Snow falls on the mountain. As the snow melts the mountain absorbs as much water as it needs. The excess begins its way downhill in trickles, fingers of runoff, seeking a freer flow as it picks up momentum. In search of the path of least resistance, it meets up, and merges with other flows to form small streams, which in turn become creeks, which feed rivers. The rivers empty into gorges and valleys, low lying areas where the water accumulates to become lakes, until eventually overflowing their own banks, and the process of trickles, streams, creeks and rivers begins again, filling up even lower level valleys where the overflow continues on down, and out, to the sea. Many tributaries bypass the lake stage altogether, moving swiftly, freely, and unencumbered, through the hills and valleys on their path to the ocean. The water eventually evaporates, rising up to the sky to form clouds, which drop rain and snow on the higher elevations again to ensure the continuation of the cycle. It is the natural way. It is how the planet was designed to work.
There is no need for anybody to be hungry in our country. There is enough abundance to provide for all. The problem is not in the supply, but in the distribution. The problem is not about resources, but about direction of flow. It is about accumulation, and it is about power. It is about those on the bottom feeding those on the top. It is about water flowing UP-hill rather than following it’s natural course.
If we, as a people, took it upon ourselves to help care for, and raise up, those who are financially, and circumstantially, beneath us, the distribution of food and services would move unabated from the top down to the bottom, from those with the most, eventually down to those with the least, as it should be. But it must involve people at every level. The comfortable need to give to the less comfortable, the poor to the poorer. The natural cycle must move un-interrupted. Far too often we consider it to be the responsibility of the wealthy, or the government, to take care of everybody in need. But in actuality, it is our own responsibility. It is mine, and it is yours. It is part of what makes us whole and complete as human beings.
When a government agency comes in and builds a damn to restrict the natural overflow of a lake, that government can then control how much water to release, when to release it, and what community to direct it to. We see that all the time in Northern California with Lakes Shasta, Mendocino, Sonoma, and the rivers they empty into. Constant maneuvering and politicking by special interests to manage the rivers to protect the fish, or to release more water to this community for irrigation, or less to that community for recreation etc. When we allow the government to collect our money, hold it, and distribute it to the needy for us, more often than not, ‘needy’ will best be defined in terms of political expediency, or to put it more simply, ‘votes’.
When relying on the government to care for our fellow humans, we lose the ‘blessing’ that would, otherwise, be connected to the giving. I believe that not only do we lose our own blessing, but that the prospective recipient of the giving loses it as well. When the government welfare programs anonymously prop up the underclass, the underclass has no motivation to want to do well. They continue to be recipients of shame, rather than of life, expectation and promise. There should be no expectation in the giving, but there should be, in the receiving, a responsibility for the gift. “My neighbor gave me these tomato plants. I will grow them, with gratitude, and give some of the tomatoes to my other neighbor who is not doing as well as I am. And I will also teach him how to grow his own.” This is how life should work. This is how people feel valued, and motivated, rather than devalued and paralyzed.
When help comes from the top directly down to the bottom, and all the in-between levels are passed over, all those people (the majority) are cut out of the distribution chain, robbing them of participation in the act of living, and encouraging them to continue to feed the government so the government can ‘feed the needy’. It is the damn in the lake.
It is the interruption of the natural flow.
The government loves to have the people beholding to it, rather than having people beholding to other people. It enables them to control us. It is, in essence, the government paying us for our co-operation. When we give them this kind of control we give up our dignity, and our ability, and propensity to rise above our circumstances. Never has this been more evident than in the Katrina Hurricane disaster, where in New Orleans, an inordinate number of poor people, many of them welfare families, depended on, and waited upon, the government to rescue them from their circumstances. When the government failed them they perished. A sad and tragic consequence of the conditioning of government reliance. Prior to the hurricane, had self-reliance, and independence been nurtured, rather than discouraged, many of these people would have survived. Had the natural flow of giving been in practice prior to the disaster, the natural distribution of assistance would have already been in place as well. As it were, the rich and the comfortable got out of town with the early warnings while the poor were left, unequipped, to fend for themselves. What if people at every socio-economic level were looking out for those at the level even just beneath them? And what if those with means had made commitments to assist those who were without?
Unfortunately, we have been in the habit of paying ‘up’, and it has infected and influenced our culture to our own detriment. We pay big politicians to elect themselves to office, ostensibly for our benefit. Then we pay the big government to protect us. We pay the big insurance companies to protect our financial investments. We pay the big corporations for our goods and services. We give our money to the big ‘Non-Profit’ agencies to distribute our donations, even though most of them have administrative budgets of between 60 and 85 percent of their gross fund-raising, executives making obscene salaries, and political agendas that would make you want to take your donation back. But we continue to pay ‘up’ because, well, we just do. Ever notice how people usually give the most elaborate parties, and the most expensive gifts, to those who are above them on the socio-economic ladder? Ever notice how we attend the parties of our ‘superiors’, but not of our ‘inferiors’? Ever notice how much quicker we are to laugh at the jokes of our bosses and ‘social superiors’? Ever notice how willing we are to offer our assistance to those who don’t really need it, to those who can afford to buy their own assistance, but how slow we are to offer it to those ‘beneath’ us, those who maybe can’t afford to buy it? We are all social climbers, of sorts, and things need to be re-evaluated. They need to change.
As I have said, “there is no need for anybody to be hungry in our country. There is enough abundance to provide for all. The problem is not in the supply, but in the distribution. The problem is not about resources, but about direction of flow. It is about accumulation, and it is about power. It is about those on the bottom feeding those on the top. It is about water flowing UP-hill rather than following it’s natural course.”
Water needs to be allowed, once again, to flow downhill, free and unencumbered.
Find a way to help provide for someone who is struggling beneath you.
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