Anytime that political decisions are made which benefit business and manufacturing giants at the expense of the least of America’s citizens, it is a black eye on America’a greatness. Arguments can be made with powerful words and majestic phrases but they all become vile and offensive if the smallest of America’s citizenry is left behind. I am convinced that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is the most destructive travesty that has ever been perpetrated on the American people. NAFTA only helps big business. It cripples the American people.
I was once told that it would help third world countries to rise into the realm of world class competition in manufacturing. This is partially true but before you cut the throat of the unskilled and laborers in America by sending unskilled jobs overseas, you have to have a contingency plan to make sure these people you are disenfranchising work-wise are taken care of. A large percentage of American’s, especially in the south are dependant upon textiles and other manufacturing jobs that no one else wants, but these jobs are the life blood to these communities. Have you been to Detroit lately? It is like a ghost town in the manufacturing sectors. Would you take the very means your family needs to be taken care of and give it away continuously without keeping enough to make sure your own family was taken care of? Of course you wouldn’t, but this is exactly what NAFTA has done. NAFTA has left entire communities devastated while filling the coffers of manufacturing giants.
Most of those in support of NAFTA have never been involved with the poor in America. Take a trip sometime into the poor neighborhoods. Don’t just drive through with your nose in the air in the comfort of an air conditioned car. Get out and mingle. Knock on their doors and tell them you would like to talk with them about the situation NAFTA has left America in. You cannot just start talking to them about NAFTA. You must be honest with them. Introduce yourself and tell them you are trying to get their input as a working man or woman because it is valuable to you and you want them to be open and honest with you about it. It may take them a few moments to warm up to you. They are used to being pushed aside by what they consider wealthy people. They are used to not having anyone care about what they think. They will probably have some apprehension. Usually, anytime someone comes to them it is to give them bad news or to try and collect a bill. Their fears are not how third world countries are growing. They will more than likely see NAFTA as simply another stumbling block on the road of life, put there by corporate greed and politics.
Their concerns are where will they get money to put food on the table or how they can pay the rent so they can have a place for their kids to sleep. They go to yard sales and to the Salvation Army to buy clothes or wear hand-me-downs. Christmas to these kids is getting something new to wear to school. No matter what they get, they will probably hug their parents and tell them they love it, then hold the disappointment inside of them. Poor people sit most months and try to figure out what bills they can pay and still be able to buy groceries. They have to let a bill go so they can let their kids go to the movies. They do this because it is so painful to see the disappointment grow in the eyes of their children because of their poverty. They have said no so many times it is hard to deny them small things. Bills take second place to living because they see no way out of their situation. They shed tears over their helplessness. They see corporate executives steal millions and mock America’s justice system and they or their husbands get locked up in jail for months because they write a bad check to feed their children or to buy medicine. Usually the husband is the one who writes the bad check so it will be him that goes to jail because the mother is needed so badly at home. This makes him lose what little job he has and then they have people look down on them because they live like they do. They do without everything from clothes to medical help so their childrens needs can be taken care of.
These people are not on drugs although a lot of times they live in drug infested areas. These people are poor. I have known people like this. These people are good, decent people. They go to some small church where they will not be looked down upon because of their poverty. I have preached in their churches. I have visited in their homes. I have ate at their tables. I have sat on torn couches and played with their children. These same children have grown up and went into the military, not because it is the cool thing to do but because it is their best chance for a better life and training in a skill. These young people, just like others across America of every class and color are fighting for freedom and you try to lay stumbling blocks in front of the President and the military to make it hard on them. You hypocrite. You are aiding the enemies of America and killing America’s sons and daughters for political posturing. You should shut up and let the military handle Iraq by whatever means they deem necessary with the least amount of lost American life.
I have seen whites, blacks, and indians living in homes with dirt floors that were rock hard because they had been swept clean so much. I have seen them and walked with them in their low income housing. I have seen the pain in their eyes as they raised their children among the drugs and violence with no hope or help except prayer and love to keep their children away from these things. The most valuable thing they possess is each other. I have wept because I wished I could help them and I couldn’t. You see, I know so much about poor people because I was raised poor in the mountains of North Carolina. I have woke up in the night and seen a Wharf Rat on the corner of my bed. I have went to sleep to the heat of a coal stove that was red to the chimney and gotten up in the morning to water frozen in the toilet. I have worn home made clothes to school and lived with other kids laughing at me. I grew up making friends with anyone that would have anything to do with me. My dad was a great and wonderful man. He was simply poor. I have gotten angry because I have heard people talk about how they could not have compassion on the poor. I have heard other Pastors who were well thought of in communities say they could not have compassion on the poor. The people who went to these churches talked about how great a preacher these men were. I started preaching on the streets and jails. I have seen how poor people are treated if they walk into the uptown church. I have heard the remarks and saw the sighs of relief when these poor people did not sit on the pew close to them.
I love poor people. They are honest with an honestly they live with every day. If their views are distorted, it is because their life-view is distorted. You can talk with them. They will not bite you. They will laugh and smile with you. They will invite you to eat with them but you will probably be too concerned over “cleanliness” to accept. They will probably pray for you. They will probably tell you that they have the Lord and they are happy. Before a person preaches to me about the benefits of NAFTA, let that person go to the people they are killing and get their support for it.
Your main argument is that these people can get retrained for another job. A lot of these people do not have a high school education and trade school will not take them. The amount of time to get the education, if they could afford it, would take them away from the needs and struggles of their home too much for them to be able to do it. They would have to go to classes at night to get their HS ed. and who would look after their kids. Will you? They are caught in a trap they do not know how to escape from and NAFTA is like hitting them in the head with a giant stick. Think about the catastrophic effects on the poor before you bring in a system like NAFTA that pushes these citizens of America further into the dirt and quagmire of hopelessness. I see America’s manufacturing giants going overseas for cheaper labor and more profits. Any other reason given by them is a mockery to truth. They are spitting in the face of America’s poor. This is wrong and it should not be allowed to continue. NAFTA reminds me of what Jesus said to the legalistic religous crowd, Mat 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Where will justice for America’s poor come from. I don’t think they will find it in this world but I do know and believe with all of my heart that justice is on the way. Jesus is coming soon. God bless you by letting his light shine upon you and yours.