SIMMONS: A night with the poor not necessary to understand poverty

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Happy birthday to us.

With many of my colleagues, I spent Tuesday evening listening, meeting, greeting and breaking bread with people honoring The Washington Times’ 30th anniversary and paying homage to our founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who was called home last month.

Many of the lively discussions, as you might imagine, spun around liberal and conservative points of view on everything from faith and family values, which are cornerstones of The Times, to stinging criticism of the Obama administration’s defense and national security policies from former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Post-celebration chatter was engaging, too.

I asked a guest what Mitt Romney could do to get a bird’s-eye view of struggling Americans.

Romney nailed his coffin with his comments about the 47 percent,” criminal defense lawyer DeLois Steverson Nicholas, who worked in the Johnson administration, said of the Republican presidential nominee.

Then she added: “He needs to spend a night in the projects with people who are not as fortunate as he is.”

In other words, she said Mr. Romney needs to know what poverty looks like.

I’m not sure you need to live in poverty or even be an acquaintance of someone who is poor to know what poverty looks like.

Being a member of the faith, hope and charity crowd seems to be one of humanity’s strongest suits, regardless of which rung you are perched on along the lengthy economic ladder.

But when you are a candidate for president, you must tread honestly.

Take John Edwards.

Born to working-class parents, he later became a wealthy and successful trial lawyer, and as a politician supported anti-poverty programs.

I haven’t a clue as whether Mr. Edwards ever set foot in the projects or laid his head down in close proximity to poor people once he could afford $400 coifs.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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