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Politics, Poverty and Mental Health – Who Will Take Care of the Blue Box Scavenger?

Rick Perry - number one with a bullet? Who will provide supports for those with mental and phsyical challenges in the years to come?Yesterday, we met the Blue Box Scavenger. My encounter with him got me thinking about those who are marginalized in society, including any of us with mental or physical challenges.

That number is growing.

I’m concerned about how we’re going to serve this population. How are we going to, as a society, take care of each other and ensure that the basics of life (a roof over one’s head, healthy food, etc.) are afforded to everyone?

Ok, I know the goal that everyone lives with dignity in a safe home is pie-in-the-sky; but why is that? We’re smart people, can’t we figure it out? Or is it our hearts that are faulty?

What will  happen if the governments we elect hold values and priorities that don’t account for those in need?

Political change is blowin’ in the wind

Political change is in the wind.

As I watch developments south of the border, my stomach is knotting. Just after my encounter with the blue box scavenger, I read an article in the September 19, 2011 issue of Maclean’s magazine (the Canadian equivalent to Time Magazine.) I found the piece alarming.

My eye was initially caught by the article’s title, “Number one with a bullet.” Next came the image of the gun-wielding, grinning Texan governor, Rick Perry.


Perry was quoted as saying,

“I’ll go to the Oval Office every day and try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as can be.”

When I read that, I cringed. He might as well have said, I’ll try to make providing decent support services for those in need as inconsequential to the rest of us as possible.

Less is more?

I’m no stranger to the philosophy of “less government is more.” But I was a kid when I espoused that philosophy…

I’m no stranger to the philosophy of “less government is more.” But I was a kid when I espoused that philosophy, and I learned my lesson – first hand – when I ran as a candidate for a libertarian political party nearly three decades ago.

A long-time political junkie, it was an experience of a lifetime to run against the man who would become our Ontario Premier (that’s like a U.S. Governor). Yet it was a painful experience, too.

I was 23, and naïve. I believed in my fellow man and woman. I believed they’d make the right choices and, if given the choice, they’d contribute to the welfare of their fellow human beings.

Nearly 30 years have passed since that election. I’m sorry to say that life experience and simple observation has taught me that not everyone in our society is willing to put the needs of others on a par with their own. Unfortunately, many of those individuals are the ones making the political decisions – decisions that affect our health and well-being, or lack thereof.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a lot of questions

Why aren’t we more worried about the growing gap between the rich and the poor in affluent countries like ours?

How is it that a guy who unapologetically declares social security for seniors a “Ponzi scheme” (as he’s quoted in the Maclean’s article) can be taken seriously as a Presidential candidate?

When our current Prime Minister took office in 2006, I told my young friend whom I’d taken to vote for the first time that we now had a Vice-President, not a PM. Why? Because in the view of many Canadians, Harper was getting a little too cozy with George W. and a little too far away from many of the values that a lot of us Canadians hold dear.

At least, as mentioned, we still have strong representation and advocacy for social values, and several parties to choose from in our elections.

Who is going to stand up for the marginalized, the minorities, the mentally and physically challenged in America?  I haven’t seen her or him yet, but I hope that person shows up soon. The blue box scavenger, (and many more of us), needs them.

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Politics, Poverty and Mental Health – Who Will Take Care of the Blue Box Scavenger?

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2011). Politics, Poverty and Mental Health – Who Will Take Care of the Blue Box Scavenger?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 14, 2019, from


Last updated: 28 Sep 2011
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