pollychromatic

the world through rainbow eyes


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… and Hope and Charity

I feel very overwhelmed with this US presidential election year.

Usually politics concern me, but do not worry me. I watch and comment and get involved where it seems prudent or useful.

This year feels different. I see the hate speech and violence ramping up at Trump rallies. The machine that the GOP made using the Southern Strategy has been so successful that it created a vacancy that Trump stepped into seamlessly.

His charisma when people feel ill prepared, financially, to achieve and sustain basic life needs appeals to people. His charisma when people feel entirely Future Shocked also appeals to the masses.

I seem to be mostly surrounded by people who do not see the appeal of Donald Trump. Most of us have sat helpless and hopeless watching his effect grow.

Yesterday was Super Tuesday in my state of Georgia and I watched my state’s conservative Primary voters turn out to support Trump. My own feelings of hopelessness grew. I listened to Trump talking about ‘Making America Great Again’ and heard echoes of other similar historical promises made.

I woke up with my mind ruminating on this and spoke with a friend about it. How do we fix this? How can we fix a world where cutting one’s self off from others seems the safest solution, or the only viable solution.

The answer we finally came up with was charity. The world is broken, and the only way to go about fixing it is to directly apply ourselves.

People do not feel hopeless when there is hope. They do not feel helpless when they are helped or helping. They are not prone to the charismatic and empty promises of hatred that are simply an act of cutting one’s self off from compassion and empathy when they have been directly touched by compassion and empathy.

So the question of what to do is charity but the question of what charity is and how to do it remains.

Maimonides said acts of charity are:

  1. Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
  2. Giving charity anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of charity with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
  3. Giving charity anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving charity publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving charity before being asked.
  6. Giving charity after being asked.
  7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. Giving out of pity or sadness.

This seems like a reasonable accounting of the ways of doing charity. It even lists the ways that are imperfect, but still doing charity. Life is not perfect, and I am not perfect, so I can do this.

So I am going to dedicate myself to [at least] one act of charity a week. My friend agreed and we will hold each other accountable.

In this way I can help restore the world. No empty promises of making America great, but actual work toward humanity.

Join me?


4 Comments

Dare

The hearings began today.

I’m having a hard time with the space between my cynicism and my optimism.

I don’t have anything eloquent or composed to say. Better writers than me are writing. Better speakers than me are speaking.

So, I’m not going to try to say anything unique or beautiful. I’m not going to try to change your mind if you somehow hold the strange position that anyone else’s love does anything but make the world a better place. I can’t imagine how difficult your world must be if you do believe that, really.

I’m not going to talk about those who once opposed marriage equality changing their minds once they realized that it was an issue that touched the people they loved. I’m not going to talk about whether that’s too little too late, or if it’s an evolution of thought that is needed, or even if it’s both.

I’m not going to talk about those I love who have had bigotry rule their life and choices.

I’m not going to talk about the double standards of people who have divorced their dying spouses so they could remarry quicker than their spouse could die who stand up and talk about sanctity of marriage and how they believe that someone else simply loving another person enough to want to share their whole life with them in any possible way threatens that sanctity.

I’m not going to talk about the separation of church and state that is such a valued treasure to my Constitution while others simultaneously talk about their valued treasure of the 2nd Amendment and how they believe we need more church in our state for the good of the public welfare.

I’m not going to talk about those who have been killed or killed themselves because our culture so hates all things queer.

I’m not going to talk about my own sexuality, and why I call myself queer.

I’m not going to talk about love.

I’m not even going to talk about hope.

I’m just going to do it.

I’m going to hope. I’m going to dream. I’m going to believe that it is possible that the world is changing. I’m going to dare.

Do you dare with me?