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Chatterbox: Hanging out in the balance


Okay, so Christmas is coming and, as always, we all know it’s the biggest of the seasonal holidays, but we recognize ‘tis the season for almost all of us. It’s a time of reflection, family, fun, joy and giving. Still, there are many who aren’t as fortunate as others and many who don’t realize how fortunate we are.

It’s easy for all and each of us to whine. Still, it’s nice when someone we know gives us a good shake and reminds us that if we’re being shaken ... someone cares. Even one good friend or one caring relative is enough to help keep any of us grounded. No one wants to hear “keep your sunny side up” or “count your blessings” or see the “glass is half full.” Still, we all need to both be a Pollyanna and have a Pollyanna in our life.

Around the world there are people who are suffering far more than any of us in America. There are also citizens of some foreign countries who are doing far better than most of us in America ... really. Many other nations, despite what most of us think or want to admit, are way ahead of us. We can say their taxes are higher than ours, but dollar for dollar, they are getting far more for them than we are. No matter how the words “social programs” scare people, no matter which network mouthpiece or elected official uses them to confuse people and cloud issues, taxes collected from the people are supposed to support the people and those programs that benefit them. That’s not socialism; that’s American. However, having said that, ‘tis the season, so politics are off the board right now.

Gratitude, however, is definitely on the board; it’s what this time of year is all about. We just passed Thanksgiving and most of us just adore it. After all, what’s not to love? There’s no shopping to do except for food. There are no preparations to make, except for food. There’s no pomp and circumstance, except for food. There’s nothing to wrap, except for leftover food. Okay, we get the idea. Who can’t gather support for a holiday that exclusively about food, family gatherings and gratitude?

The winter religious holidays, especially Christmas, are far more frazzling. Still, it’s imperative that those of us who are fortunate enough to have a good life and a good holiday season, one that includes life’s basic necessities and a few perks, need to remember to be grateful.

This time of year, most of us do. Those who can share, give in amounts that are unequaled the rest of the year. We share with strangers, often not ever knowing who benefited from our generosity. Whether we see the results of our sharing or not, it benefits someone, and that’s true no matter what time of the year it is. Sharing is just much more on our minds this time of year. Giving makes us feel good, and reminds us that we have something to share, no matter how minimal.

Here at Chatterbox, we’ve mentioned often that, though the statistic varies with location, 25% percent of homeless Americans are working full time. Many Americans who live with relatives or in multiple adult households, struggle to maintain basic necessities. Dual income households, which were marketed as optional and a financial perk, have been made a survival necessity. We may not realize that so many other countries, despite higher taxes, have a larger percent of their population living less stressful and healthier lives.

America, we must and can do better; we must strive toward a national code that is far more prudent and fair across the board, remembering what democracy really is.

Anyone who isn’t working a 40-hour week out of the front seat of a Chevy, anyone who has a warm, loving home, no matter how crowded, and anyone who can lock the door at night and sleep in relative safety and warmth with a humble meal under his/her belt, must feel gratitude, help each other, and remind each other, particularly those caught up in appearances, of what is actually important and valuable.

All of us would do well to call to mind often, what we have, and remember that, not only is the glass half full, but we’ve also got the glass.