Is this the America we want?

Friday, September 30, 2011

More than a year ago Tribune readers were told in this column of a woman counting pennies out of her purse to pay her water bill.

Now, you should know there are at least 45 children in the Marshall County school system who rely on the free lunch and breakfast program for their daily bread.

Those youngsters are getting two-gallon plastic zip-lock bags filled with food for the weekend. It's not the most healthy menu, but it's food that folks know kids will eat.

That this has to be done through the food ministry of LifeSong Family Church with help from civic groups including the Kiwanis, the Junior League, Methodist Women and, no doubt, other groups of caring people and individuals who are helping by contributing money.

LifeSong's Food Ministry picked up where government funding left off during the 2010-11 school year.

It begs the question: What did the kids do for food during the summer? There are a blue zillion other questions about this situation.

One of them is: "Will you help?"

If you've read this far in this column you've got the wherewithal to know you could call that church. Another number is 637-3530.

And as the program reported today is commended and hopefully boosted by this column, it's important to emphasize that other churches and organizations have been providing for less fortunate people in this community.

The Care Kitchen is one that immediately comes to mind. The Thursday night meals stand as an important safety net for a lot of people. That it's needed is a shame, but there's no shame in dealing with the current state of America's economy.

Headlining this column is a question: Is this the America we want?

Yes, if the focus is on the people who've pitched in to help. No, if the focus is on those in need.

Good Samaritans and other organizations may become the focus of future stories and columns that advocate support.

Meanwhile, a few words are in order as a judge has stepped down and there are applications for the position left vacant.

Close observers of the county commission are predicting that the county attorney, Bill Haywood, will succeed Steve Bowden. That's more of a political prediction from what's sometimes called "inside baseball," or an observation that in Washington, D.C., would be of interest only to those living "inside the beltway."

Here, it's an important decision because there are many county residents affected by decisions in Marshall County General Sessions Court.

Judges and newspapers are frequently asked to be "good hearted" and consider the children when deciding what to do about someone who's charged with an offense. Some folks say they'll be fired. Both situations offer an opportunity to teach or remind others about the America we have. We're innocent until proven guilty.

Whoever is appointed judge until Sept. 1 next year may find more time to consider cases instead of relying on plea-bargaining, which is not an awful system anyway.

The next judge could hold court on more than one day a week.

The next judge could be challenged by a woman seeking a two-year term starting next fall, or an eight year term starting three years from now.

So there. That's the America I'm talkin' about.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.