Charity, Assistance, & Helping Others………A Division In Outlook

I have been arguing with a family member today about extending a helping hand to others.  At some point it became clear to me that in this, as in politics, & religion, & pretty much our entire world-view, we would never see eye to eye.  If he weren’t family, I doubt we would even have any impetus to talk at all.  Thinking about it afterwards, I think his viewpoint and mine can be fairly said to represent the extreme ends of the Left/Right spectrum.

It seems to me that the majority of far lefters and Liberals are impassioned and moved to pay forward without conditions or strings, or at least with minimal ones.  We do not want to dictate terms or hold up hoops to jump through.  We don’t necessarily expect to induce those we aid to conform to our ideologies, and we are not very concerned with alternate or opposing viewpoints in the face of tragedy.  If we see a need or a place to lend a hand, we want to do just that.  We also do not expect reciprocation or immediate return, because our investment is in humanity in general.  We want to make things better for everyone, everywhere, not just ourselves & our own interests.

Far righters & Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to me to be far more driven by control issues.  Public works and other assistance programs are viewed with distrust and resentment.  This could be because when aid is given through these channels, each individual contributor (either by taxation or donation) is a step removed from decisions regarding perceived worthiness.

In conversations I have had with my mostly Republican, far right, Conservative family and friends, I see a fairly consistent theme in regard to who deserves help.  The main thing they all seem to agree on, and I totally oppose, is the sentiment that no help should be given until the cause, or person or persons, in need submit to qualifying standards.  It would seem, at least from them, that being in need is not enough.  You must prove to be sufficiently needy, and your need must be of an acceptable nature.

This is a fairly good reason why having sane, rational, reasonable Moderates from both sides is so important.

As a fairly extreme Liberal, I recognize that I and those like me occasionally need a gentle redirecting hand to help us do the most good for the largest group.  We can be easily diverted and spend an enormous amount of time and resources in areas that perhaps could have been better used elsewhere.  That in no way negates what good we might do in those ares, and it in no way means we should not continue to try to lend a hand wherever we can, but we need a balance.

Likewise, Conservatives need a nudge to be less interested in exactly what the needy do in their private lives, and more concerned with the actual benefit derived from the action of giving.  Assistance should actually be assistance.  It should not be a lever to force obedience, nor should it be a method of weeding out or penalizing those who disagree with you.

We need someone to bring us together, and to force us to play nice in the world’s sandbox.  Clearly, we won’t ever do it on our own.


Gifts That Just Keep On Giving……

I recently saw a quote attributed to Mother Teresa going the rounds on Facebook:

Do Good Anyway
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa
This statement is apparently on the wall of the Home For Children in Calcutta.
Upon some further reading, I found the original of this, by Dr. Kent Keith:

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
That got me thinking about what it takes to do good in the world.  I don’t mean doing enormous works, or something that will get your name out there into the ether to be remembered for generations to come, but the little things that just make the world a little nicer for your having been in it. What have you done today that left this a nicer place than what you found when you got up this morning? How about last week? Last month? Last year? I’ll be honest. I don’t do nearly as much as I would like. I don’t have an excuse really; in fact sometimes I don’t even make the conscious decision to do nothing. I just don’t get up off my tuchus and get anything accomplished.
I am trying to shake off the apathy and motivate myself a little in that regard. Hectic as my days are, surely I can squeeze a few minutes out occasionally to do something positive. If I can’t get out of the house today to do something out there, I can at least give a shout out to those who are. So, here goes…….
There are so many really worthy charities and organizations that are working to make this world a better place for all of us. Check these people out. Go there, call them, visit their online sites. Here are a handful of those I have had some connection in the past, or am working with now:
Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin
Austin, Texas, USA

This organization provides breastmilk for premature infants and critically ill infants. Caring professional people, and just an absolute joy to work with. As a current donor, I can promise you that the process of getting approved and into their system is practically painless. Contact them, and they will talk to you over the phone with a brief survey. They then send you a packet of paperwork to fill out, including a section for your doctor & your baby’s doctor complete. The questions are pretty equivalent to what you answer at the Red Cross when you give blood. If everything looks good, you make a run to one of their approved lab testing centers for some blood tests. Once they get the results back, if everything looks good, you are in. They send you collection containers & shipping containers as well as all the stickers & paperwork to send them back. The shipping cost is on them, and FedEx will come to your house and do the pick up. The only thing it will cost you is a few trips to drop off paperwork at the doctor’s office & to the lab. You need to pack your shipment with dry ice, so there is that very minor expenses, but they will offer to reimburse you for that as well. If you are a nursing momma, consider this agency. They really need all the help they can get, because there is no shortage of babies and need. The only thing it will cost you in the long run is a little time.
The Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Uses the donations they receive for both stem cell research and for transfusions to critically ill children & adults. Sadly, the term “stem cell research” has acquired a negative vibe to it due to political and theological pressures. It is important to understand that the research these people do is from voluntary donations of new mothers of healthy infants and not connected with any form of cessation or termination of pregnancy. The blood from the umbilical cord, which is routinely thrown away as medical waste after delivery in many locations, can be collected and sent to this agency. There, they are able to bank it for future use. The approval process is pretty easy. Contact them and have the packet of information sent to you. Complete the medical history and return it. There will be some things for your doctor to fill out as well. Once approved you receive a box containing both the collection kit and instructions on how to use it. Take it to the hospital and the nurses caring for you will work with the doctor to collect the blood from your placenta after delivery. The collection process is completely painless to both mom and baby. After it is collected, box it up according to the instructions and notify the courier, who will pick it up and return it to the Cord Blood Bank. Easy-peasy. It costs you just a little bit of your time filling out forms, and a little extra blood draw when you get to the hospital. Best of all, this is something that, in all likelihood, your hospital would have THROWN AWAY otherwise.
The Red Cross
located pretty much everywhere, seriously

This one probably doesn’t need to much of an explanation. Find a center in your area. Go there. Show them your id and fill out their questionnaire. They will do a finger stick to make sure you aren’t anemic. If you are okay to donate, they hook you right up. You even get a cookie afterwards. Hooray, you did it!
So yeah, nothing new or startling here. Just wanted to give a shout out to some worthy people doing a lot of good. They need all the help they can get, whether it be financial donations or volunteering at a local center, or just simply getting into the system of donors. With these great agencies doing all they can to make an impact, the least I can do is give them whatever I can. How about you?