Jim Crawford: Set aside our differences

Published 1:38 am Sunday, December 19, 2021

Lest we forget, life in America is not about headlines, it is not about politics, and it is not about things gone wrong.

Life in America has much more in common across political lines than it has apart. We share more of the same thoughts and feelings than we suffer the fools who think differently than we do.

Moms and dads all worry more about the price of milk than the future of the filibuster. They are more concerned with who is picking up Junior after school than about the trade balance with China.

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And Republican or Democrat, they agree that they are exhausted by all things COVID-19.

This is another holiday season where COVID-19 will be the uninvited guest to those who risk infection to bring the family together. But, in spite of that risk, many of us will share our favorite dinner dishes and sample wines and pies and sweet desserts together for a few hours of family. 

We may not agree about masks or mandates, but we agree we want our children and our fathers and mothers to be spared from the pandemic in any of its variations. In that agreement, let us allow the holiday to grant us a few moments of tolerance to our differences. There will be another day to re-engage on overcoming COVID-19.

We also agree, as Americans, on the importance of personal generosity, helping one another. After the killer tornadoes struck Mayfield, Kentucky, relief director Sandra Delk said, “people just started bringing donations, they started calling … from all over the country.” Americans, reaching out to others in need, not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

Something else happened in Mayfield after the tornadoes hit. Kyanna Parsons-Perez, a candle factory worker trapped in the collapse of the factory was rescued by inmates from the Graves County jail, who she describes as, “(they) were working their tails off to get us out.” Americans helping each other, not for reward, but because they could.

We Americans are the most generous people on the planet, giving 3 percent of our collective income to charity every year, far more than any other nation. This is not government program charity, but personal giving from Americans to others who need some help. Individual giving accounts for over 70 percent of the $400 billion donated each year.

Additionally, as a nation, we give about $40 billion annually to foreign aid, two-thirds of which go to hunger projects and economic development. Both Republican and Democratic presidents (with the exception of the last president) have supported this aid that has saved lives and fed the hungry.

We are now in the Giving Season, the holidays when Americans reach out more than any other time of the year, and, this year, let us once again set our differences aside and join in the American tradition of giving.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.