Friday, January 20, 2006

Auditing our time

From today's Dear Abby:

DEAR ABBY: My story is a little different from "Stressed Out's," but it applies. I live near a beautiful trail in California. If you take the path to the left, it takes about an hour and a half to walk, and it is beautiful and peaceful. My husband always wanted me to walk that way. On the occasions when I agreed to walk, I'd insist we go the opposite way, which took only 45 minutes and wasn't nearly as pretty. I had too much to do and not enough time to do it, considering the kids, the errands, the house, etc.

Now I walk that trail the long way almost every day, but I'm doing it alone. My husband died two years ago. Now I ask myself what was so important I couldn't take the extra 45 minutes to go the longer and more beautiful way with him. It's the little things I miss the most, Abby. Life is so short, and there are no guarantees. -- ALONE NOW IN CALIFORNIA

There's a score of cynical, snarky responses to this sentiment, but let's be real: How many of us, especially those middle-class and privileged folks, don't squander a generous portion of our time on the planet? How much better could we be?

Speaking of which, beyond the normal veiled racism and leaps of logic, I thought there was something particular sinister in Dennis Byrne's latest contribution.

But Chavez wasn't counting on Chicago being Chicago, where the CTA initially turned down the offer. And set off the usual outbreaks by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and others from the we're-more-compassionate-than-everyone-else set.

Fiscal conservativism, etc. whatever I can handle, this is the stuff I can't get over--the "caring about other people is a sign of a character flaw". Don't get me wrong, blatant self-promoters deserve criticism from people who actually work to address the problems themselves. But nothing Gutierrez said concerning this issue pointed to an attempt toward self-promotion. He really just wanted to see this money go to poor Chicagoans and didn't want to see a blind hatred for a certain political platform deny assistance to his constituents.

That's the difference I see--I don't like Castro's regime, but when he offers medical training to brilliant, poor American kids, and our government doesn't, it's hard to respect Bush's criticisms of such programs. Shit, I don't like Bush's regime, but I'm not go to send back his checks for neighborhood schools (which have been pretty scarce these days...).

blatant self-promoters who do great humanitarian work are more compassionate than cynics mocking them for their style who do nothing. Let's step out of bizarro world where cynicism is God and return to a society where people can't use other's compassion as a focal point for mocking them.
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