Sunday, November 18, 2018

Politics: I Dare You: Trade Places.

July 21, 2014 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Actress Bridget Moynahan is currently living on a $1.50 a day diet. Why would such a talented, accomplished, and successful celebrity would do such a thing? I’m glad you asked. She’s doing this for the simplest of reasons: to call attention to poverty here in America. If only our Democratic and Republican Senators, Congressmen, and Governors would willingly do the same. Here’s a rather novel idea. Why don’t they trade places with one of their disadvantaged constituents once a year?

That’s so advanced, it’s simple.

If I had the power to make it so, I would require them to live the conviction of their words before they voted on crucial legislative issues.idareyou-2014

Over the weekend, I was blessed enough to watch several episodes of the excellent History Channel documentary series, “Vietnam in HD.” This documentary was a visual and aural testimony of the Vietnam War from every conceivable angle. It featured the words of soldiers who survived Vietnam – and those who did not survive. It displayed footage which was as brutal as it was honest. News reels jumped from the soldiers firing in rice paddies to Presidents Johnson and Nixon in the White House trying to determine the best way to get out of an ever-expanding war. “Vietnam in HD” should be mandatory viewing for any politician about to vote on sending American soldiers into harm’s way. They should be forced to watch every single second.

Any Senator – whether progressive or conservative – who thinks that unemployment insurance benefits make those who receive them lazy, try trading places. Go home to your district, find a constituent currently receiving unemployment benefits, and move in with that person for a week. Watch how he or she makes ends meet from a front row seat. Eat what he or she eats. Go where he or she goes; especially on job interviews. I can guarantee that Senator would have a newfound appreciation for those struggling to re-enter the job market.

If any member of Congress thinks it’s easy for an American citizen who is a member of the working poor to live on food stamps, take the Pepsi challenge. Try living on food stamps yourself, Congressperson. Walk a mile in a poor person’s shoes. Within 72 hours, you’d be begging for your I-phone, your credit cards, and your administrative staff.

Governor, if you think Obamacare is a waste of taxpayer dollars – and you’re opposed to Medicaid expansion – try trading places for a spell. I dare you. Move in with someone who is sick and uninsured for a couple of days. Watch in horror as your temporary roommate grapples daily with the choice no one should ever have to: should I buy food – or should I buy my medication? Perhaps your heart would grow a size or two.

So you think being a teacher is easy, State Senators? As you professional officeholders sit in judgment within your Corinthian leather chairs, consider this. Teachers are absolutely essential in every culture, civilization, and nation. Those who educate our youth are some of the most underappreciated, most overworked, and most underpaid professionals in our entire society. Any legislator in any state who would actually consider slashing school funding should serve as a substitute teacher for one day. Or shadow a tenured teacher for two days. Witnessing a teacher ply his or her craft in overcrowded classrooms, in underfunded schools, in the midst of the barrage of socioeconomic/environmental issues might help you to vote out of conscience rather than out of convenience.

Elected leaders, you clearly need further insight on the issue of meaningful immigration legislation. The current humanitarian crisis on our border with Mexico is as tragic as it is avoidable. Those to the right of common sense try quite unsuccessfully to pin this problem solely on President Obama. That foolish hypothesis has been sounded rejected by the American people because immigration reform has been deterred and deferred for decades. Not months, not years: decades. This burning issue has been kicked more times than a soccer ball at the World Cup. If I had my way, every Senator and Congressman would be required to spend 72 hours sequestered inside a U.S. Border Patrol detention center – without their driver’s license, ID, or cellphone. Eat what the detainees eat. Sleep on the same concrete floors. Deal with the same inhumane conditions they do. If they did so, I think immigration reform would finally be addressed seriously.

Too many holders of high political office have forgotten where they came from. Or they haven’t known the hardships the average American faces daily. It’s past time they learned. 

Ignorance is no excuse.

Bridget Moynahan is doing the right thing for the right reason. I challenge our Senators, Congressmen, and Governors to do the same. Step up, leaders. Trade places – if you dare.

Staff Writer; Arthur L. Jones, III

This talented brother is a local Minister, weekly featured Democratic Op-Ed columnist, non-profit advisor, and sees the Braves winning it all this fall. Rev. Jones welcomes your comments! Please email him directly at:



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