Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Yesterday, Clyde Haberman wrote this>
Here's the response I sent to the Times this morning.

I'm not sure as to the point of Mr. Haberman's smug, pompous piece in yesterday's Times. Was it to shame the demonstrators who felt passionately about Pale Male into diverting their attention to 'more important' issues? Or was it simply a sarcastic riff? Protesting outside of 927 Fifth was in no way prioritizing any issues. It was/is one issue among many, many issues about which people care deeply for whatever reason.

One must pick one's battles. I cannot bring peace to the mideast, or clothe or house New York City's homeless. But I can, and, according to what the Times is now reporting, have, participated in making a positive change in the story of Pale Male. Mr. Haberman asked the homeless man he saw if he needed shelter, and the man didn't answer. And if he had said yes? Would Mr. Haberman have taken him home with him? Given him money for a hotel? Or introduced him to one of the demonstrators in an attempt to guilt them in to helping, and, "true to the New York spirit, make them someone else's problem?" What, exactly, would he have done?

I've given leftover food from restaurant meals, and, once, leftovers from Thanksgiving that my sister-in-law wrapped up for me, to the homeless. While traveling last month, my husband and I picked up the check of an elderly senior citizen who was dining alone in the booth next to us. I have also volunteered in a soup kitchen and an adult literacy program. I do what I can and I choose my battles. Stories like Pale Male are what give us all hope that other, larger problems can be solved. They make us feel that we can, and should, make a difference.

This letter was derived in large part from my response to J-Wild's comment here.

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At Wednesday, December 15, 2004 5:16:00 PM, Blogger J-Wild said...

Good thoughts, and thanks for posting on my blog. I am waiting to see what the teens from my church think, should be interesting. While I think we would both agree that allowing Pale Male to take up residence where he chooses isn't the same as providing for people who are in desperate need of housing themselves, it is something. So many people in the world do nothing except take, consume, and throw away to hell with the consequences (both human and animal). I believe that having compassion for people and animals is vital in living a moral and full life. I like your point that small victories can inspire big ones and any victory of putting others (or something elses) needs above your own preferences is a good lesson for everyone!

PS: Levi is adorable isn't he! :) Thanks for the compliment

At Thursday, December 16, 2004 8:11:00 PM, Blogger jo said...

That's excellent, Ingrid. Spot on!


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