Monday, September 12, 2011
2 a group of persons of common ancestry; or
In the human family, we've got the same levels--from those who are easy to love to those who you know you're just stuck with. But, no matter how different from us we think they are, they are family, and most of them evoke a certain sympathy within me, particularly in times of trouble.
But lately, I've been noticing a disturbing trend of people reacting to the suffering of others in the family with anything from appalling apathy to even smug satisfaction. I'm beginning to wonder what kind of evil we've bred in this 'democratic experiment' we call America.
I recently heard a conversation of two people discussing the famines in the Africa. One of the people said "we" couldn't be sending money over there, because "we're broke." Seriously? We're talking about half a million human beings who will likely die of starvation in the next 6 months. And while I get that we've got budget issues, and unemployment, and dwindling 401(k)s, etc., etc., etc., most of our fat behinds are driving around in cars that cost twenty times the annual income of those people in Africa, parking our still-fat behinds in front of big screen TVs and computers and answering calls and texts on our smart phones while waiting for our supper to ding in the microwave. Heck, many of us pay as much in a month to a health club to get rid of the evidence we eat too damn much as it would cost to feed a family in Africa for a month. Seriously.
We may have problems. We may never again be able to afford too big houses with too much furniture and other crap, financed for us with no money down by the financial gurus to keep us fat, spoiled and happy enough to ignore the inequities of the system that keeps them fatter, more spoiled and happier yet. I, for one, think that's probably not a bad thing. Even if it is a bad thing, to compare our issues with half a million people dying for lack of a bowl of rice and some powdered milk is self absorption made an art form. We owe it to ourselves as humans to believe that humans--any and all humans--deserve a tiny modicum of dignity at least big enough to mean you don't have to sit by helplessly and watch as your children die from lack of food or water or from diseases that a few dollars would prevent or cure, while other people chow on frozen pizza til they're obese, just because of where in the world they happened to be born. I might not like her much, but I wouldn't wish that even on my 'atomizer' aunt.
Good grief people, this ain't no way to treat family.