Monday, December 18, 2017

A Few Thoughts About the Holiday

America as a nation has some strange priorities.  As the new tax bill shows, we choose to expend our resources on the wealthy yet we are a nation with astonishing poverty.  One of the down sides of living in Tucson is the place is just crawling with homeless people. They are everywhere.  There’s no simple solution to the problem of the homeless. Many of them have addiction problems.  Others suffer from a litany of mental illnesses.  It’s a complex problem, to be sure.  Yet our Congress shovels billions in unnecessary tax breaks to the wealthiest citizens and devotes almost no resources to helping the homeless. Surely, this is not a simple problem to fix.  I just note that very little effort is being done to fix it. Giving some bum on the highway median a few bucks because he has a cardboard sign so he can go buy some rotgut booze is hardly helping anyone.  I certainly don’t have an easy solution.  I just note there are precious few temporary shelters, social workers and medical personnel available to help this segment of our population.

I make note of this because of the many renditions of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol available this time of year.  Dickens’ London was rife with people not unlike the bums who permeate the parks and public spaces around Tucson. And Ebenezer Scrooge’s lament, when asked for a donation to help the poor, was “Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?”   Not nearly enough to house the surplus population.

When Dickens’ book hit London just days before Christmas it generated an enormous flood of charitable giving. One account I read was charitable giving that year doubled over what it had been. That’s a heck of an accomplishment.   

What am I asking the 200 or so people who regularly read this blog to do?  .Something very simple, actually.  Watch one of the versions of A Christmas Carol. Even if you’ve seen it before, view it again. There are many of them. They’re on TV. They’re available from Netflix. Or read the book. It was a book before it was dramatized. Or go and see the current movie The Man Who Invented Christmas, which is about Dickens’s and how he came to write the story. That’s all I’m asking. Then think about things. 

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