Sharing Scraps

My Friends,
   An earlier post from today detailed one part of my adventures from yesterday regarding the aftermath of a traffic collision.  This post could be considered its direct sequel, or perhaps a spiritual successor in that its concerns so-called “good intentions.”  However, in this case it was less about people using good intent as a mask for petty, retributive malice, and more about people honestly believing they were doing right and being obstinate toward the suggestion that there efforts might be misguided.
   As I walked away from the scene of the aforementioned collision,

More or less, exactly what I looked like walking away except I wasn’t wearing a leather jacket.

I approached that bastion of upscale retail, Jackson Square.  For those not familiar with Hamilton, Ontario, that would be sarcasm.
   Anyhow as I approached it I noticed two reps from “Because I am a Girl” soliciting sponsorship for third world girls.  One girl called to me as I was crossing the street.  I supposed I looked like an easy mark for a charity as my attire (yoga pants, yoga mat on backpack, FiveFingers shoes, lilac-coloured bandana and skateboard in tow) bespoke a left-leaning individual burdened with a goodly amount of liberal guilt.
   I let her run her pitch to me about some girl from whereverthefuck-istan who, through the efforts (money) of sponsors had risen to become the first female lawyer in her proud country.  FTR I don’t think too much of the legal profession but for this girl’s sake and since we were about to butt heads on more important issues I feigned like I was impressed by this young 3rd world girl’s achievement.  
   The chick giving me the speech, let’s call her Mary Sue, gave me the full sales pitch which included well-worn lines like:
“I’m gonna level with you, we’re out here fundraising today”
“It’s really not so much about the money” (a direct contradiction to the first line)
“Have you ever been to a developing country?” (I guess this was used as an icebreaker to gain my empathy)
When she had exhausted her supply of anecdotal stories about minor achievements in third world shit-holes (with me, all the while smiling politely and trying not to come off like a smug, cynical asshole ) she came out with it and asked me if I would like to support her cause.
I don’t know if she was taken aback by my frankness, but she asked me why so I began asking her why the hypothetical street girl turned lawyer was impoverished and she told me something indistinct about not enough schools.  When I asked her why there were no schools she said there was no one to build them.  I of course, asked why and she said she didn’t know and asked me if I knew.  Without getting too in-depth I explained (none too eloquently, as if often the case when your audience is not receptive) that the reasons for the impoverishment of the third world were structural and that in-the-box solutions like charities only helped a sick system limp on a little longer when it should be allowed to fail.  As I explained this her eyes seemed to glaze over.  I went on to talk about just like there was absolute poverty in some parts of the world there was relative poverty here in Canada which was also structural. Not grasping the distinction between absolute and relative, she started protesting that noone in Canada or the US was starving and they all had a place to sleep if they wanted it.  I wasn’t about to argue her on this point but I felt tempted to say “google any number of Indian reservations or Camden, NJ, or Detroit, MI or Baltimore, MD or Florida slavery.”  I didn’t mention these things because I wasn’t wanting to convey the notion that we should focus on domestic problems at the expense of international ones (the Libertarian platform) but rather that things are tough all over and that all of these problems are connected.  
   Like I said though she was unreceptive, and though the conversation remained cordial I don’t feel I expressed myself well.  The tragedy of the situation is that the world needs good people like her, filled with passionate intensity to do the right thing, but it needs them to be better educated about causality and what leads to poverty, crime, violence, and the abuse of females.  
   Me throwing what limited money I have at the problem is not gonna solve the problem.   That doesn’t mean that we should never use our monetary resources to help others.  By all means, buy someone a sandwich or a coffee or whatever, but understand that the more valuable gift is your time.  Real charity, that is to say, charity that actively works to bring about the day where charity is no longer required, does not require large, established foundations to redistribute cancerous debt-based currency after it has taken its cut.  It simply requires good, educated people to take account of the eventualities of their actions and modify their behaviour accordingly.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
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