Some Thanksgiving schmaltz

Posted on 26 Nov 2008 at 1:16pm

I got the following WFS (warm & fuzzy spam) from my future brother-in-law this morning:

“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’

“‘It was great, Dad.’

“‘Did you see how poor people live?’ the father asked.

“‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.

“‘So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?’ asked the father.

“The son answered: ‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them. Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.’”

Yuk.

Now, everyone else in my family lives in South Carolina, which is pretty rural, so maybe this stereotype of “Tobacco Road” life resonates more there. But how about the poor people who cannot afford health care and who get no support from the government (which nevertheless finds trillions to bail out millionaires in New York City) … or those living with HIV who have to skip meds … or the elderly who don’t know where to find their next meal … or the urban poor who don’t have a gigantic piece of tax-free land (as in my brother-in-law’s example) but who fight off rats and domestic violence and crime and, especially this year, eviction notices and the losses of their meager homes.

I’m all about being thankful. But let’s not kid ourselves: The REAL poor in this country have it HARD. They do not live tranquil lives of familial fondness but struggle every day just to survive. They suffer from bad education (go DISD leadership! Way to fire those who teach our kids!), bigotry, disease and sadness.

I am thankful for all I have. But to compare a wealthy family to some cliche of country bumpkin poverty ignores the plights of a lot of our fellow citizens.

Think about the Food Pantry. Think about the housing crisis. Think about rising unemployment and all those it affects. And be thankful for having a job, your health, a place to go for dinner tomorrow. And show your thanks by DOING something for others.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

 

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