I hope you are as addicted to the CBS Sunday Night program - 60 Minutes, as I am, have been for more years that I can remember. Early on, it was rather exciting, catching "bad" guys doing "bad" things and making all of us think they were really very powerful. Actually there were not, but by the time that people like me realized it, we were hooked on the idea, "It's Sunday evening, time for 60 Minutes".
Last night's program was one of my favorites, a repeat of an earlier broadcast - or should that be telecast? Either way, last night or months ago, this was a gripping tale of a billionaire using his money and a lot of his friend's money, to do what was - and is, right to do.
His name is Paul Tudor Jones and ask those who know about such things, his net worth hovers around $4.3 billion dollars. He earns his living and provides for his employees and the shareholders, as one of those "hedge fund" managers that often get a bad name on the financial pages of the media, especially those who speculate on the so-called "news" of the financial markets.
In addition to the fact he has been reported to have given away nearly $1.5 billion dollars in the 25 years he has been in business, he funds charter schools and job training and food programs. He will be the first to admit, he has also made many mistakes in those areas over the years.
Asked what he sees when he looks around New York and adjoining areas, Jones replied: "I see people in pain, people in need, people at times without hope, something that will give them reason for hope. I see too many people in homeless shelters and on food stamps." They represent problems that need to be discussed.
Watching the program, I could not ignore the problem that has been obvious in several of the cities I passed through a few years ago. My goal was to locate a Mission that needed my skills in helping the un-employed to find work while reminding them of the God I know who has guided me through many of similar circumstances. I would eventually locate one such facility only to discover after my two years of residence, their only positive answer for the "lost" was to receive the God on their denomination.
So, it is easy for me to believe that the offers of a Paul Todor Jones are part of the answer, but my own belief is that we are failing to teach the essentials of "life" as it is in a nation that has been as blessed as we have been. When we see lines leading to a place where the "poor" can eat a meal or a place to sleep, or hear about the plight of the un-employed or the under employed, or worse, realize that people we have come to know as our neighbors are now burdened with family members addicted to foreign substances, we need to realize that they all suffer from a common denominator. Somewhere along the line, these "victims" have missed out on the essential lesson that the rest of us have learned for no better explanation that we came to adulthood in the midst of the love and the blessings of family, friends and neighbors.
Tudor's monies ought to be welcomed, certainly, but after 24 hours, the day ends, and after 7 days, the week ends, and 4 weeks is all that we have in a month, according to our calendars. Then, months turn into years and it doesn't take long for the yoke of misunderstanding the individual wears to become permanent. The Mission mentality lasts for awhile, but sooner or later, it is a "retirement" home that becomes the more appropriate answer.
I remember the days when there were "poor" houses and when the State had asylums, but if we want to get serious about the problems of poverty, the question of resolving them must start at that end of the line for those who struggle with life.
Paul Tudor Jones has access to lots of money, but that is for New York City. He does not have the money nor the answers applicable to the other cities. For every homeless person in New York City, there are thousands more like them in every municipality in America. So what do we do? I have an answer. Stay tuned.