Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Crumbling American Dream?

When my grandparents came to America in the 1920's from Italy, they came with hope, to the land of good fortune, where dreams came true. America was a storied land of freedom and opportunity. At the Ellis Island website I was able to see how much money my grandparents came to America with. It was humbling to see. Like other immigrants they came to America with hope, faith in God and a belief in a better life ahead, with a little bit of money in their pockets-$10.00 to be exact. (They also had to have a sponsor in America.) When I thought about my grandparents traveling such a long distance, across an ocean, in difficult circumstances, with so little money (naturally $10.00 was worth much more at that time), I can't even imagine the sacrifices they made in leaving their country and loved ones. Through hard work, faith in God, prayer, family ties and sacrifice they were able to lift themselves up, over time, into the middle class in America, as other immigrants have done as well.
But now many families in America are facing hard times. Many are slipping out of the middle class. Without good paying jobs and real opportunity, the American dream is starting to fade and vanish for too many. A new study by the Census Bureau stated that, "Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty last year, a development that is ensnaring growing numbers of children in poverty and offering vivid proof of the devastating impacts of the recession.....The Report portrays a nation where many people are slipping backward in the wake of a downturn that left 14 million people out of work and pushed unemployment to levels not seen in decades."
So sadly this is where our country is in 2011. More and more children are slipping into poverty, some go hungry and others experience anxiety from losing their homes and seeing their parents under great stress.
The Church has always supported workers and a just wage. Our country must put people back to work, to give them back their dignity and their opportunity for a better life. Not just for themselves but for the children in America, who deserve better.