Letter to the Editor

Published 4:06 am Monday, June 25, 2007

By Staff
Local disagrees with Smith
The sophomoric ramblings of Tray Smith neither improve the journalistic stature of The Atmore Advance, nor the education of its readers. It is astonishing that he is allotted a half page of copy every week. Usually I just ignore his space, but once in a while something catches my eye and I actually read it.
In the Sunday, June 10, issue, he declares that "…poverty is a behavioral problem." Only if it were that simple! That ignorant statement is right up there on the ridiculous scale with his earlier declaration that the City of Atmore's Animal Control Unit operates like Stalin ruled Russia.
If Tray Smith would open his eyes, and walk around Atmore; he would see poverty that rivals any "third world country." He would find hundreds of people – honest, hard-working people – who are living in houses that are falling down around their heads. He would have no trouble finding people right here in our town with no running water, or electricity or adequate plumbing. He would find countless people who don't know when they will eat again. I agree that in any hierarchical society, which is ours, especially one in which the economy is so skewed in favor of the wealthy; there will always be a 'bottom.' I also agree that teenagers having babies and students not finishing high school are deplorable problems, and contribute to 'poverty,' but they are complex problems deeply rooted in our society. The assessment that poor people today may be "better off" than were our ancestors (a totally subjective judgment), is irrelevant to solving today's problems.
I do not believe that anyone- least of all John Edwards- is "pretending the poverty problem can be solved by a web of new public services." If that were the case, poverty would have disappeared long ago. I do believe that in this day and time, in this country that prides itself on being one of the wealthiest in the world, that each person has the right to a decent standard of living. I believe that each one of us has the right to a living space that is safe, secure and sanitary. I believe that each person has the right to a basic education that will prepare informed citizens to take care of themselves and contribute in a positive way to the larger society. I believe that each one of us has the right to have access to good quality health care services. And I believe that this country is so fortunate and well-endowed that we should be able to take care of those citizens who cannot take care of themselves and remove the barriers for those who are overwhelmed by hopelessness.
Tray Smith has the right to express his opinions, and I am grateful to live in a society where that can be done openly. Thank goodness I have the right not to read them!
Sarah Atkeison

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