Charity Begins at Home

Suzann Darnall

I have been thinking a lot about the nanny state, redistribution of wealth, fair share, and their other buzz words. And, I've come to the conclusion that I reject the ideas the Left has about charity and taxation.

I believe that charity begins at home and no one can know the needs of others as well as those closest to them. Be it family, friends, neighbors, church members, or folks in the community. Government entities are too far from the problem to really deal with what need be done. They just throw money at the situation and hope for the best, without actually realizing that sometimes it isn't about money. Sometimes it is about help or friendship or compassion.

I also believe in the idea of giving a hand up, not a handout. If we help someone gain a level of independence we achieve much more than if we simply make them ever more dependent upon the government. History has shown us repeatedly that welfare generations just keep replicating into more welfare generations. Welfare undermines the basic fabric of the family. Where there is no pride in accomplishment, it seems there soon is very little pride in anything.

Americans are traditionally among the most generous people on the planet, in part because we have for centuries been among the most prosperous nations on the planet. When we have lots, we share it with others. When we have less, we still share with others.

I don't mind sharing with and helping others. But, there is a difference between me opting to give to my church, donate to charities, assist my family, or help my neighbors and having my money taken by the government to distribute to those they feel are in need. All too often it is turning out that many of those on the dole have no place being there. Not to mention all the money that is wasted by the government entities supposedly overseeing these programs.

When I help my friend who needs a ride to the hospital, there is no overhead, no service charge, and no paperwork. When our neighbors help my husband build me a sewing room, the cost is a few sodas, some drinks of water, a couple of lunches, and many profuse thanks. This seems much more efficient, immediate, and necessary to me than anything the government could possibly supply.

Over the years I have noticed folks helping one another. They seem to do it in a much more effective way than government. Lots of folks hire friends who are unemployed or underemployed to do jobs they cannot do themselves. Fix a car, put in some plumbing, repair a roof, and so on. It benefits both parties. The person doing the work gets some much needed income and the person doing the hiring gets a job done for a reasonable fee. Definite win-win!

I also notice that there is often a pay-it-forward aspect to the homegrown assistance program. I help a neighbor, that neighbor helps a friend, that friend helps a stranger, and it seemingly goes on forever. I know that when I am assisted by someone I feel obligated to do the same along the way. Not obligated in a bad way, but because my heart is full and I want to share.

I realize there is perhaps a need for some government assistance programs. But, they have seemingly grown beyond being safety nets to save someone from falling and turned into hammocks for people to lounge their lives away.

The war on poverty has somehow turned all upside down and become a war on prosperity. Not only does the government seem to be encouraging people to turn to welfare type programs and never leave them, a large chunk of the politicians seem to be bent on demonizing anyone who does not require government assistance. They want to take ever larger portions from those who have and redistribute it among those who have only what is taken from others. I say it this way 'cause there really aren't all that many have-nots in America. The poor among us often have cars, cell phones, televisions, game systems, tattoos, jewelry, can afford cigarettes, etc.

We face a very real choice this November. Do we want a country where every safety net is turned into a hammock? Or, do we want a government that is fiscally responsible AND allows us to do for ourselves those things we can? We can keep on the very broken path of Obama and his ilk, where achievement is derided and punished, or we can put in place as many conservatives as possible and help them change us back to the America we know and love. The country that is generous with our friends and neighbors when we don't have . . . and even more generous when we do!

© Suzann C. Darnall, AUGUST 2012, San Marcos, Texas

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