Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Poor Will Always Be With Us

I’ve been reading the responses to my blog – one set up for me by a fine friend who does not condemn me for my incurable Ludditism – and have discovered that I am, due to my fervor over the election, turning into a tiresome, one-note woman. Disconcerting, when I’ve always regarded myself as a player of many diverse tunes.

So I’d like to tackle the steep contrast between the sudden focus on obesity and the virtual lack of attention given to the growing number of people who are hungry. Hunger in America? Sure, as those with a knowledge of the Bible will tell anyone: the poor will always be with us. But out and out hungry? Food pantries running dry? Kids going to bed with rumblings in their empty tummies?

About the latter: No, not the sound of, say, jazz musicians tuning up before a gig, or brooks gurgling away in pristine surroundings. I am talking about the sound of stomachs yearning not only to be free, but for food. The kind of condition which makes learning difficult, and can lead to present and future manifestations of severe malnutrition.

Will someone out there, in the great, and to me unknown land of cyberspace, tell me what in the hell is going on? In our national game of dialing for dollars, must the wheel stop at weapons of exterminating life rather than allowing it to grow? And thrive? Soldiering-to-death vs. feeding-kids-to-adulthood? Bullet-scarred bellies vs. full ones?

Add this to our crumbling infrastructure, a health system that is a mockery, and gas prices whose only bright spot may well be a reduction in suicides in closed garages, and can you understand why I find it somewhat difficult to encourage someone to stop and smell the roses? Or sniff at the scented brush to be found on a certain spread of ranch out in Texas?