Saturday, December 24, 2005

my main grievance with humanity

I don’t care! These three words will end humanity. In this day and age of hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters people seem more than willing to help those in need.
When the twin towers fell in New York millions of people all over the world united to provide help for the victims of this horrible attack. More recently when hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast millions more rushed to aid the thousands of citizens left homeless.
There is never a shortage of caring people to help in a disaster. The time people fall short is when they are faced with things that, while horrible, are commonplace. People are drawn to the catastrophic and ignore the mundane.
I once read a story about a performance artist in New York City. He made himself up to look like he was dead. Then went onto a busy street and lay down. He lay on that street motionless for three days straight before anyone noticed he was there.
Why would any sane person do this? The artist said that he wanted to show how blind New Yorkers have become to the problems of the city.
I know what you’re thinking this was New York we live in Wyoming. There is no way something would happen like that here. Well this blindness to the plight of others is happening every day, even in Wyoming. There are pore and homeless people even in the cowboy state and John Q Public overlooks them more and more.
Locally we are so quick to jump on the bandwagon of disasters that affect people thousands of miles away, but when it comes to helping our own neighbors few step up and help.
In Powell as well in Cody there are food banks and other charitable organizations that distribute food, clothing and other essentials to needy families. These groups have there biggest success collecting food and money around the holidays, but why.
Is it that the general populous has more money at these times? I doubt it. In the recent Katrina disaster hundreds of millions of dollars were raised in an incredibly short amount of time, and this was August. So it definitely isn’t a timing thing, countless times of the year people give of themselves to help when a disaster calls for it.
More likely it is guilt that drives these holiday rushes to help. The holidays are a time of excess of most people. They’re spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars to buy gifts for friends and family. So while at the mall, with bags full of gifts, it is easy to walk by the Salvation Army bell ringers and think you have so much then pitch in a few bucks. It makes you feel better, like you did something for someone less fortunate than yourself and you did.
So why don’t people typically give at times of year other than the holidays? In my opinion, they don’t care. The rest of the year they are so focused on the big picture that they focus on what is right in front of them.
A wise man once told me don’t sweat the big things, they’ve already gotten you. Sweat the little things, they are the ones that will get you.


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