By Roy D. Malonson
Atticus Finch once stated that, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Recently, the Mayor of Phoenix Greg Stanton, attempted to live on a food stamp budget for one week. Stanton was challenged by local activist groups to do the task that so many of Americans do day after day, week after week and year after year. One thing I will say is that I have to respect the Mayor for considering the challenge and yet holding true to it.
Although, it only lasted a week the challenge that Mayor Stanton took on gave him insight as to how the people that he represents survive and live on a daily basis.
The Mayor’s challenge consisted merely of a week’s sacrifice of living off of $29. However, by the fourth day of this challenge Stanton had began to become tired and unable to focus.
The following entails Stanton’s account of the challenge:
“Ok- ran out the door today with no time to scramble eggs or even make a sandwich. So I’m surviving on an apple and handful of peanuts, and the coffee I took to the office until dinner. I’m tired, and it’s hard to focus. I can’t go buy a sandwich because that would be cheating – even the dollar menu at Taco Bell is cheating. “
“You can’t use SNAP benefits at any restaurants, fast food or otherwise. I’m facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making everything from scratch on this budget. It’s only for a week, so I’ve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant.”
Fortunately, for the Mayor, he is not amongst the 1.1 million residents of Arizona who have to rely totally on government assistance as it relates to nutrition needs and sources.
Perhaps in the future when the Mayor is representing Arizonians he will be more considerate of the needs of the people of which he was been chosen to represent.
No doubt Mayor Stanton before he began this challenge, already had problems and burdens of his own that were much more pressing than worrying about the ills of eating.
However, Stanton simply faced a harsh reality that so many members from the our communities have become accustomed to living with. Yet even with perseverance the fact remains that the budgets that many low-income households receive from the government aren’t merely enough to take care of one’s self, less known attempt to raise children on.
As a result, you have children going to school malnourished, not able to focus, concentrate nor study and are clearly fatigue.
Now, the mayor denotes his actions after only four days of being on such a diet. Just imagine how many children and families that are victims to the same lifestyle every day of their lives.
It is difficult to totally sympathize, understand or feel the pain, situation or disparity of a person if you cannot relate or have never been in the situation that he or she is in or has been in.
Many people sit back, complain and cast their opinions about situations and how they would have handled them much more differently than the next man or woman had they been placed in it. Nevertheless, at the end of the day it does not mean anything if you have never walked a mile in that person’s shoes.
By Roy D. Malonson