Rachel Maddow had the greatest quote a while back about debating politics ~
“Let’s argue. Let’s have the great American debate about the role of government and the best policies for the country. It’s fun. It’s citizenship. It’s activism. It makes the country better when we have those debates. And your country needs you. It needs all of us. But two things disqualify you from this process. You can’t threaten to shoot people. And you have to stop making stuff up.” ~ Rachel Maddow
I agree with Maddow wholeheartedly. Let’s debate, let’s argue! We are so lucky to have a political system in which we can all be heard. However, YOU DON’T GET TO JUST MAKE STUFF UP!
Once again, my fellow blogger Susan Dench, has written a column in which her version of “facts” is slightly less than accurate. Surprisingly, “The other pilgrims tale, or why communism doesn’t work” is even slightly critical of a holiday that most conservatives feel exemplifies all they hold dear, family values and manifest destiny and all that, forgetting of course that the rest of us have both families and values!
She claims that the women helping each other by cooking and sharing food and the men sharing the hunting and the fruits of that labor was in fact responsible for the downfall of their community. With all due respect, that is completely wacky! Dench argues they would have been better off if every family had just fended for themselves, leaving the neighbor who did not have the good luck of coming across a deer while hunting to just starve, teaching them the value of hard work! Really? Really? If the pilgrims did anything right, it was trying to form a community of people who looked out for each other, who helped each other.
I would tend to blame any problems the pilgrims ran into on their self inflated sense of a god given right to overthrow an existing nation of people, steal their land, and make it their own, but hey, that’s just me!
No, no, the pilgrimage to American was a lot of things both good and bad but it was not an experiment in communism. Nor is the idea that folks helping others who need it, a communist principle. Many would even go so far, myself included, to say that giving a hands up to those who are down on their luck, especially at this time of year, is indeed a very Christian thing to do.
Now, I could argue here about the fact that our economy, and the greediness of the rich, have basically made it impossible for many in the lower and middle class to even begin to earn enough to live on, provide health insurance for their families, or pay for college for their children but I won’t bother. I could also discuss our veterans, who sacrificed their health, and their futures, for the principles this country holds dear, only to be turned away by the VA, or underserved, unable to find jobs or access healthcare, who may need a helping hand this holiday season, but again, I’ll save that discussion for another day.
Instead let’s focus on a another story written by fellow blogger Carol Garvan, “Giving Thanks: One Food Drive Sparks Controversy, Another Creates Solidarity.” Thank you Carol for discussing not only the corporate greed of Walmart, but the folks in our local community who have sacrificed time and money to make sure that those who need a hand up this holiday season, get one! The wonderful liberal souls at Food AND Medicine have just sponsored their 11th food drive, bringing much-needed help to nearly 1,100 families in Maine! If you aren’t familiar with Food AND Medicine, this is an organization founded on the revolutionary concept that EVERYONE in this great country of ours should have access to BOTH food and medicine, and should never, ever, have to decide between one or the other.
Let us remember this holiday season, that there are those among us who need help not because they are lazy but because they have not been given the same opportunities that others have been given. Let us remember there are those in shelters not by choice but by circumstances. Let us remember this holiday season, whichever holidays you and your family celebrate, that there but for grace or luck go every single one of us!
Giving a hand up is not a political statement, or a religious statement, it is just the good, decent, kind, human thing to do.