Steven Klinger rolled his rusted tan pickup truck to a stop on a cold morning, shutting off the engine at 4 a.m. After wrapping himself in a bright green blanket, he gazed at his girlfriend's photo dangling from the rear view mirror, snuggled deep into the driver's seat and waited 4 1/2 hours for the food pantry to open.Why this story must be making the Republicans so nervous is not because of the horrible condition of our nations poor and supposed middle class it is that these people are finally realizing the connection between the lack of participation in the political process and their own political fortunes.
Fifteen cars were ahead of Klinger on this Monday, and by the time the sun peeked over the trees about 200 vehicles had lined up behind him, straddling the gravel berm and the potholed highway for nearly 2 miles. Scores of other vehicles would arrive in the next few hours, stretching the caravan's length.
Twice a month, every month, cars line up to get a box of food from the wooden pallets at the Smith Chapel Food Pantry in this gray southeast Ohio town. The only thing that changes is that the lines and the wait get longer and, alarmingly, the food gets scarcer.
All but forgotten in the compulsory presidential campaign pledges to fight for the middle class is the plight of growing numbers of people like Klinger and the crumbling system in Ohio that is designed to help 1.5 million residents whose status falls several rungs short of middle class.
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, said recently that the state's emergency food network "is on the verge of collapsing under unprecedented demand." Food donations, from private and government sources, are down, and in November, 1.1 million Ohioans received food stamps, the highest number in the state's history.
"I think people have drawn the connection between their problems—health care, the price of gas, losing their job, the cost of the war, the tattered social safety net—and the government," Frech said. "If we as a country saw people someplace else waiting in line for five hours for food like they do here, we'd call that a human-rights violation."The lack of fair economic policies have finally woken the sleeping giant, those economically depressed that usually do not vote.
They have finally realized that the economic terrorism they have been subjected to is much more dangerous than the rise of radical Islam. They say as Ohio goes so goes the nation. The sleeping giant has been raised and the winds of change may rip the roofs off of both houses of Congress.