Politics and Social Issues10 Dec 2010 03:16 pm

It is often noted that the best aspects of human nature come forward during times of emergency, crisis, and disaster. When a land is devastated by flood, hurricane, cyclone, earthquake or a volcanic eruption the entire world sets aside its differences and bands together to provide aid and succor for the victims. In times of need the general populace lends their hands and opens their hearts and wallets to assist those in crisis.

In my personal experience in human services I have often been amazed at how the poorest and most disadvantaged will share any money, food or gift they happen to stumble upon with their family or friends who are also in need. Some of the greatest acts of kindness and charity I have witnessed has come from those with the least resources.

Yet, the fact of the matter is there are many on our planet that are in crisis each and every day. While some events and situations make head lines and touch many hearts inspiring incredible acts of charity, there are many that somehow never rise to a level of getting people to truly make an impact or save lives. Each day thousands if not millions of people are starving, or suffering from some other form of life threatening need which goes unattended.

Let’s look at the following questions.

Do we have enough food to feed the entire planet?
Do we have enough resources to provide shelter and sufficient protection from the elements for all human beings?
Do we have the resources to educate and provide access of information to people allowing them to improve themselves and acquire their needs?
Do we have the resources to provide basic quality health care to all those desiring these services?

The answer to these questions is in most cases a solid yes, and in other cases at worst we can say that we have resources for the great majority of people. Yet, despite having these abilities and resources millions of people each day are doing with out and suffering unnecessarily. It is often said that we have a distribution problem and not a lack of resources.

According to Wikipedia, the fundamental purpose of government is the maintenance of basic security and public order. I would also say that from a philosophical level the reason for government has often been described as a means to protect the people through the enforcement of law. These definitions of government would be in contrast to anarchy where the lack of law could result in mob rule, and a relatively primitive form of survival of the fittest.

The fact of the matter is that governments are failing miserably at their basic function. We have the ability and resources and governments rather than being the vehicle for providing citizens with basic needs and securities have become the major obstacle of these basic needs being established and provided.

Providing people with food, shelter, clothing and health care is by definition the least we can do for people. We as individuals need to help make sure that governments fulfill their basic function, rather than their being agents of war and division which through fear and hatred keep our hearts and hands from providing others with the basic needs for human survival.

When millions of people are in crisis, providing for their basic needs is job one. No government is deserving of praise, respect or the support of their citizens until they are devoted to ending the suffering of all our contemporaries. In times of crisis individuals are able to put aside differences in ideology, belief and politics to focus on the matter at hand, We now need our governments to have a heart at least as big as the majority of its citizens.

It truly is the least we can do. And until we do it, it really is hard to say we have accomplished anything.

Jim Guido

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