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They come in a line; we dish out the holiday meal. They are far away; we mail them nice care packages. They are alone; we warmly gather them together.

We are generous in our efforts to ensure the downtrodden have a happy holiday. Our senses of goodness and rightness prevail; our own bounty pricks our conscience and stirs our sentimentality. Thus we share.

However these acts are for today, the holiday. As sincere as we may be the core outcome is starkly direct, "Happy holiday today but tomorrow get back to being poor."

This is not a condemnation of our individual generosity. This is not meant to criticize the spiritual or ethical impulses that drive our holiday benevolence. It is to prompt asking the greater questions.

Why to we condone throughout the long year of many hundreds of days the exclusion of the gifts that we so willingly and with moral concern bestow on a single day? Why is our eradication of the most visible outward conditions of poverty by alleviating hunger, satisfying small needs and sharing joys, sharing warmth and fellowship, and the extension of care limited to a handful of hours?

We only give so much, individually.

Our cares are individual and expressed through our volunteer organizations in these holiday efforts. And these generous actions are inherently good. And these resource strapped organizations that express our individual benevolence toil throughout many of the other year’s days to address the needs of the poor. But our greatest organization at our disposal, the organizing fabric of our society that is under our collective control, our political and economic system is not bent toward the eradication of poverty.

Eradicating poverty in this nation is not complicated but it is a real choice we make about how we command our national resources and wealth. We have chosen one path that is ineffectual at best or negligent at worse and now it remains to be seen if we will every gather the courage to chose to control of our collective destiny so we can say, “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, everyday.

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Comment Preferences

  •  From MLK: (4+ / 0-)
    A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 09:01:22 PM PST

  •  Charity (3+ / 0-)

    It's a wonderful thing, and a virtue to give to those in need. This time of year, especially, people are very generous with a donation of "things".  Many nonprofits are depending on this outpouring of giving for their survival.
    But it's not sustainable, and it doesn't get to the root of the problem.  There's not enough money in the "charitable contribution" pot to really fix the problems of poverty, despite what is proclaimed by right wing politicians.

    Real and lasting change has to be systemic, and the only entity big enough to take that on is the government.  As you say, it is under our control and our country has the resources to do it.

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