Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Elite and the Ordinary

Weekly visit with my wife to Walmart's. She buys the groceries and I go into the (enclosed) MacDonald's for coffee and two apple pies. She joins me there in the midst of her shopping for one of the pies. Then I go out to the front and sit in what I call the mourners' bench, made up primarily of old geezers like me waiting for their wives.

I generally have a newspaper and a book, but unbelievably
I've found it a stimulating experience just to sit there: watch the people: at least 40% of them seem to be obese. It's really almost like a church gathering; so many of the old people seem to know one another. I guess for many people it is their church: the altar to the god of materialism.

I marvel at these folks, fat and otherwise, going out with full baskets. Most of them come from the forest (Ocala National Forest) and have pretty modest homes, but they seem to eat well, and they generally drive big Detroit cars.

I begin to compare these poor people with the bright and beautiful ones I chat with and exchange email with on the internet. What a contrast!

It seems to me that society has treated these people poorly, granted them a modest affluence, but deprived them of any significant intellectual stimulation. They attended inferior schools, they don't read, and what they get from the tube is a more or less continuous drivel.

I reflect: this is middle America; this is who we are, the electorate; they will vote overwhelmingly Republican. I wonder if they have any ability to discrimate between the advertising they are constantly bombarded with and any kind of objective truth.

I know many people who are doing what they can to help the needy, but they seem like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke.

God help us.


Marjorie said...

when I'm in a shopping mall, I find myself thinking, as you do, that I'm in the Temple to the god of Consumerism (really, when are they going to put that Golden Calf up in the center?). It really sickens me, especially passing stores marketing to young girls, kids who might otherwise be playing with dolls if not for being told by the media and Madison Avenue that its time for them to start getting sexy. (Shudder)
You never know what others are thinking and everyone has responsibility for themselves. The people of whom you speak, they could turn off the TV and pick up a library book. Maybe they are disenfranchised and that may be your point.
I feel for the poor, the illiterate, and the foreign-born who cannot read or speak English, life has been very kind to me, why not them?
Whenever I'd begin to feel guilty, my mother would remind me "Those to whom much is given, much is expected," from the Gospel of Luke. When I start feeling too guilty, I know I'd better get to work.
It may be like the little Dutch boy, but we can only do what we can do. And he did save the town, after all.

Larry said...

Right you are, Sparky.
They are disenfranchished: by miserable schools, greedy merchants and politicians who know to well how to delude and exploit them.

Those were the people Jesus met at every turn in Palestine. Then he said in as much as you did it (or not) to one of the least of these, ye did it (not to me). I do think our combined efforts are God's hands, and we will win in the end.


Marjorie said...

We will win in the end, but we all need encouragement along the way. Blog on, Larry!