A shot at redemption

“As I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong.”

homeless-woman-with-signThere was a woman outside of my building at work on Good Friday. She had a sign made from cardboard box that said, “HOMELESS.” I gave her a dollar; sometimes I’m moved in these situations, and sometimes not, I don’t know why.

I could see the man right behind me with the Look. You know, “Don’t give that woman money. She should be working. Maybe she’s on drugs.You’re enabling her. She may be lying to you.” Or whatever.

Well, maybe, but that’s on her, not me.

And I can just read about what I thought was a revolutionary transformation by an unlikely source: Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He said, as reported in the religious magazine Sojourners, of his past comments about the poor:

“There was a time when I would talk about a difference between ‘makers’ and ‘takers’ in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. ‘Takers’ wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.”

Now some folks, understandably, thought these were cheap words, and I understand that. What actions will come from the budget process? Still, he’s a guy apologizing, when admitting culpability, in this election cycle, has been in short supply.

And on this Easter Sunday, I choose to believe, in the lyrics of Paul Simon, “These are the days of miracle and wonder“. Perhaps Ryan wants “a shot at redemption.” To which I say, “‘Amen!’ and ‘Hallelujah!'”

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “A shot at redemption”

  1. Count me in the “Show me with policy” camp when it comes to Paul Ryan’s ‘apology’. Ryan is the policy wonk of the Tea Party right, and I am not the least bit inclined to credit an apology if it’s followed by the same old heartless policies that funnel money to the top while actively punishing the poor.

  2. An unusual and refreshing occurrence for a poltician to admit they got something wrong – more of them should try it. Some will view it cynically, like the man who gave you the look, but as you say, that’s on Ryan, not on you.

  3. Rog, you are more charitable than I. Paul Ryan has been on the poor like a dog with a bone for years, and the ironic part is that, after his dad died when he was younger, he benefited from Social Security, the very plan he wants to gut.

    He is poising himself to the the “savior of the party” at the convention. I would take anything he says in the way of mea culpas with about a cup and a half of salt. But you know me, cynical to the end….

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