Charity

Charities like the Imus Ranch, Ronald MacDonald House and many others are wonderful institutions bringing joy to sick and dying children. These organizations attract vast sums of money and command the attention of thousands of people as they bring critically ill kids to Disney Land or introduce them to their sports heroes. Politicians and corporate bigwigs fawn over these charities and work hard to be publicly associated with them.

These floods of support indicate to me the great heart of the American people but also offer a haven of denial of the terrible injustices perpetrated by our society. We need to wake up and look at the results of our money based society. We walk around in a fog of denial and refuse to look at the underbelly of our actions.

It’s hard to talk about this kind of charity in a less than positive way but I’m compelled to. I love the part of the spirit that wants to help sick kids but I deplore the part that uses them while ignoring the discrimination practiced against minority and poor kids in the inner city and places like Appalachia.

The idea that real charity exists when it’s attached to a glamour parade is a sham. Who are we who pay to bring a dying kid to an amusement park while fighting against school breakfasts for the inner city poor? Who are we who introduce a dying kid to Michael Jordan while fighting tooth and nail against increasing the minimum wage? Who are we who make the word entitlement into a curse while we deprive the working poor of basic health care, reasonable housing and nourishing food?

When did we stop being the people who declared that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were rights, not to be conferred nor taken away but inalienable?

Posted May 9, 2007

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