I’m a little mixed up this morning. I try to keep on top of headlines and opinions, and this morning, just a few days after the darkness of the Sandy Hook massacre, I’m reading stories and articles about how people are angry about being encouraged to give to charity.
It’s a week before Christmas. Matt Young is telling us he won’t be giving to charity to because his inner-Sydney urban lifestyle is too expensive. And also in Sydney, a bar in Surrey Hills has banned the Salvation Army from entering its establishment because apparently the homeless people at the Salvos shelter up the road are often intoxicated, and the pub doesn’t hold with that sort of thing. And to top it off, someone is trying to kill Oxfam Girl, whose only crime is being too imaginary.
I don’t mind people having a go when the charities get a little too cheeky. I’ve been known to have the odd crack at them myself. But the Christmas season is not the time to start whining about people asking for money on behalf of those less fortunate, especially when the only reason we’re complaining is because the cost of living is going up, which, while it’s a nuisance for us, is likely to be catastrophic for those who are struggling to get by as it is. And not struggling in the sense of “I’ve no money left at the end of the pay period," but struggling in the sense of “I guess I can go live in my car for a while.”
Okay, so groceries are expensive. Petrol is insane. Electricity bills are set to go through the roof. The point we all seem to miss in this is that even when they’re expensive, we still have ready access to food, fuel, electricity and roofs. There are plenty of people, even in Australia and in the centre of Sydney who struggle even for these basic things. Not just struggle to pay for them; they don’t get them at all. Thank God for organisations like the Salvos who are prepared to stand in the gap and speak for them.
It’s fine if you don’t like their religious stance. And it’s fine if you want to criticise their corporate structure. But if you can’t spare some change for the homeless while you’re enjoying your nine dollar apple cider, then I don’t care what your philosophical or economic stance is: you’re doing it wrong.
So in this season of giving, try to find a little bit of extra light in your heart, and buy a sandwich for an inner city wanker who might have to unplug his plasma TV for a while to manage his electricity bill.
To the rest of you: Merry Christmas!
Garry with 2 Rs