Bill O'Reilly, Papa John's Pizza, Walmart, Black Friday, Facebook, War on Christmas, gift-giving, Causes, Christianity, It's a Wonderful Life, Donation, Fox news, Hanukkah, Hostess, Koch, one dollar, Olsen twins, Facebook gift-giving
Well, it’s December, and a good portion of the population on this planet considers this last month of the year to be the “season of giving.” Whether you believe, as does Fox News-friend Bill O’Reilly, that there is a war on Christmas–or don’t, or believe in the 10 days of light also known as Hanukkah, or any number of religious or even non-religious designations for the season, most of us have a similar mindset–to be a bit nicer to people, more courteous, a little sunnier (unless, of course, that sun happens to be that glowing yellow face that many think is the sun but is only the smiley-guy at Walmart on Grey Thursday/Black Friday). It’s true, most people are warmer, not due to global warming or climate change but because there’s something in the air–roasted chestnuts, pine, chimneys putting out that aroma that says “it’s time to come together, stuff yourself, and give.”
Now this does not apply to all, and what I find ironic is that many of those who promote themselves as good, religious Christians (note to Mr. O: there are tons of people who do consider Christianity a religion and not a philosophy) and are in the position to give so much because they have so much, don’t. Unless it is to themselves, or people like them in their circle who do not need…anything. Among this group would be the Koch boys, Jamie Dimon, those CEOs at Hostess, Appleby’s, Papa John’s Schnatter, and of course, those who reign supreme in stinginess, the Waltons, that hardworking, inheriting cabal whose total wealth is equal to, what is it, 30% of the American population–give or take a few hundred thousand–which I believe is around 93 million people? And they’re expecting you to “give” them even more within the next few weeks by buying more stuff at their emporiums.
See, I grew up watching those tug-at-your-heartstrings, black and white Christmas movies–most notably Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Those films never depicted people mowing down each other to get to the newest outrageously priced pair of celebrity athletic shoes to give to their loved ones. No $55,000 handbags put out by the Olsen twins for all to covet. No pepper spraying, no stabbing, and definitely no deaths by gunshots in the name of giving. No, those films proffered that one should give from the heart, with no expectation of getting. Right?
Well I intend to give this year (and I have very,very little in terms of material wealth), but I am going to do it with the intention of getting. Because I want something, actually, a whole lot of somethings. I want lions, tigers, bears, rhinos, whales, wolves and all their fellow creatures to continue to exist on this planet. I want Native Americans to have indoor bathrooms. Yep, I want each and every one of them to have access to privacy and nearness with no interference from inclement weather on the way to do their private business. I want no one to be homeless, but if that’s not possible, I want people to have shelter, as Bob Dylan said, “from the storm.” I want people who want to go to school and want to learn to be able to do so without fear of crushing debt stopping them. I want clean water to drink, clean air to breathe and no freakin’ fracking. None! I want my food labeled as to what’s in it. I want animal abuse (actually, abuse of any kind) to be gone from the face of this ball we inhabit called Earth. My list is endless, and I try with every fiber of my being to do what I can, and this is how I intend to do it this year: For every one of those people called “friends” on that social media phenomenon called Facebook, I am taking one dollar and putting it towards their causes. Now, I don’t have thousands of Facebook friends, as many do, so I don’t have to put out that much money, (which is good, because I don’t have much).
But this is how “This One’s on Me” will work: a Facebook friend of mine is a delightful and passionate woman who loves all animals, but posts quite a bit about horses. So there you go–one dollar goes to Wild Horse Preservation on her behalf. Friends going to school fall into the school/loan debt category, so I’m picking the Rolling Jubilee, an organization buying up loans and forgiving them for folks. There are environmental groups, like Bill McKibben’s 350.org, tirelessly fighting for the very earth we walk on–that’s where the bucks go for my tree-hugging friends. For my veteran friends–where will I send their dollars, Wounded Warriors Project, Operation Homefront? there are as many needs as there are causes to fight for them. Speaking of fighting, there are legal groups doing work pro bono that could use some dough, if for nothing else than to buy coffee to keep them going on to write briefs and legal stuff, ink for their computers. I know people who use their own computers and printers who need ink to continue fighting the good fight.
One dollar per FB friend–not a lot of money, but if “This One’s on Me” takes off, it could mean a whole bunch of money for deserving causes. I know some of you accept and seek out friend requests as rabidly as vulture capitalists swoop down on companies, leaving you with lots and lots of friends. If you can afford a buck a friend, great. If not, just divide your friends into groups with similar passions and causes and send a buck-per-group to appropriate organizations.
Use that same passion for acquiring FB friends to do some good in this world (unless you believe in the Mayan calendar prediction going around, then you needn’t bother). Remember, give a buck and let your FB people know what you did in their name.
Who knows, if we start now, “This One’s on Me” just might catch fire–speaking of which, there are firefighters groups, burn victims, reforestation projects…see how easy it is? Let’s give it a go. After all, ’tis the season, and your Karma will thank you.