The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2007

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







What if "You" are the last hope for mankind?

by JC Bowman

I hope you read this article. I hope you send it to your friends, neighbors, elected leaders and especially your favorite clergyman. I remember growing up in Cleveland and one of the greatest and most respected citizens in our community was Reverend M. E. Littlefield. In fact I would probably say Reverend Littlefield was one of the greatest champions of the poor and downtrodden in our community and beyond during the last fifty years. M. E. Littlefield understood clearly that God's gracious love produces people who exercise gracious love toward others. No other power in the universe can produce such a heart. Grace always begets grace, and only grace begets grace. Since his death there have been many noble efforts by many wonderful people, but nobody has ever filled the void of Reverend Littlefield in Cleveland, Tennessee. I think in his absence we have forgotten the less fortunate and those in need in our community. He is truly missed.

In recent days I have listened to politicians at every level of government seeking additional funding from taxpayers, simultaneously I am also a witness to businesses folding up and cutting back jobs right here in this community. The deeply political question of who gets to benefit from public spending goes to the nature of power relations within a society. Overall, public expenditures tend to be regressive for the poor. In general, government spending on essential public services, like education, health care and water supply, disproportionately benefit the better-off households. So on one hand I see potential disaster on the horizon with increased government spending, unfortunately on the other hand I do not see an engaged private sector in the community prepared to meet the needs of those most hurting. Government should join the private sector in confronting economic disparities, by leveling the playing field and preventing faith and community organizations being discriminated against. Some faith groups usurp the role and supplant what churches, synagogues and mosques should be doing under the guise of uniting local churches and community/civic organizations, when they should be supporting the efforts of these organizations. They seem to aspire to lead, when they should seek to follow.

For centuries, our country has attracted people in search of a share of "the American dream" from all corners of the world. E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One) remains the national motto, it is true there no longer seems to be a consensus about what that should mean. Our evolution from the margins of society to the forefront of political change is all the more remarkable when

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  He served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



we realize we are a nation of immigrants, a melting pot of cultures. Against all the odds, racial discrimination, poverty and poor access to education, etc…Americans have emerged as the most coherent political force in the world and Americans of all beliefs and every walk of life can help end poverty and suffering. To the liberal and the conservative, the Christian and non-Christian alike, I would suggest that religious scripture is fairly clear in regards to compassion, as well as directions for alleviating poverty and none of them involves government coercion. When addressing poverty we cannot merely focus on disparity of personal income, but must look at the bigger picture the human development perspective. I define poverty as a denial of choices and opportunities for living a satisfactory life. Like Jesse Helms said, "This is not about pity. It's more about passion. Pity sees suffering and wants to ease the pain; passion sees injustice and wants to settle the score. Pity implores the powerful to pay attention; passion warns them about what will happen if they don't. The risk of pity is that it kills with kindness; the promise of passion is that it builds on the hope that the poor are fully capable of helping themselves if given the chance."

We know that the poor suffer from far higher levels of ill health, mortality, and malnutrition than others. Inadequate health care is just one of the factors keeping them poor or for their being poor in the first place. Schools for example are defined by housing choices. Top educators seek placement in higher performing schools. Children in poverty often do not get to attend those schools. Imagine citizens across this city volunteering to mentor the young, especially the disadvantaged. These are issues that must be a matter of major concern for everyone committed to equitable development and justice, from policy makers to service providers. In my mind with the proper support there is little doubt that the private sector, normally through faith based providers, does a much better job eradicating poverty, building dignity and respect, encouraging entrepreneurship, and reducing dependency than traditional aid programs. People of faith have a sense of infinite possibility, and they do the things everyone else says can't be done. They get the picture it matters not if the world has heard or approves or understands... The only applause we're meant to seek is that of nail-scarred hands. Imagine a movement of local

churches across denominational lines playing a major role in mobilizing, training, placing and caring for workers on the field. It could happen and you can support it.

Poverty is not merely a local issue as we see the gap between the world's rich and poor has never been wider. Malnutrition, AIDS, conflict and illiteracy are a daily reality for millions. It is not merely chance or unfortunate situations that keep people trapped in merciless poverty. Sometimes poverty is self-inflicted by bad choices, other times it is man-made factors like an unjust global trade system, a debt burden so great that it suffocates any chance of recovery and insufficient and ineffective aid. We have been very careful locally that we do not burden the debts of future generation with the debts of this generation with excessive taxes or burdens. Globally that has not been the situation. We can identify with the other states and nations that have been saddled with debt that this generation is paying for caused by out of control spending by previous generations. There is no wonder we have a flood of immigrants to our country. We are still the land of opportunity. The world's poor need no more condolences. They need people to get interested, get determined to change the situation and then get to work and change the world. You are probably overwhelmed and genuinely do not know how to respond to the many people in need. I was recently reminded by these remarkable words in Only One by best-selling author BJ Hoff:

Only One…

My child…I've often heard you question…and this message is my answer…hear Me well:

You're concerned about the hungry world, the millions who are starving… and you ask,
"What can only one do?"
*feed one*

You grieve for all the unborn, children murdered, every day…and you ask,
"What can only one do?"
*save one*

You're haunted by the homeless souls who wander city streets…and you ask,
"What can only one do?"
*shelter one*

*You weep for those who suffer pain, disease and hopelessness…and you ask,
"What can only one do?"
*comfort one*

Your heart aches for the lonely, the imprisoned, the abused…and you ask,
"What can only one do?'
*love one*

Remember this my Child… two thousand years ago, the world was filled, just as it is today, with those in need… and when the helpless and the hopeless cried out to me for mercy, I send a Savior….

*Hope Began…With Only One…

--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
He can be reached by email at:

Visit his website at: