A woman on Facebook bemoans that she had to ‘settle for’ ground beef to make a meatloaf instead of the ‘lovely steak dinner’ she had planned. Another complains that there will be no beach vacation this year because “who can afford it with the price of everything, including gas, so high?” And still another threatens to quit his job so he can “live off welfare and get food stamps like everybody else”. And my response to all of these and more who are bitching about inflation and the price at the pump is simple: STFU … SHUT UP!!!
Inflation and rising fuel prices are everywhere, not just in the U.S. They are not the fault of President Biden or of teachers teaching Critical Race Theory or of the COVID vaccine or mask mandates. They are a direct result of the war Russian Dictator Vladimir Putin started when he invaded Ukraine on February 24th. Period. But more to the point … here in the U.S., despite inflation and gas prices, we are still living quite well. Unemployment is at an almost all-time low … almost everyone who wants a job has one. And most of us can still afford to feed our families a healthy diet, pay the rent, keep the electricity on, and still have a bit left over at the end of the month. I wish we could all focus on that, rather than bemoaning a few extra dollars spent on food or fuel.
More than 200 children have been killed in Ukraine thus far. Millions of Ukrainians have been forced from their homes. And around the world, people are going to bed with empty bellies tonight. And some people want to complain because they have meat loaf instead of steak??? I bet people in Pakistan, Yemen and Morocco would be thrilled to have a meat loaf to eat, or even a fresh loaf of bread. The millions of Ukrainians who have fled to Poland and other parts of the world would have tears of joy to live in a house with running water, electricity, and even a television!
We are humans and come complete with a full set of human frailties, one of which is that we take our lives for granted. We take for granted that the sun will rise, that we will have a job, that we can flip a light on, or turn the heat up. We go to the grocery store and sure, we may gasp at the price of tomatoes or frozen chicken, but we still manage to buy enough food to live healthy lives, to fill our bellies. When circumstances change ever so slightly, we are upset, we want to blame someone, to lash out. It’s human nature and I get that. But what I don’t get is people failing to listen to the conscience that is trying to remind them just how good their life actually is.
I am as guilty as any, for when the electricity was out for a week in 2008, I did my fair share of whining, and when the grocery store is out of my favourite cheese, you might think, looking at my face, that someone had died. But only for a few moments … until my conscience pricks me and reminds me that compared to so many of the 7.8 billion people in the world, my family and I are so very lucky.
Look at the pictures of the bombed and burned-out apartment buildings in Ukraine, the bodies in the streets, the frightened children.
Imagine if that were what’s left of your home. See the pictures of the petrified children being torn from their fathers’ arms as they are shuttled to safety elsewhere. Imagine that is your child. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t in this country … they are still people, still humans just like you and me.
Yesterday in a comment exchange on Diane Ravitch’s post, one person said what I believe many people are, understandably, thinking. He said he didn’t want the U.S. or European nations to send planes to President Zelenskyy in Ukraine because it might escalate the situation and then “his people” might be the ones losing their lives. Yeah, I get that, but I don’t agree. EVERY life has value, and the lives of people in the U.S. or Portugal or Timbuktu are no more or less important than those of Ukrainians. Sure, it’s natural for us not to want those lives being lost to be our brother/sister, husband/wife, son/daughter … but neither do the Ukrainians!!! We are all in this world, on this globe, together. We are all part of the human species. NOBODY ever said that Americans or the French have more value than Ukrainians … did they?
Today the hotspot is Ukraine, but tomorrow it might be Brazil, where another dictator, Jair Bolsonaro, is spreading his wings, and ultimately it might very well be here in the United States where right-wing fanatics are worming their way into positions of power, where people’s right to have a voice in government via their vote is being viciously chopped by those who would rule rather than govern. At that point, will it matter whether it is meatloaf or steak on the table? Will you care about a beach vacation? No, you will care, as the people of Ukraine do today, whether you and your family will wake to see another day. And if we fail our allies today, can we expect them to be there for us when it is we who need help?