A Rant: Man’s Humanity to Man

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  Mark Twain. Dr. Thomas Dooley described gentleness as “…the force that can relieve ugliness and tragedy.“

Sadly, it is all too easy to find ugliness and tragedy in today’s world. Prisoners are treated as worthless objects, rather than human beings made in God’s image. Lack of appropriate mental health care in prisons and in communities leads to a high percentage of mentally ill being charged with criminal behavior, when what they really need is treatment, not punishment. Michigan ranks thirteenth among fifty states for number of individuals incarcerated. Twenty percent of Michigan’s 43,000 prisoners are severely mentally ill.

Adults and children go hungry every day in these “united” states. There are an estimated 700,000 to two million that are homeless in our nation. In 2010 forty-six million Americans were estimated to be living in poverty. As life becomes more difficult for those on fixed incomes to make ends meet, it certainly appears that rich, corporate America grows richer.

I will probably never have the means to make a difference for anyone financially, but I see such waste out there…. Materialism abounds. Service pays the price. Monies allocated to programs that make a difference are being cut, even though needs remain unaddressed and continue to grow. Programs that produce positive results are being eliminated.

I didn’t begin this entry to produce a political diatribe, but I am so frustrated! People I care about are hurting…and help just doesn’t seem to be available. It is rather appalling to realize that political decisions made nearly two decades ago are still adversely affecting Americans today. The response from many of the “haves” is that volunteers should take care of those in need. Well, today I am here to lament even the absence of volunteers! Too many individuals seem consumed only with their OWN lives. They’re too busy, too tired, and they don’t want to make “that kind” or “that long” of a commitment.

Yet, time and again, when kindness and gentleness are shown, amazing things occur. Positive change produces positive results. Good things happen when gentleness and compassion are applied. How is that not possible for people to recognize? How can we ALL turn our backs on our brothers and sisters in need?

Today I am tired of politicians’ rhetoric and actions. I’m appalled by our nation’s LACK of humanity toward our own people. I want CHANGE. I want to, once again, be able to say I’m proud to be an American, and a resident of Michigan. (Today I am not so proud to be either.) I want to be surrounded by people who CARE about others, and who recognize individuals as unique treasures. I want to know more people like Mark Twain and Tom Dooley. Right now, I know far too few.

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The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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