Sunday, January 24, 2010

On the question of Charity

While surfing around on Facebook, I came across this post:

Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost this.

I had heard about this post going around from my sister-in-law at Sunday Dinner this evening, but was shocked to find it popping up on my friend's statuses. I was shocked. Did the person who posted this even consider what this said? Are you seriously saying that we should not help a foreign country whose entire infrastructure was completely obliterated through no fault of their own? Are you saying that we need to take care of our own first and then worry about everyone else? Is that what Jesus did? (Yes, these people are purportedly Catholics.)

I understand that you might be surprised or even a little outraged by the lack of care that the poor in our own country receive. Often times, it does not seem like enough. Everyone can tell you an anecdotal story about someone they know, or some one who knows someone who needed help and couldn't get it. However, I will tell you, there is a great deal of help out there for those that need it. All they need to do is ask. Often, they are too proud to do so. And I don't mean to sound hard, but I know. I know what it's like to sit in the welfare office. I have been there.

Something else to consider, if you are a person who agrees with the above Facebook post: What are YOU doing to change it? Likely, simply throwing money at the problem will not be the solution. I have found that people make the difference. Don't wait for "someone else" to do it! If you are really concerned about the poor and the homeless sit next to them on the bus. Be kind to them, even when they smell horrible. When they ask you for money, offer to buy them a sandwich. If they are really hungry, they'll take you up on that. If they're looking to score, they won't.

If you are worried about the elderly, go visit them. Show them that you care. Make sure they take their meds. Every drug company in the country offers a discount program. Help them take advantage of those programs.

The mentally ill...well, I could tell you all about that. Most of those who are not receiving treatment do not wish to. They feel that it dulls their senses. Good luck convincing them otherwise, but please do try. It may be the only hope they have.

In our country's history the only times we have suffered great financial and diplomatic hardships have been in periods of isolationism. This post made my blood run cold. I was reminded of the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in World War I while the U.S. isolated themselves from the "problems of Europe". A war that could have been cut much shorter had the U.S. been involved earlier. I was reminded of the tariff war that followed World War I. The United States, desperate to protect their own borders and interests, sparked a tariff war with rebuilding European nations. It has been argued that the spiraling tariffs were a major contributing factor to the Great Depression. I was also reminded of the Holocaust in the 1930's and 1940's, where the United States stood by and insisted, "Oh, it's not our problem."

Devastation to the human race is everyone's concern. It always has been and always will be, no matter what color the human's skin happens to be or what language they speak.

No comments:

Post a Comment