A wish for a New Year and a New Beginning

A dear friend posted the following on her FB page:

The homeless go without eating. The elderly go without medicine. The mentally ill go without treatment. Troops go without proper equipment. Veterans go without benefits that were promised to them. Yet we give billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2% of Americans — those who need it least.

Reminds me of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 song, “Why?” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4bBff9aBRw)

Why do the babies starve
When there’s enough food to feed the world
Why when there’re so many of us
Are there people still alone

Why are the missiles called peace keepers
When they’re aimed to kill
Why is a woman still not safe
When she’s in her home

Love is hate
War is peace
No is yes
And we’re all free

But somebody’s gonna have to answer
The time is coming soon

Amidst all these questions and contradictions
There’re some who seek the truth

But somebody’s gonna have to answer
The time is coming soon
When the blind remove their blinders
And the speechless speak the truth

In 2011, let’s try to judge our success not by the toys we have but by the success of the most needy or vulnerable in our society.  Surely, this nation was founded upon the frontiersman’s rugged individualism.  But most people stop there (in a self congratulatory way) because they forget that the sentence doesn’t end there. This nation was founded upon the frontiersman’s rugged individualism AND community-giving that sustained the frontier settlements in harsh times.

There is a portion of our society that thinks that the fact of one’s wealth proves his or his entitlement to it.  They forget the parents or grandparents who struggled to provide them with everything, the teachers who taught them, the bosses who took interest in them and, the importance of that mercurial of all things, luck.

Wealth is not yours alone; it belongs to many whose efforts culminate in the success of you.