Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
I respond to Thomas B. Mattocks’ letter (“Solutions Needed,” July 29). In it he paraphrases comments made by Kevin Smith in his July 22 column regarding folks who may have difficulty obtaining a government photo ID to vote.
Mr. Mattocks wrote, “He (Mr. Smith) claims it’s a ‘hardship’ getting a ride to go stand in line at the DMV and yet, if that was the only place to buy lottery tickets and cigarettes, I bet those ‘poor’ people would have no trouble finding a ride to stand in line.”
In the 1970s, my husband and I and our two young sons moved from western New York state to the inner city of Washington, D.C. We were part of the ministries of the ecumenical Church of the Savior. I was not prepared for urban living. Early on, when I drove to the post office to pick up a package, I was not prepared for the crowd of people waiting in lines. I turned to the woman behind me to ask if she thought my car was OK. She looked at me with a smile that lit up the entire post office and with a shy giggle said, “Honey, I have never been inside a car.”
This was the first of many wake-up calls during our sojourn in D.C. Poverty exists. It exists not only in urban areas, but also in the North Carolina Sandhills. It is real. It hurts. It is debilitating. And yes, in the 20th and 21st centuries in America, there are people who might have difficulty finding a ride to the DMV or any government office to get a photo ID.
I am reminded of the wisdom in the Native American saying to not judge others until you have walked at least a mile in their shoes.
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