Thursday, December 07, 2006

Not news, just a holiday reminder

by Ryan Anderson
Deviating from our site's promise to provide something both "New" and "Nebraska[n]", I'd like to share with our network some thoughts that have been running through my head as we enter this Christmas season.

Conservative commentators were alight last week while visions of a new book by Arthur Brooks danced in their heads. In the book (provocatively titled Who Really Cares), Brooks surveys the results of multiple economic studies and concludes that on all income levels political conservatives outperform liberals in private donations to charitable causes, both religious and secular in nature.

Now, is Brooks a credible source? I don't really know. Is this book fair and accurate? I have no idea; I haven't even picked it up. Frankly, I don't care about either question. Lies, damned lies and statistics aside, the message still hits pretty close to home.

I realize that despite my efforts to do more for those in need, there is still plenty left to give and do. If we are serious in our efforts to effect change in our state and our country, we must be willing to accept that such change starts at home, and that the burden of helping the less fortunate doesn't merely fall on the shoulders of the the well to do. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who could afford to dig deeper than he's usually willing to admit.

But alas, I realize that I'm not quite big enough for a soapbox this size, so let me hand over the stage to a man of greater calibre. As a humble holiday reminder to our loyal readers out there, I've spliced together some remarks given by Senator Robert F. Kennedy to two groups of college/medical students he encountered while campaigning for president in Indiana.

Let me just say something about the tone of these questions. I look around this room and I don't see many black faces who will become doctors...Part of civilized society is to let people go to medical school who come from ghettos. I don't see many people coming here from slums, or off Indian reservations. You are the privileged ones here. It's easy for you to sit back and say it's the fault of the Federal Government. But it's our responsibility, too. It's our society, too, not just our government, that spends twice as much on pets as on the poverty program. It's the poor who carry the major burden of the struggle in Vietnam. You sit here as white medical students, while black people carry the burden of fighting in Vietnam...

How many of you spend time over the summer, or on vacations, working in a black ghetto, or in Eastern Kentucky, or on Indian reservations? Instead of asking what the Federal Government is doing about starving children, I say what is your responsibility, what are you going to do about it? I think you people should organize yourselves right here, and try and do something about it... As Camus once said, "Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children." And if you don't help us, who else in the world can help us do this?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Ryan. Coincidentally, I am reading RFK's biography by Evan Thomas right now. Something to think about.

Blogger Ryan Anderson said...


I got the quotes I used from Jack Newfield's autobiography "RFK". It's a great read. Doesn't try to be balanced at all, just gives a friend's view of the last four years of Kennedy's life.

Blogger Ryan Anderson said...

Well, clearly Jack Newfield's book isn't an "auto"biography. 'Doy!

Anonymous Elisia Harvey said...

A good holiday reminder for all of us. Whenever I think that our finances for the month are too tight for us to give to our normal charities, I remember that the cost of the vanilla latte I just slurped down could have easily bought a meal or two at our local homeless shelter. Ouch. We all have more to give than we realize.


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