By State Representative, Leon D. Young
As millions of Americans finish running around and topping off their Christmas lists this week, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of this season. Madison Avenue and eCommerce stakeholders would have us believe that the real essence of Christmas is a new luxury car in the driveway or the latest electronic device to play with. And, unfortunately, too many of us are now prone to drinking the Kool-Aid, as we equate Christmas solely with holiday shopping sprees.
In truth, there are many here among us who find themselves barely hanging on in terms of making ends meet. Sadder still, many of the very people we call our neighbors will experience little joy this holiday season. (The poor, the sick, the elderly, and the homeless are particularly at risk.) This begs the question: When a neighbor is in need, who bears the responsibility to step into the breach and help?
Most of us have been taught that it’s our duty to love God, our family and those around us. But, in many instances, we fall short when it comes to extending a helping hand to “others” in our midst. Regrettably, many of my Republican colleagues in Madison have lost sight of this basic moral imperative. Instead, they choose to blame (and further punish) those in need by advancing public policy that’s draconian in nature, which only makes the plight for those individuals that much harder.
It behooves us to remember that our responsibility for others is a heavy burden- we may act too soon, or with a leaden hand, or without good cause. And we may choose poorly. But a society that does not recognize a responsibility to assist those in need loses the right to be called civilized.
Moreover, in the end, we must always be cognizant of the fact that we are ALL our brother’s and sister’s keepers. And, just as important, it’s better to give than to receive.
Let me close by wishing everyone a safe, joyous and healthy Holiday Season. And, whatever holiday you observe, I hope you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidad and Happy Hanukkah!!!