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Richard Walden

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No Love, No Money for Nonprofits in Election Season

Posted: 03/16/2012 5:24 pm

Is it me or do most people feel a growing sense of despair as American politics descends into the abyss of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)? You'd think the Cold War was still a fact of life as politicians and their wildly overpaid consultants and media strategists lob one stray missile after another at each other, collateral damage being an accepted fact of life.

I believe the most damage is being done by the way we practice "democracy" in this country. It gravely damages the fabric of our now-tattered social contract. Look at how we treat those among us: people in need; those in poor health without health insurance; our increasingly mal-educated, uncompetitive children; and, women of all ages (but most recently of child-bearing age -- the new Ground Zero for the Cavemen and Cavewomen we put in elective office in the nether-regions of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona -- you know, THOSE PLACES with a solid majority of THOSE PEOPLE).

The small nonprofit social service agencies -- our social safety net -- and whom we take for granted, are really getting it handed to them this political season. Not only have their meager government contracts been cut-back or wiped out altogether, but the people they help have nowhere to go unless they consider migrating to Sweden or Canada... .or maybe even Cuba.

The estimated $5 billion-$6 billion in private contributions to politicians, PACs or political parties comes from discretionary funds people could otherwise donate or invest in something vastly more useful than a political campaign. Of course, I understand that retiring our cavemen and cavewomen from public office is a highly attractive proposition; and so, too, is protecting the few we need to keep in in high places. It's the aesthetics, however, of getting through this period which are painful indeed.

As one man's contribution to the political discourse this season, please accept the following: for every dollar you give a "Pol, PAC or Party," try to match it with a dollar wisely chosen to meet human needs at your most trusted nonprofit. (Mine is Operation USA, www.opusa.org.) They need it and will appreciate endlessly the thought and the wisdom behind your tax-deductible gift.

 

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