Today’s guest post is by Larry Hodgden of Tipton Iowa. Larry is a retired Viet Nam era veteran of the USAF. He and his wife of 40 years, Sharon, have three children and seven grandchildren who keep him very busy. Family, education, church and politics have been a lifelong passion.
Having had the good fortune to recently attend a discussion series about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I have learned that 170 years later Scrooge lives on. You won’t readily recognize him in our town where many very generous people give so much of their time and treasure for the public good, yet there is, no doubt, a little bit of Scrooge in many of us.
Dickens writes that this festive season (Christmas) “is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices”. Few can argue that in this nation there is a shortage of wealth, nor can they argue that were it more evenly shared, Want would become rare. Once again we, as a society, are experiencing the widest disparity of wealth since the 1920’s and we know, or should know, the result of that.
The ghost of “Christmas Present” introduces two disheveled and clearly malnourished children to Scrooge whom the ghost describes as Ignorance and Want. When Scrooge inquires who the children belong to, the reply is “they belong to man”. Today we create a new generation of Want when we as a nation, among other things, fail to provide universal preschool for all children, not because we cannot afford to, but because we choose to protect the status of our own wealth.
How else can you explain your support for those in Congress that will abide subsidies for oil companies and large corporations along with tax breaks and loopholes for millionaires and billionaires while they seek to cut food stamps for hungry children, deny a living minimum wage for working people and withhold unemployment funds for struggling families.
Our hearts may be in the right place and we can salve our conscience by small deeds of benevolence but when it comes to caring for mankind and the offspring of mankind it would be better if we did not have to be reminded by Charles Dickens and by Pope Francis that we, as Christians, fall far short of the admonitions of the teachings of Jesus whose birth we celebrate.