Civic-minded citizens can pitch in to make our society better

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Being recognized by one’s peers and also doing a good deed at the same time is the ultimate accomplishment.

Recently I was fortunate to be honored by the State Bar of Georgia at a ceremony in Atlanta attended by Attorney General Sam Olens and State Bar of Georgia President Robin Frazer Clark, for winning the Small Firm Division of the 2013 Georgia Legal Food Frenzy. Statewide, law offices, legal organizations and law schools raised the equivalent of 842,317 pounds of food in 2013 to help meet the spike in demand that food banks experience over the summer months while students who receive free or reduced school lunches during the year are at home.

This accomplishment by the Georgia Bar in only its second year in participating in this endeavor exceeded the state goal of 750,000 pounds and is a 38 percent increase from last year.

I WOULD BE remiss in not extending credit to members of American Business Clubs, Congregation Children of Israel, clients, family and friends who jointly helped me attain this achievement. For those of you who missed the opportunity to donate locally to Golden Harvest Food Bank, there are many other opportunities available in the near future to include Smart Lunch, Smart Kids; Empty Bowl and It’s Spooky to be Hungry.

The generosity and goodness of our fellow citizens in the fight against hunger in our community is beyond any doubt. Our community exudes kindness and compassion for those who are less fortunate.

Yet food drives such as the just-completed Georgia Legal Food Frenzy are merely a first step and generally just target the symptoms of hunger, not the root causes. Therefore, I feel compelled to challenge and encourage my fellow colleagues and professionals to shift their focus toward the root causes of hunger and poverty. It is not nearly enough to just throw money at the symptoms without addressing the root causes of these deep-seated problems.

OVER THE PAST 50 years or so our federal government has taken the liberty to indulge in massive amounts of public spending initiated under President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs in a well-intentioned but feeble effort to address hunger in America. Yet what do we really have to show for it? An ever-increasing number of Americans on disability and addicted to food stamps are the Great Society’s unintended legacies.

How do we get to the root causes of what has turned out to be a vicious circle?

First, we must acknowledge that money is not the sole answer.

Second, we must reach out to our political leaders of both parties in Atlanta and Washington and demand a long-term commitment. One area that should be focused on is our current tax policy in this country. Perhaps the implementation of a “fair tax” or a similar tax model would be more conducive to a fair and equitable system that would encourage the individual and act as an incentive to private employers to hire the chronic unemployed.

A “fair tax,” if properly enacted, would ensure that individuals are not taxed on their earnings but at the point of consumption, and thereby encouraging the individual to consider saving. Certainty in the tax code and elimination in the loopholes also would incentivize small businesses to hire those caught in the cycle of poverty full time when they might otherwise be reluctant to do so.

Third, we must insist upon devising more creative school choices for our young families by the development of additional charter schools and magnet schools, which would be designed to tap into the God-given abilities and strengths of our children. Our federal government should initiate a Peace Corps-like program to encourage many of our retired senior citizens to share their talents and remarkable work experiences by volunteering in classrooms throughout our country.

Furthermore, if we are willing to insist upon the cutting of the red tape that our educators must circumvent every school day and grant our local school boards the oversight that is currently held in Washington, much can be done to enhance the educational opportunities of future generations.

Next, it is incumbent upon each of us to renew our commitments to churches, synagogues and civic clubs. As affiliations with these noble and worthy institutions have declined over the past generation, likewise the level of poverty has seen a correlating increase. There is substantial data suggesting that we have grown accustomed to our ill-equipped federal government fulfilling the roles of caregiver, carried out with pride by so many civic and religious organizations of yesteryear. These charitable undertakings must be delegated back to the institutions that are better able and capable of dealing with the needs of our local community that they are far more familiar with than a federal bureaucracy that is removed from these needs in time and distance.

EACH parent also has the duty to share with our children the amazing and heart-rending stories of men and women such as pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson, Carnegie Medal and Medal of Honor recipient Jimmie Dyess, and noted author and activist Helen Keller, who all were each able to overcome substantial adversity to make an indelible difference to the lives around them, leaving us with their remarkable legacies. We should embrace their real-life stories as a source of inspiration to our youth, and to redefine success in the eyes of our young people.

So often out of naïvete our children worship at the alter of tarnished athletes and actors/actresses such as Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Lindsey Lohan and the Kardashian sisters. It is tragic that the national media have chosen to focus on the latter depraved individuals who offer no redeeming value to those in need of a genuine role model. Success should be defined by accomplishment and work ethic, not celebrity.

FINALLY, EACH of us can engage in a concerted effort to devote at least one hour of our time a week volunteering in our community, whether it is mentoring children at the Boys and Girls Club; taking the time to show the less fortunate in our society how to cultivate gardens at local community centers; or by simply volunteering time at a food bank, homeless shelter, soup kitchen or hospital. These hands-on opportunities can change the face of our community and can offer hope for the future which money cannot buy.

In the short run, the outpouring of your generosity as reflected in the results of this recent food drive will ease the demand for nutritional sustenance this summer in Augusta and throughout Georgia. However, this is no time to sit on our laurels, as much remains to be done if we earnestly hope to break the cycle of poverty in our midst. As it has been said by anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

(The writer is an Augusta
attorney.)

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deestafford
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deestafford 07/07/13 - 12:30 am
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The topic of this column sort of reminds me of the signs you see

in many national parks and wilderness areas: "DON'T FEED THE BEARS!" When you ask why can't you feed the bears you're told that if humans feed the bears, they will quit hunting for food on their own and depend on humans to supply them with food.

That's sort of what has happened to many "poor" people as the result of LBJ's "Great Society" and follow on politicians creating the safety hammocks on the liberal plantation.

The recommendations addressed in the column make senses to me. The more that can be done at the local level the better off things will be. If people have to go face-to-face with who they are getting handouts from it will cause them to feel some shame and want to do things for themselves and work and get pride in themselves. Get rid of the faceless federal nanny.

Also, set up a community work program for those who get assistance and are physically able to work. No work--no assistance. After all, that assistance--be it a canned good or anything else--was a result of someone's labor to make the money to buy it. There is no reason the person receiving the assistance cannot labor for it if they are physically able. There is work that can be performed sitting at a desk as well has manual labor cleaning up River Walk or something.

Giving the people the opportunity to earn their assistance will begin to help them with their lack of dignity.

myfather15
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myfather15 07/07/13 - 05:44 am
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2

LBJ knew exactly what he was doing!!

People try to say he was "helping the poor." That's crap!! LBJ through some of his own quotes, knew exactly what he was doing, which was to create dependency upon the government!! He knew exactly what the repercussions would be, but he didn't care. He had a bigger picture to worry about!!

Just like Margaret Sanger has a bigger picture when creating planned parenthood!! She knew exactly WHO would be using her group more than anyone else. MINORITIES, especially poor minorities!! She knew her plan would work to reduce the number of minorities. People don't even realize planned parenthood was started as a racist organization, and that is pathetic!! Black people as well as many other ethnicities, run to planned parenthood daily; and every time Margaret Sangers gets a big smile on her racist face!!

When people become uninterested in whats going on in the Country and easily influenced by fables, like America is BAD; the Country is doomed!! But that is exactly the purpose of the radical left in the Country. To tear down the foundations of this Country and build in new, in the image they want!! Satan's exact plan against God, way back when!!

corgimom
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corgimom 07/07/13 - 06:19 am
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Margaret Sanger wasn't any

Margaret Sanger wasn't any more racist than anybody else back in her era.

To apply today's attitudes to those of 100 years ago is absurd.

Because myfather, the chances are close to 100% that your ancestors felt pretty much the same way she did.

But don't confuse people with the facts.

myfather15
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myfather15 07/07/13 - 08:25 am
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That is crap!!

Did your parents and grandparents teach you to hate ANYONE because of their skin tone? Mine didn't!! My parents taught me the exact same as MLK taught "Judge by the content of their character, not color of skin!!"

You can make excuses for Margaret Sanger (liberal hero) but the fact is she was not only a racist, she WORKED HARD against races, especially black people. It's HER WORDS, not mine.

That's like saying ALL people in the 1800's hated black people and owned slaves!! Slaves were owned by a very small percentage of the population and those were the RICH PEOPLE!! Even many of the founding fathers, although some own slaves, wrote of how atrocious slavery was. But they were fighting against the RULING CLASS, which was extremely wealthy, therefore they had MUCH influence and power. Yes, people's mindset back then wasn't then wasn't exactly on civil rights, but the common people didn't go around hating everyone because they were a certain color!

I venture by your "chances are close to 100%" that you think Abraham Lincoln was a racist also, is that right? What about the rest of those "old white men" who voted FOR the 13th Amendment, were they racist also?

This is where I have a problem with those I usually refer to as liberal!! Why do people make excuses for such disgusting people? Why can a liberal not call a spade, a spade?

deestafford
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deestafford 07/07/13 - 08:29 am
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If one checks history they would find that Sanger was

part of the eugenics movement that was popular among the "elite" in those days. She was not about birth control, she was about people control. And one of the groups of people she wanted to control were the blacks because she considered the race as a whole to be subhuman.

myfather15
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myfather15 07/07/13 - 08:56 am
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deestafford

Exactly!! Sanger wasn't about birth control but wanted to "assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit."

And that is a direct quote for HER, not me!! Now which RACE would that be and which did she see as UNFIT?

Another quote "we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."

She didn't want the "word" or truth to get out, about her plan, in case the more rebellious members figured out what she was doing, so she used ignorant people to further her agenda!!

Even Angela Davis (HARD LEFTISTS ACTIVIST/admitted communist) who I could NOT disagree with more on almost everything; knows Sanger was a devout racist!! How can anyone EVER tout Sanger as any type of hero? Confusion, thats how!! Confuse the people of whats true and what isn't!!

chascushman
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chascushman 07/07/13 - 09:09 am
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2

" People try to say he was

Unpublished

" People try to say he was "helping the poor." That's crap!! LBJ through some of his own quotes, knew exactly what he was doing, which was to create dependency upon the government!! He knew exactly what the repercussions would be, but he didn't care. He had a bigger picture to worry about!!"
myfather, you are correct. I find it astonishing that black people hold LBJ as a hero when he was a blatant racist. LBJ blocked Ike's civil rights bill in 1957.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 07/07/13 - 10:16 am
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The truth will set you Free. It may not make you happy.

Unpublished

The truth will set you Free. It may not make you happy.

soapy_725
43306
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soapy_725 07/07/13 - 10:17 am
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Use the black ministers to preach socialism. Gotta luv it.

Unpublished

Use the black ministers to preach socialism. Gotta luv it.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 07/07/13 - 10:54 am
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The reason this happens

So often out of naïvete our children worship at the alter of tarnished athletes and actors/actresses such as Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Lindsey Lohan and the Kardashian sisters. It is tragic that the national media have chosen to focus on the latter depraved individuals who offer no redeeming value to those in need of a genuine role model.
-----------------------------------------------------------

People without JOBS have time to sit at home & watch this crap......when we get more jobs BACK in the USA & yes we can thank all side of the political fence .......that is when we will see less of the trash on tv.........as much as I agree with my Rep firends ..I still see the problem is not 1 sided...imo

myfather15
42140
Points
myfather15 07/07/13 - 11:34 am
3
1

SeenitB4

Ooooooh, I hope you don't think I disagree with your last sentence! Anyone who has seen my comments on here the last couple years, knows I'm no fan of ANY political party!! I think politicians are ALL corrupt!! They all do whatever they can do get THEMSELVES and their PARTY members reelected!! I think there are VERY few who actually care about the average citizen, if there are any!! They might go up there caring, but once there for a while; they turn into career politicians!! We NEED term limits for ALL!!

seenitB4
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seenitB4 07/07/13 - 01:08 pm
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myfather

My post was NOT aimed at you.....in general we agree about the politicians....it seems they walk through a mind machine in DC & it scrambles their brains...
I truly feel our biggest problem in the US is our lopsided national news...they cater to the biggest mouths...as much as I hate the P Deen episode I do see that it has brought hyprocrisy to the forefront....also the T Martin case.....the truth is this..

MORE blacks are killed by OTHER blacks...everyday & every year..

P Deen is NOT the only one uttering a racist word...we hear it CONSTANTLY on the radio--tv--etc...where is the OUTRAGE...

We have sat calmly by & said NOTHING about this because of the bias --slanted news in the US....afraid of being called a name--like racist...when we know the truth.

Darby
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Darby 07/10/13 - 05:34 pm
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"How can anyone EVER tout Sanger

as any type of hero?"

.
Sanger WAS a hero, just as the bloodthirsty Che Guevara was.

You know what the libs tell us... One man's hero is another man's terrorist.

Nelson Mandela will go to his grave as a hero. That doesn't negate the fact that he ordered the deaths of hundreds (perhaps thousands) who opposed the ANC.

A little line blurring can go a long way. As does the concept of moral equivalence.

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