|Posted on November 18, 2012 at 3:10 PM|
It's easy to get all doom-and-gloomy about the human race, which is why it's nice to be reminded from time to time that we aren't actually devolving back into single-celled protozoa, especially when you hear about some Florida tanning salon owner offing himself because he didn't like the way the recent election went (I mean seriously, WTF Florida? Maybe you're taking the idea of being America's swinging cock a little too literally, you excitable little peninsula, you).
America Just Got A Good Look Up Europe's Skirt
Here's the thing though: If you didn't get the guy you wanted in office, you need to accept that the rest of your countrymen thought someone else was better suited for the job. Maybe you need to communicate your message better, or maybe your party's brand is a little tarnished (*cough* Akin, Mourdock, Limbaugh, Santorum, Coulter, Bachmann, Walsh, Broun *cough*), but the fact of the matter is that this country needs a competent and realistic conservative party to keep us liberals from running naked in the streets – we'll do it. The losing party will reboot, because they have to, and come back re-energized and, just maybe, with better ideas in the future. And hey, at least the people who are riled up are passionate and that's not nothin'. I did lose a few friends during the course of the recent election, which was a bummer, but I was mostly impressed by how much people on both sides actually care about where things are going. The bottom line is, we don't have to agree in order to appreciate one another's point of view. So take a breathe and maybe hold back on those secession petitions for a while.
Ridden to Death by Sean Hannity
My youngest daughter is a Girl Scout Brownie and part of earning her community badge involved touring the local Catholic Charities. Now, we could make a list a mile long of all the rotten things the Catholic church has done, not to mention the smelly shenanigans they've been up to in my state, but their charitable wing is a shining example of decentness. According to the Volunteer Director, who gave us the tour, the local Catholic Charities food shelf gave out nearly two million pounds of food in 2011 alone and helps out 2,000 families a month on average. They aren't the only food shelf in Saint Cloud, but they are the biggest, and they let needy people "shop" for a week's worth of groceries instead of just handing them pre-sorted rations. Families are only allowed one visit a month, but they also have access to free clothing, blankets, and other necessities. There is a group of older ladies who volunteer once a week to knit quilts from donated materials. They make about 14 a day and all are given out almost immediately.
No Joke Here, Just Good Folk
Here's the really impressive part: while they do offer their services on an income-based scale, they don't actually require a person to prove that they're poor. It's basically on the honor system. When one of the Brownies asked what would happen if someone was caught stealing, the Director said it had never happened, but if it did, they would take the person aside and ask what it was that they needed. My daughter asked what time of year they needed the most help and I was surprised to hear him answer, "Summer." Apparently, the kids who get free meals during the school year are in real trouble during the summer months. Winter is a better time because that's when most people are in a charitable mood and churches have their big "Feed the Hungry" drives.
By the way, you don't have to be Catholic to get help from these folks. While a heathen can't get a vasectomy at the local Catholic hospital (because rerouting your plumbing is affront to the Lord), they can feed their family and keep them warm thanks to the truly good people at Catholic Charities, no matter who they pray to.
Speaking of truly good people, I have always noticed that it's the nursing staff who do almost all of the heavy lifting when it comes to patient care. The doctors swoop in at the last minute like Batman with a scalpel and disappear just as suddenly, leaving the brunt of the caring and 'splaining to the nurses. Paying the doctors a higher salary than the nurses is like paying the Texas Board of Education more than the teachers who have to unravel the bullshit they send out to schools. Now, I don't want to disparage the doctors too much. When my oldest daughter's knee exploded a couple weeks ago (the doctor refused to tell me whether or not there was an 'Acme' label on it, so I think we know what that means), the surgeon was fired up about what a bunch of fuckwits (his word) the insurance company was for requiring prior approval for a twelve-year-old's surgery.
"We're losin' him! Quick, get the Bat-Paddles from my Utility Belt!"
If I ever had any doubt about whether the people who dedicate their lives to making people feel better were serious about their jobs, the care and attention they gave to my kid made it clear that their patients really do matter to them. Yes, hospitals and clinics are busy places and not the kind of work environment I would ever want to be in, but the fact that they are able to take the time to give personal attention to the sick and wounded is nothing short of inspiring.
It's a little too easy to get into a "people are shitty" mindset, but when I take the time to notice, I'm impressed with my species more often than not. It turns out that for everything that divides and polarizes us, there's even more that brings us together. Everyone out there, give yourself a high-five.
Categories: People and Culture