Ah, that is another story.
Many assume the answer of all social problems is big government...Combine this with number one and you have Bush didn't do this or that, never mind that no one could do these things.
I have worked for both state and federal US governments. It's called bureaucracy. Red tape. Things have to be done according to a set way or you lose your job. So things are delayed.
This means it is the small NGO's and faith based groups have an advantage. They are great ways to show one's Christianity in action.
One beautiful point of Catholicism and charity is that we have our own bureaurocracy. It is called catholic charities. Lots of nuns and professionals to do our charitable work. We do it well.
But one problem with this is that we see "charity" and deeds of mercy/charity as ONLY those done by these groups, and too often we promote "doing charitable deeds" as merely volunteering for the local homeless shelter or to give money to the professionals...
Two problems result:
One is that "good deeds" takes the place of personal repentance and prayer.
Two is that good deeds are no longer part of our life, but something outside our everyday experience.
Alas, we no longer hear sermons praising an promoting everyday charity...our professionals don't consider small things as good deeds.
For example. I once worked on an Indian reservation, and we had a priest give a sermon about the importance of charity...Telling us that we needed to volunteer our time at the nearby city's homeless shelter.
And I looked around me. My son volunteered to play and supervise basketball at the local Catholic school. The lady in the next pew was raising 5 grandchildren since her daughter was deeply into the drug culture..And at least a half dozen had taken in relatives who had no place to go...The man there was raising a grandchild. That girl is a single mother who refused an abortion and staying with her aunt til the baby comes and she can return to college. That one was studying to be a deacon. That lady was dying of cancer, and praying for all of us, while her husband was caring for her, and the neighbors would come over to help him with the cooking and cleaning.
The point is that none of this was counted as charity. Giving food to the hungry was working at the food bank, not a mother cooking a well balanced meal day after day or a neighbor taking warm food to her aunt down the street. Giving shelter to the homeless was donating a couple bucks to the homeless shelter, not taking in your pregnant niece.
One of my favorite stories of Mother Teresa was in a local paper when she visited Philadelphia to give a talk to a Eucharistic Congress.
A taxi driver asked mother: Is there anything I can do?
He thought she'd say: "Join the St.Vincent DePaul society of your parish". or maybe "Give me a donation" or even "volunteer to work at my house of the dying in Calcutta".
Instead, she told him: "Smile at your wife".
Ah, we come to the crux of the matter.
It is easy to volunteer. Doing a good deed is a mitzva: a blessing that blesses him who gives and him who takes.
But the hard love is that of everyday life.
In Medjugorje, we were told: First, find peace in yourself. You do this with prayer and dedication to God and repentance.
Then you spread peace in your family.
Then in your town.
Then in your country.
Then in the world.
I spent 35 years working as a doc in some of the cruddiest places in the world and the USA. But now God has told me NO.
Guess He recognized that I was getting more and more into work instead of what really matters.
I need to learn to pray, and find peace.
There is.. a time to work and a time to pray...