Letter to the editor: Stop ‘messing around’ with poverty, reader says


To the editor:

There’s no excuse for food insecurity on the scale we have now in Iowa. We live smack dab right in the middle of some of the best farmland in the world, and we have hungry people right here in Perry.

Between the row crops in tiled fields and the CAFOs that produce more feces daily than most small cities, Iowa is the largest single polluter of the Mississippi River watershed and Gulf of Mexico.

What with all the bee-killing farm pesticides and other chemicals used to grow genetically modified corn, Iowa farmland grows less nutritious food for human consumption than it does for high fructose corn syrup and cheap plastic products.

We have landowners around here who control entire counties’ worth of farm ground. They use combines the size of small houses that only the big boys like themselves can afford to own.

Despite all the wealth, productivity and toxic wastes generated in Iowa, we have people right here in Perry who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

As Lois Hoger said in her letter about the Perry Area Food Pantry, most of the people on food assistance are working poor and those left destitute by disability or age. Yes, there are some who can work, but what is their motivation? Most of these folks have given up because working two or three jobs for chump change still isn’t enough. If they don’t work, they starve. If they do work, they still starve. So what’s the difference?

Of course, contributions by the likes of Osmundson’s help, but it still isn’t enough. Believe me, I’m more than grateful for those corporate charities, but it still isn’t enough. No, food banks, charities, food assistance and what have you are not enough. I’m not ungrateful for it all. I’m glad for it all, but charity isn’t the answer. What we need is systemic change.

No, we’ll probably never totally do away with poverty. There will always be those who fall between the cracks. Even Jesus said the poor will always be with us.

I’m not calling for some kind of utopian paradise. Despite what some people would have you believe, I’m not really a socialist. There’s nothing wrong with the pursuit of wealth provided any negative impacts on others and the planet are minimal. Still, I’m saying that what we’re doing now isn’t working. We need to stop messing around.

The ecology as well as our society are both approaching tipping points. It’s in our power to avoid the consequences of our stupidity, but we first must admit what we have now isn’t working. After we face the reality of our predicament, only then can we can discuss what we can do about it.

Admit it. What we’re doing now isn’t working. Ask the hungry ones in Perry.

Nick Eakins


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