A Noticeable Gap – Inez Knows
By Inez Lanns
It is almost that time of the year – election time! And I have made quite a few observations over the past few months. I have sat back and watched our elected officials and those who desire to be elected into office engage in our community. I have been talking to more people dealing with anxiety and depression due to the crisis of life and different situations coming against them. There are many who are really struggling in this community. Months ago we had a family dinner with a woman and her four children. I later found out they were staying in a homeless shelter. Recently I also took someone to a homeless shelter because she was seeking a place to stay. Then about a week ago my daughter sat in my car and cried very large tears, pleading to allow her to give this homeless man one dollar so that he could buy 2 tacos from Jack N The Box. There are small acts of kindness that we can all undertake to make changes in the lives of those who have less than we do. We don’t have to possess great authority, just a great level of compassion. There are a lot of hurting people out there who need help. Sometimes they do not ask for help because of what people would think, and sometimes there is no help available to them. As we look towards participation in the electoral process my heart has been searching for our community to address these and other underlying community issues.
On one hand I see people who have the power to make decisions, who have influence to help make things better (or worse). Yet, many others have no clue about the struggles and suffering of those on our very own door steps. Some in authority in our area want to help while many others want to turn their heads and ignore these major issues going on around us. People who are struggling with day-to-day life can’t think about who they would like to elect into office or what extracurricular activities to get involved in, if they are busy trying to figure out to keep a roof over their family’s head and food on the table. The situation has really gotten out of hand. There is a song by Brandon Heath that speaks to the sterugles that go on all around us, and yet many of us live unawares or unmoved. Some lyrics from “Give Me Your Eyes:”
“All those people goin’ somewhere. Why have I never cared? Give me Your eyes for just one second. Give me Your eyes so I can see, Everything that I keep missing. Give me Your love for humanity. Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted, The ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me Your eyes so I can see.”
Are we and our leaders in tune with the common man? The reason I began to get involved in my community is because I am aware that decisions affecting our everyday lives are being made by some who may not be inturn with the real issues that affect other people’s lives. I have sat in many meetings with people who have good hearts and the right motives, but they really have no idea how to effectively fix some of the real life problems. And yet we all have a part to play in effecting change, be it through voting, financial supports or contribution of our time and talents. For those without the means to make a difference in the community, electing or reelecting officals to oversee this process is of the utmost importance.
I know that each and every person matters and decisions are constantly being made that affect all of us – decisions like how much minimum wage should be or making sure every person has access to health care. However, I don’t think that sweeping these things under the rug is the answer. I know that some people say that they don’t vote or believe in politics, and that their vote doesn’t count anyway. But that is a big myth. Each and every vote counts. I want to encourage everyone to find out what people running for office truly believe in – look at their track record, their accomplishments, find out what they have supported and been against in the past. Find out what different propositions mean and how they will affect your life. Taking an active part in the election process, by at least knowing who and what you are voting for.
I am not sure what can be done about the gap between the very wealthy and the large population of people who are working very hard to make ends meet who all live in our same society, but each and every person is a part of our community. I am not going to tell you who to vote for, but I am going to ask you to please take the time to know who and what you are voting for and be sure to take time to see those around you so that you too can make a difference.
Inez Lanns was born and raised in Ventura County. She currently owns an Internet Marketing & Communications business called Inez Knows. She also writes on her blog on her web site: www.inezknows.com.