I am in full agreement with the editorial about the need for government aid as well as community volunteers to help the poor and needy of America.
America can give its underprivileged people two kinds of relief, temporary and permanent. Soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless are examples of temporary relief, but only the government can fund programs and pass laws that will have a permanent effect on the conditions of the lower class and give immediate attention to their basic needs for survival.
Of course community service is needed to help run and operate federal programs but only the government has the means to sponsor and initiate projects that will have a significant effect on a large scale in American society.
As the editorial stated, George Bush opposes federal aid and supports and urges volunteerism, especially from America's youth. I cannot help but be offended by his questions referring to young people that were quoted in the editorial. "Do they know they're fortunate? Do they have a sense of thanks? Of citizenship? Do they realize that perhaps they ought to be thinking of giving something back? Or are they cut off from their affluence, removed from the cares and concerns of others?" As an American youth I am upset by such shallow questions that impose a general and stereotypical image upon young people, especially teen-agers, as being selfish and unaware and unconcerned about the misfortunes and needs of others.
I am a freshman in college and I know of many organizations and youth groups that are dedicated to community service. At my former high school service clubs were a major part of the extra-curriculum activities, and many students participated in service projects. I realize that the type of service depends on the city, its surrounding areas and location, and the extent of poverty, whether great or small. But the concerns of young people are there. We do have pride in our country, and we feel a considerable amount of concern for the welfare of others.
America's problems of slums, ghettos, broken homes, and poverty can be solved, or at least begin to be solved, with the combined efforts of the government and the community. People, young and old, are willing to help but the government must provide the immediate relief needed by the poor to establish a basis for improvement, progress and solutions.