Living along the margins

November 6, 2015

In the minds of many, the standing of any great nation should not be found in how large its economy becomes, the projected power of its standing military, the amount of scholars it produces, the size of its manufacturing base…but should be measured by how it treats its people regardless of their socioeconomic status. Regardless of where you travel in America, from big cities, the ‘burbs, villages, rural and small towns…you can find people and families “living along the margins” in our economy. This is considered living outside the “normal” or “mainstream” or on the “edges of society.” We have all seen it, perhaps experienced an episode or two of it or know of people who are currently trapped in the “margins” of our society. The margins are areas of time/space in which people have just enough on which to survive or to just get by.

They have no leeway or room for anything to go wrong. For people “living along the margins” in our economy is just as much of a way of life and how things will continue to unfold in this 21st century. There are a number of reasons and contributing factors why people are living there; for some it is by choice, complacency and some because of circumstances. Some find themselves being marginalized because of their race, criminal history or disenfranchised from participating in the political process. Additionally, many people find themselves there due to living in poverty, homelessness, low wages, incurable mental illness and physical disabilities.

In addition, others are struggling with drug additions, domestic violence, discrimination, illiteracy or overcoming long term traumatic experiences from military service. In spite of how, why and when people begin “living along the margins,” there is a need for acknowledgement of this reality and that those trapped along these “edges” cannot be ignored. This concept demands that people have equal rights and opportunities, regardless of who they are, where they live and where they come from. The day is gone when we can afford to look the other way and pretend that the people on the margins of society do not exist… they just need some respect, understanding and an even playing field. What do you think?