I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream — a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality. – Rev. Dr. Martin Luthor King, Jr.
There is a a blogger at the Des Moines Register who has decided to fast one random day a week to show solidarity for the poor and oppressed people around the world, particularly those prisoners being held at Gitmo still.
My partner Megan Felt and I have decided to fast one day a week – abstaining from alcohol, caffeine, food, juice, prescriptions, sex, and all monetary purchases – to stand in solidarity with the poor and oppressed in the world and, more specifically, with the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and other locations around the globe.
We’re starting today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but will randomly select a different day each week from here on out.
Imagine if every American fasted and abstained from monetary purchases for one day every week. We would lower our consumption rate by nearly 15 percent. Imagine how those resources could be redistributed to better provide for the least among us.
Fasting one day a week isn’t even all that hard either. Yeah sure, it’s going to be uncomfortable, but whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
David Goodner – Young Adult Board at The Des Moines Register 1/21/08
Mr. Goodner is a twenty-six year old student at Iowa. Most of what he writes is political in nature and reflects his interests in making the world a better place through public debate, I think. It’s hard to tell. He’s a kid. Only a kid could believe that not having sex or taking his allergy medicine once a week would translate into a saved world. Well, alright, that’s not fair. He doesn’t think he can save the world by doing these things. He is trying to prove his compassion through a meaningless set of gestures. And that is a harsh assessment. And a fair one. But I think it’s probably something we have all been guilty of from time to time over the course of our lives. It’s easy to make small and relatively easy sacrifices. I can remember collecting change from middle school kids for the food bank. They would drop dimes and nickels and pennies into a jar or can and at the end of a week or two we’d have five or six dollars. It was ridiculous because half or more of these same kids came to school every day with that much on them, but only a few of them could think to donate a couple of dollars rather than a few coins or nothing at all. Going without a pop from the machine at the end of the day or not being able to buy junk food a la carte at lunch was too much sacrifice. Their chump change giving was enough to make them feel good.
What I found to be the most odd sacrifice was giving up sex for a day. Which leads a person to wonder just how often David and his partner have sex that giving it up for a day is a hardship. And just as an aside, isn’t it cute the way he refers to her as his “partner”. Such solidarity with same-sex couples is proof, I guess, of the seriousness with which we should take his other “solidarity” stances. But back to the sex. One day. That’s a sacrifice? He clearly has always had a partner because speaking as someone who went without sex for the duration of her first husband’s illness and quite a while longer after his death, I’d just as soon write the needy of the world a check.
Gestures are just that. If you want to help the poor, then really help them. Donate your time or your money or something that you bought mindlessly on your last cruise through Target. Volunteer. Join a cause and work for it. Sipping bottled water for a day? Walking across campus instead of driving a half mile to class? Skipping the snugglies with your honey? What is that? Really, what is that?