to our caring, our compassion, our very humanity. And to ponder the consequences of American babies crying in hunger, innocent people freezing on Maine streets, thousands of the nation’s youth working for slave wages. There will be a price to pay.

Norman Abelson


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