As winter fights to make its last stand, I can't help but think of the tens of thousands of Americans sleeping this night with no shelter. In our benchmark study on public opinion and domestic human rights (2007), you could see it in the stars, that America was in favor of a change that lifted us all up closer toward opportunity for all. Even though a large majority of Americans were for expanding human rights (67%), issues like housing still ranked low (51%) compared to that of equal opportunity regardless of race, or quality education. Yet having a roof over your head is one of the most vital securities needed to maintain a stable existance, the foundation needed for not just obtaining the reach of opportunity, but even maintaining a status quo of existence.
I'm curious to see if this low number toward housing has shifted, due in part to the personal experience that now millions of Americans have toward housing. President Obama noted it last night—indeed it is one of the great challenges our country faces. And as we strive toward real change, its critical to look into the lives of those who struggle the most, so that we might be truly transparent as a community, assuring that everyone—even those who sleep in the darkness of subway tunnels—have a chance at bettering their lives during this era of great change.
Indeed, struggle bring solidarity. And the struggles we face now as a nation, I believe, will bring us greater change in the long run. Those issues that American's championed more strongly, like equal opportunity regardless of race, or quality education, are issues that have stories deeply rooted in their own personal experiences. Not everyone has been homeless, but most have gone to public schools, and others have had sick grandparents with high medical costs. Now that housing has become something personal, perhaps America is in a position to look face to face with one of the more serious conditions holding back people from opportunity—the lack of the fundamental security needed for human survival.
Having said this, it is good for us to look toward change that looks at the things we often try not to see, turning our gaze away whenever hardship looks us straight into our blind eyes.