Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Furthest Thing From Charity

No, Leave the wall
You must always leave the wall.
(El Gallo in The Fantasticks)

Ration: A fixed portion that is allotted (especially in times of scarcity)
(WordWeb Pro)

We are so familiar with rationing that we often overlook its practical necessity and foundation in justice, mercy, and the Golden rule.  Often we think of it as a negative endured because of unpleasant scarcity.  Presently my retirement income is substantially fixed and can be looked upon as a ration whose bounds I must live within–no need for me to fantasize about being a high-flying world traveler.

Most of the time during my life fixed allotments have been great blessings.  For example, our family was able to grow and functi0n in houses that were allotted to us–we had fixed space  in which we could live in peace (the sanctity of the home).  In grammar school I was allotted a teacher and a desk. In college I was allotted an advisor and a place to study in the library.  In every work situation I was allotted specific responsibilities and allotted the necessary tools and offices.  And all this involved rationing for never were resources unlimited (by the way, I never got that private office with a majestic window view).

The recent news regarding refugees from war zones presents us with the brutal fact that every human has a driving need for at least minimal control and safety in their allotted space.  My older brother can remember when we lived by the railroad track.  It was in the 1940's and the hard times of the depression still afflicted many. Hobos would come to our front door asking for food.  Mother never turned them down, but gave them something to eat.  Her generous acts would not have been possible without a minimum degree of protocol.  In other words, it depended upon a front door upon which people knocked.  Generosity implies choice and some measure of control.  I think of Jesus healing the blind.  This was usually done one-on-one or with a small group.  Jesus chose to be generous, not trampled by a horde on black Friday . Choice is inherent in the definition of generosity. Even the story of the Good Samaritan (in answer to the question “Who is my neighbor that I should love them?”) depended upon an intentional moment of choice by the Samaritan to help the afflicted.

Life is characterized by encountering emergency situations in which protocol is pre-planned.  Take, for example, the standard operating procedures of first responders.  Professionalism is often another term for extensive training in meeting the challenges of dynamically complex situations in which life or death is at stake.  I’m sure that my mother and dad gave a lot of thought to the hobo issue and had decided upon the policy they would follow.  Some measure of control and choice is implied in policy formation.

Donald Trump in his remarks regarding immigration insists that a wall be built. I agree that an effective degree of control is necessary so that policy and generosity can be meaningfully formulated and expressed. A government must never abdicate its regulatory responsibilities for that is the furthest thing from charity.

Print Page