27th May, 2010

Gives Me a Tummy Ache

We are trillions in debt. Every day the networks accost us with news of potential economic calamity.

Countries are torn with war, terrorism, and other forms of violence.

Some people are addicted to drugs and alcohol, which often leads to more bad decisions and deeper debt or poverty. Often the people who suffer the most from addictions are the children of those who are addicted. And ultimately those children often face similar decisions regarding addictive substances. It’s a tragic cycle that needs to be broken.

Government offers itself as an answer to many of these problems. Ironically, the answer often involves more violence.

And the way to participate in government? Raise millions of dollars to run expensive campaigns to get elected and then continue to raise millions of dollars from people who have expectations of what their donations will accomplish. The majority of this money then gets spent by the campaigner and goes to broadcasting companies, advertising executives, and political thinkers.

Who gives money? Those with money. Who gets the money? Those with money.

What happens to the impoverished addict? The homeless children? Those who have no money and little hope of having money? Even if the government offers them small pittance of money, what does it offer in the way of solutions for their addictive behaviors?

This isn’t an attack on Republicans or Democrats, as they are equally opportunistic in this fashion, but I just saw this article about a fundraiser for Senator Barbara Boxer in California, with President Obama, where the entry fee was $17,600. For that money, the guests ate caviar and quail eggs, kobe beef ribs, and buckwheat crepes with almond ice cream.

That single meal’s cost was more than what many individuals live in a year – even in America. It’s over 100 times more than what many individuals live on in other countries. In fact, according to the Global Rich List $17,600 as an annual income makes an individual richer than 89% of the world. If you took $17,600 as a daily income (given the fact the donors could spend this on a single meal), then you would qualify as richer than all but .001% of the world.

According to the Global Rich List just $2400 could buy schooling for an entire GENERATION of school children in an Angolan village.

Anyway, setting all that aside, I guess I’m concerned we’ve lost our way. The American political system clearly isn’t designed to solve the problems of poverty, addiction, discipline, or conflict. And how many $1000 or $17,600 dinners will it take for an average citizen to stand up and say “Enough.” And I don’t just mean American citizen. I mean any one of us anywhere. It should break our heart than any human being, created in God’s image, anywhere in the world dies today because they have no food. Besides, thinking of a few privileged individuals eating caviar costing more money than it would take to educate or feed an entire Angolan village doesn’t just give me a heart ache – it gives me a tummy ache, too.

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