CITIZENSHIP 101: Give to Your Causes (ALBUQUERQUE)

april-may-2009-2-021

WHAT WE (HUMANS) DO TO OUR HABITAT DURING OUR SILLY QUARRELS.

Here are the questions for myself I posed a few days ago.  First how to know the truth of anything?—which I answered by recommending supporting real journalism. Secondly, how to support those standing between the new Know-Nothing Party and the most vulnerable among us?—my question for today. Thirdly, where are my brains and body needed to stand in opposition to the new dark ages—the American version.

How to support those standing between the new Know-Nothing Party and the most vulnerable among us? Of course like most of us among the majority who voted for progressives, I believe in progressive governments at the local, state and federal level putting substantial sums of my and everyone else’s tax dollars toward supporting the vulnerable, at home and abroad. Next I believe it is my job as a human being and member of society to contribute personally for the important extras, whether protecting and beautifying the parks, teaching ESL to refugees, or supporting cultural exchanges among the world’s youngsters.

Again…it is my government’s job to see to the basics—with my tax dollars and yours, but with (good) government’s expertise and organization.  The basics include excellent educational resources, healthcare, decent safe housing and freedom from racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and all the other hates with which the fearful flood the world. Then I step in as a responsible citizen to plant more trees in the park, pay for extra toys and clothes for those without, assist a refugee family or help fund spaying and neutering clinics. We all buy our own houses, cars, TVs, vacations, and pretties at Target or that nice evening’s worth of wine and Netflix. That’s how the system should work.

Actually my theory of charitable giving is similar to my theory of grandparenting (which only works if one has responsible government and responsible children). The government takes care of basic needs for all of its citizens just like our children are responsible for the basic needs of our grandchildren. Then as generous and caring private citizens and/or grandparents we show up with those important extras—whether volunteering to take a newcomer to a Drs. appointment  as a good citizen or grandchildren to the mall for new spring outfits.

However, here we are facing a government gone selfish, foolish, negligent, and downright malicious. It would seem the times are demanding more of those of us who can put a little money where our mouths are!

I’ve had times in my life when my charitable activity has been very close to zero; other times when I’ve been fairly generous to a particular cause or two. At the present I’m thinking that giving small amounts in monthly increments to several organizations is the way to go. Here’s where this has taken me so far this year:

  • Doctors Without Borders has been my cause for many years because I firmly believe we cannot turn away from the abused and displaced around the world—especially since we’ve often contributed to the situations in which victims of despotic rulers and endless weaponry find themselves. This is a situation for which most of the world’s governments should be held responsible and somehow forced to remedy. How? Who knows for sure? Probably not actually possible actually as long as we permit so many of our sons to believe ‘boys will be boys’ and that vroom vroom and bang bang can be their theme music.
  • International Rescue Committee for all the reasons listed above.
  • SPCA. Because we’re an animal-loving family and the frequency with which people neglect, abuse and abandon their pets troubles us greatly. The other critical issue is how—for that unnecessary steak or cheap chicken—we allow our fellow creatures to be tortured. And torture is exactly the right word. If we are determined to eat meat (an unnecessary and environmentally bad practice) the least we can do is force the meat-producing industry to treat animals humanely. AND we can insist that the meat we do eat has been free range and permitted a bit of life before we kill it for our momentary pleasure and life-long obesity.

Now for the organizations to which I’ve renewed previous commitments or am contributing for the first time, purely as a response to the shyster’s election.

  • Southern Poverty Law Conference—fighting hate groups like the skinheads, Nazis, Klan, etc. of which there is already a proliferation under the influence of the shyster.
  • Planned Parenthood. I’ve always supported this organization but have never contributed before because they seemed to be well-supported. Now’s the time to add whatever dollars we can and our names to their supporters list because they’re one of the prime targets of the nastiest of our Republican “leaders.”
  • MoveOn because it’s important to have comrades in arms (figuratively speaking) to act on a wide range of human-rights and economic issues.

There are others—arts, progressive politicians and social organizations—to which I contribute modest one time donations. Now lest I am making myself sound very generous, unfortunately that is not the case. These are not large amounts. There are so many worthy and even critical causes out there that it’s overwhelming to know where to begin. This post is my attempt to say we can all, almost all of the time, engage in helping out—we just need to think about where and how our few dollars can make the most difference to our own most near and dear causes. Just be sure before you hit the donate button to check out the organization on a site like Charity Navigator to be sure it’s not a total fraud like—for example—the Trump Foundation!

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