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Are You Thirsty?

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

My door was open on a hot June day. They were, sitting 15 feet way, on the sidewalk across my narrow alley, in front of my neighbor's house, in the shade. I went out to say hello. They told me they were a family from Oaxaca, husband, wife, brother and brother-in-law. The youngest of them was maybe 25 years old. They tried to sell me a variety of blankets and tablecloths, a pair of them unfolding and holding open each to display it from several large piles they had before them on the ground. I asked if they were thirsty, and went to fetch a jug of water.

When I didn't hurry to buy anything they asked me for some money for food, saying that they hadn't eaten since sometime the day before. I offered to make them a meal. I guess I surprised them, but after a moment they accepted. They were obviously a long way from home, most probably having spent the night, or a series of nights, outside.

I asked them if they would like to shower. They accepted again, this time with no hesitation. One by one they bathed, while I cooked and the rest waited outside in the shade. Afterwards I found a small packet of their shampoo that they had lost track of behind the bathroom door.

I made a big pot of rice, stirring in vegetables and canned salmon. When they were all washed and the rice was ready we sat down at my dining-room table and shared the meal. They ate, but not like they were starving or even like they had missed breakfast. The conversation was lively, but they really didn't know what to make of me or my hospitality... crazy, old, generous gringo. I bought a wall hanging. They left.

I don't remember telling anyone about the incident, but recently my assistant Moises told me that the episode had made a big impression on him. My sharing my shower and table conveyed to him that the community ideal that is behind our work on Lokkal, was not just lip service for me, but something that I live by.

Today I opened up a Christmas newsletter by a local personality. In it she recounts Mary and Joseph looking for a place to shelter and give birth, confessing in this regard, "I've wondered how many of us would be brave enough to let strangers enter our homes, or even the garage or patio."

After going on to list a number of social ills (homelessness, prison, immigration detention, poverty...) she concludes, "When all of it feels so overwhelming, how do we find our place within the need, the hunger, the injustice?" She asks, but fails to offer any practical solutions.

I'm sure the writer of the Christmas newsletter had more noble motives, but her piece could be seen as virtue signaling; "I have white privilege, but I know that it is wrong." Feeling guilty about your privilege, the doctrine goes, confers on you a different kind of privilege. It means you are the better kind of white person. The elites still feel elite.

In polite circles I would be judged as less enlightened, less moral, because I believe that it's class, not race, that matters. I, with my old-style politics, believe that the poor black woman has more in common with the poor white man than she does with the rich black woman. I believe that corporations support Black Lives Matter because it's a lot cheaper than paying better wages.

Overwhelmingly latinos do not like the woke, gender-neutral term "latinx." They prefer the gender specific terms "latino" and "latina." Kwanzaa and "latinx" are both creations of the privileged elite and are irrelevant to life on the streets.

Defunding police means black lives matter less, as inner city murder rates soar. Riots in black communities hurt black communities.

Now that Trump is leaving and the Democrats must come to terms with losing a lot of minority votes, perhaps we can work towards policies that actually benefit the poor.

To the question the Christmas newsletter asks, " do we find our place within the need, the hunger, the injustice?" I would reply, It's not about you, not the elite, privileged you. It's not about your place. If you want to make a difference, leave your place and befriend the poor. That's what Jesus did.

Recognizing our common humanity is the sine qua non, the alpha and omega, the journey and the destination. Recognizing someone else's needs, especially when they are right in front of you, is the basis of religion, civilization and your psychological well-being.

The next time some poor person knocks on your door, ask them if they're thirsty.


Dr David has created Lokkal, a social network that is not commercially-driven (just being launched, starting here in San Miguel) as an alternative to the abuses of social media.

Lokkal will make the world a better place by nurturing community. If you want to join the community, please register. It's a big project to have entirely on my shoulders; if you want to help, please send us a message at the email below.

"Whether it is to be utopia or oblivion will be a touch and go relay race right up to the final moments." - Buckminster Fuller

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copyright 2022
copyright 2022