Can we re-direct the impulse to do good?
0 comment Thursday, July 17, 2014 |
Several years ago, when I first began blogging, there was a 'border blogger' who wrote about the effects of illegal immigration on his area. His blog doesn't exist now, but at one point, in a post about the do-gooders who set up 'water stations' for the illegals or otherwise aided and abetted them, he likened the do-gooders to animal hoarders. He referred, of course, to the people you hear about in your local news: those people -- often women -- who take in unwanted pets. Then the animals continue to multiply from a few to a few hundred, until things get hopelessly out of hand, and start to affect the neighborhood.
At TOQ Online, Matt Parrot uses the 'cat lady' analogy to good effect in this piece on illegal immigration. There is no doubt an element of misplaced or perverted altruism among the people who want to take in all the hard-luck cases who can find their way into our country. These people, in addition to misguided altruism, also suffer from an inability to see down the road to the long-term consequences of their need to do good deeds.
I suppose the most charitable analysis of why the immigration enthusiasts do what they do is that they have an unfulfilled do-gooding impulse. But there seems to be more to it than that. I can only wonder why they do not satisfy their urge to do good by helping neighbors and people in their own community. I was talking about this with a friend, and discussing the way that most if not all local churches divert their charity monies to the perpetually helpless third world. Wells have been dug and re-dug in Africa umpteen times, and yet there is a constant solicitation for money to dig wells in Africa. Lately, there is money being collected for Haiti, and for people to go to Haiti and bring home children, or to Africa or Guatemala.
Yet nobody seems to want to pour their time and energy into funds for local people. There are many unemployed people down to the last of their savings, and people who can't afford urgent dental work, and other such needs. Meanwhile, everybody is focusing on immigrants and on 'outreach' to them, and of course the Third World.
Is there a way that people's charitable impulses can be turned towards their own people? Do people just think that doing for 'Others' has more cachet and prestige than helping our own, what with all the celebrities making pilgrimages to the Third World? Is it possible to even bring this up in one's church without being called 'racist' and 'hateful'?
Is this all just a sort of overreaction to the race card, a way of demonstrating emphatically that one is not 'racist'? It seems we've gone towards xenophilia in reaction to the fear of being 'xenophobic'. Will the pendulum ever swing back?

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