I read about the politicians’ hasty reconsideration of their bellying up to gorge at the public trough. They just were not sneaky enough in this case to pull the wool over the publics eyes. There were no labels or somebody else they could point at to distract the public attention from the real issues, nobody to blame or absolve them of responsibility. So they had to stand naked before the public with their actions and the consequences of those actions in plain view. In pondering the question of how to force the effects of the government’s actions on the poor, homeless and those needing help I realized the bizarre fact that one of the side effects of charity is to aid in whitewashing these actions and effects.
So why do I say that a side effect of charity is aiding in a government whitewash?
Whitewash: n. Concealment or palliation of flaws or failures; tr.v. To conceal
or gloss over (wrongdoing, for example).
Palliate: tr.v. 1. To make (an
offense or crime) seem less serious; extenuate. 2. To make less severe or
In taking on the feeding of the poor, those on social assistance and the homeless charities have allowed the government to conceal the flaws in and the failure of its social policies AND its fiscal policies. It is those fiscal policies that have given rise to a large class of working poor who struggle to keep a roof over their heads and rely on the food bank and other charities for food, clothing and luxuries such as shampoo. These same fiscal policies result in those struggling to get off welfare and onto their own two feet facing an uphill struggle in finding employment in their search for independence. This is not the place to list all the failures of its social policies, since such a listing would distract from the topic under discussion – although the government itself employs many forms of distraction in concealing its actions and the consequences for those in need of a helping hand.
I had to look up the word palliate when I decided to use the definition for the term whitewash. It seems very, very appropriate here. ‘To make less severe or intense; mitigate’. Imagine if you will (OK I stole that from Rod Serling, but I often feel I have entered the Twilight Zone) a world in which no charities undertook to feed the hungry. People would start dying from starvation. The pictures of children suffering from hunger and starvation would no long be from Africa but from the streets of BC. It would certainly strip away the concealment of just what the true effect of the governments policies are, pushing them before the public eye in the same way that the pay raises were.
I am glad there are people out there with generous hearts since I am currently one of those who (I had to go back to put in the word currently, if you let the system beat you down to the point where you become ‘one of’ this mindset can turn you into a permanent inhabitant of the system) depends upon their humanity for survival. I have now truly come to understand why those who work and strive so hard to help feed, shelter and clothe the needy are driven to do this. Still I am forced to acknowledge that their acts of basic human decency and kindness help sanitize the policies and actions of the government.
Sanitize: tr.v. To make more acceptable by removing unpleasant or offensive
I do mean sanitize. Or I certainly hope I do. I fervently hope that hungry, starving people would be viewed as an offensive feature of current policies. I shudder to think what kind of society we have if we find it acceptable to have those in need of help, suffering and dying for lack of help. I mentioned this theory about the ‘whitewash effect of charity’ to a friend at lunch and he agreed with the logic. He just was not as sure that society would require action even if people started dying of starvation – “You hope” he said repeatedly. Frighteningly, I could understand his skepticism and had no way to refute it, which probably speaks volumes about the type of society we have allowed to grow. Where people drive by or step over those in need of assistance and when it hits the news (being a BIG story) we all shake our heads and say how terrible those bystanders were – but I wonder just how many of those head-shakers would have been driving by or stepping over the needy if they had been there themselves? Maybe, instead of pointing fingers at television, movies, magazines etc and bemoaning them as the cause for the direction society is headed, we should step up to the mirror and point at ourselves.
A society is a reflection of all its’ citizens behaviour. If you think society is corroding away, reflect upon your own actions – or inactions.
People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.
The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.
When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.