Updated: March 21, 2014 at 2:16 pm
Politicians gain favor by promising government solutions and gifts. As a result, Americans have grown accustomed to demanding and expecting government solutions for problems that are best resolved by friends, neighbors, churches, nonprofits and businesses.
Government give us health care, food, shelter, clothing and income is a growing mantra in a culture that cannot see private-sector endeavors - which create goods and services to sustain and advance society - as the true roots of abundance. Those who mistakenly see government as a source of providence and wealth are quick to champion overregulation of private-sector activities that fund government redistribution. It's a self-defeating agenda.
To highlight the private sector's local role in distribution of resources to families and individuals, the El Paso County Republican Party will host its first Community Resource Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute St.
"This event is about community helping community," said Tiko Hardy, who participates on the party's minority outreach committee, which is heading up the fair.
Tiko, a licensed social worker, grew up in what she calls "generational poverty" and knows firsthand that most aid to the poor originates in the private sector.
"The government has a role, but it's not capable of assuming the responsibility for every need. However, we as a community can," Tiko said.
A comprehensive look at nonprofit charities in the Pikes Peak region reveals help for everything from domestic violence, to substance abuse, to hunger, to homelessness, to legal problems and more.
Though sponsored by a political party, organizers said the fair will include no "issue-oriented" nonprofits. Participation is limited to service organizations that provide directly to those in need. The fair will provide information to anyone seeking help or people who want to steer friends, family or acquaintances in the direction of aid.
"This isn't a political event," said Daniel Cole, executive director of the El Paso County GOP. "We really just want to connect people with services because too many in our community don't know how many great nonprofits are out there. But if there is a political implication, it's only that lots of private organizations and individuals want to help their neighbors. 'Government' and 'community' are not interchangeable terms. We need awareness of both."
Participants include: Pikes Peak Workforce, which connects "work-ready job seekers" with businesses; Peak Vista, which provides primary health and dental services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured working families; Colorado Legal Services, which provides no-cost or low-cost legal help for low-income Coloradans; Parents Challenge, which provides families with tools and resources to exercise educational choices; the League of United Latin American Citizens, which works to enhance the economic conditions, educational options, political influence, housing access, health and civil rights of Hispanics; Partners in Housing, which helps the homeless with transitional housing; and more.
"We Republicans are honored to be able to help our citizens and also highlight the compassion and generosity of these organizations and their supporters," said Jeff Hays, chairman of the El Paso County GOP. "People voluntarily uplifting each other makes us all stronger."
It's a good message for people on all points of the political spectrum. Focus less on politics and more on the people our political establishments and public policies are supposed to serve.