Christmas Cheer

That’s what they call the event some of the counties here in NW Ohio (where I’m spending the holidays once again) have which distributes toys, food, and other necessities to people in the county who could use them.  What kind of people?

Well, here are some things I heard during the day:
“It’s rough when you have to decide whether to us that washcloth to clean up or wipe with.”
“We can brush our teeth this month now (though we’ll have to buy toothbrushes).”
“It’ll be her first bike.  She’s never had a bike before.” (loading what appeared to be a bike for a 10-year-old)

I’ve lived long enough now in the city that I’ve started to distance myself from these people I lived along side of for 18 years.  As I looked at the faces standing in line, I saw many that resembled those of classmates I graduated high school with.  I thought about neighbors and acquaintances growing up who worked at factories or in other “blue collar” jobs and realized how far removed I’ve become.  I saw these people and listened (ever so quickly) to their stories, and it hit me right in the heart.

I just heard (again) earlier this week this quote by Joseph Stalin: “One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.”  When we look at things in a personal way, they hit us much more fully than when we distance ourselves.  As Michael Moore showed in The Big One, when he offered to take Nike CEO Phil Knight to a factory in Indonesia and he refused, sometimes the only way we can live with ourselves is if we keep that impersonal distance.  Why don’t we allow ourselves to look at and get to know the people who are truly affected by the horrible policies and doings of our government?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already  thought about injustice and are maybe doing something about it, either at the voting booth or with your job or life.  But we all must do a better job at actively working to create change so that we can create a country and world where all people may have their needs met and their basic rights upheld.  Is it possible?  I think so, and I hope you do, too, so let’s all work together to create this world we have in mind.

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