Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 | 2 a.m.
How much more do Americans have to take from a Republican-controlled Congress that is hellbent on hurting the very people it was elected to help before the people finally say “enough?”
This question keeps going around as more people decide that Congress is not only ineffective but counterproductive to good government and the pressing need to solve our nation’s problems. No wonder close to 90 percent of the public no longer has faith in what was supposed to be the people’s branch of government.
That is why this past Tuesday was such a refreshing change of pace from the frustration that is caused by the gridlock of idiocy that defines the GOP-led mess in Congress. I am talking about a warm and fulfilling afternoon spent at Westcare for the kick-off of its Women and Children’s campus renovation project. The other reason for being there was to watch my dear friend, John Moran Jr., receive the key to Las Vegas for his outstanding service not only to Westcare but to the entire state.
Moran has epitomized public service throughout his adult life. His professional life started as a policeman and moved into law. He has been a member and chairman of the Colorado River Commission, a member and chairman of the Nevada Wildlife Commission, and he is presently in his second term as a commissioner on the Nevada Gaming Commission. Whatever the brochure says, these jobs are full time!
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who presented the key to Moran, acknowledged his life serving others and the hard and successful work that Westcare has done.
For those who don’t know, Westcare helps young people with addiction issues, whether drugs or alcohol, giving their lives meaning, respect and a path toward success.
The Women and Children’s Center at 5659 Duncan Dr. is providing similar help to young mothers and other young women whose lives have gotten off track but whose futures can all be bright with a little guidance. That is a major reason why the Home Depot Foundation has given Westcare its “Celebration of Service” grant for 2013.
Home Depot will provide hundreds of volunteers who will show up on Oct. 30 with building materials, supplies and free labor to help renovate the Female Veterans Family wing of the facility. On Oct. 19, the Crossing Church and Share, a local nonprofit organization, are assisting with renovations. This “extreme makeover” at Westcare will draw close to 500 volunteers to make that effort work. I am sure they can use all the help they can get.
And help from the Las Vegas community is what Westcare has had since its very humble beginnings 40 years ago. Mayor Goodman was not the only mayor in the audience last week. Ron Lurie, who as mayor was a major supporter of the Westcare mission, was also there. So was former District Court Judge Donald Mosley, whose court saved many lives by sentencing young offenders to Westcare instead of prison.
Sure, many of us old timers were there to support our buddy John, his wife, Marilyn, and her mother, Jean, for their lifelong efforts to affect so many young lives. But the real purpose of the support that flowed Tuesday and through the past four decades was front and center when the young women, many of them mothers with small babies, presented themselves for the festivities.
They were part of the next generation of Americans who will, at some time in their lives, need a helping hand when they are most vulnerable. Those young women were positive proof that communities that have people on the ground who are willing to help those most in need are the better for it.
I contrast what I saw at Westcare to the incessant pontificating by people who don’t have a clue what public service really means. They have hijacked the House Of Representatives only to advance a right wing ideology that specifically hurts the very people the Westcares of the world are designed to help.
Ask me which institution I prefer and which one I think cares more about Americans most in need. The answer is simple, and that is the real shame here.
If the ideologues in Congress could walk in the shoes of those who do the hard work at Westcare, and enjoy the successes that make it all worthwhile, perhaps they would drop their political guards just long enough to do the work of the people.
Like Congress used to do.
Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.