A Kwanzaa Thought on This Thanksgiving Weekend
While many Americans have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, this particular Thanksgiving was played out against one of the most disturbing reports on state of America: One in seven American households had a hard time putting enough food on the table last year. A new report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicated that 14.6 percent of U.S. households, nearly 50 million Americans, found themselves in need during 2008, an increase of 13 million people from the year before. The new figure is the highest since data collection began in 1995. In the richest country on earth, at this the most thoughtful time of the year, this is a national disgrace which flies in the face of ritual of feasting on Thanksgiving Day. It suggest more than anything that national priorities and the indicators of economic well-being have nothing to do with the lives of everyday people. To the contrary, the discussion in corporate media is focused on “Black Friday” and how much Americans will spend and consume.
For those of moral conscience, and in particular those of faith, this has to be a call to reorder national priorities and insist that the right to decent food and shelter become a non negotiable human right. We can not leave it up to the market to take care of these pressing human issues. In fact, the market is the cause and effect of the problem of hunger and homelessness. That this does not merit discussion among elected officials is a disgrace and dishonor, that it does not raise to the level of dialogue and action by the faith community is a sin. On Thanksgiving, we as a nation should be able to say: We gave food to the hungry, clothes to those without, and shelter to the homeless. This translates into a decent wage and living standard for all who live in America and for those in the world. We must have this type of grand vision. For anything less is morally offense and irresponsible.