Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Mass Starvation Predicted by Basically Everyone
WARNING #1: THIS POST IS BURSTING WITH BUZZ-KILLS, GUILT-TRIPS AND SPOILERS OF THAT CAREFREE FEELING YOU HAD WHEN YOU CLICKED ON MY BLOG.
I have just officially reached my breaking point with how many think tanks, rock stars, American Presidents, impersonators of wannabe American Presidents, UN Chiefs, economists with chia-pet hair, economists with the opposite problem, KFC, these irritatingly thoughtful high schoolers and my own students (sorry no pic) that I can hear describe the looming scenario of mass starvation and not totally wig out.
Everyone seems to agree that there is enough food to go around. Furthermore, most countries are capable of growing all the food that they need to feed themselves. It's the system that determines what food goes where that is the problem. As Gandhi put it, "There is enough food to meet everyone's need, but not everyone's greed."
To avoid making this blog into another online classroom, I will avoid going into any lengthy lectures and explanations. (Don't mention it.) If you're interested in finding out why there are so many hungry people in the world, you can probably figure it out yourself with the smallest effort. Instead, I'll let Liza Minnelli and this German midget detail the argument for you with this nifty little dance number from the musical Cabaret -- just substitute the word "food" for "vorld."
WARNING #2: THAT DANCE NUMBER WAS THE CHEERIEST PART OF THIS POST; IT'S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE. I SUGGEST THAT YOU QUIT WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD AND STOP READING THIS DEPRESSING DRIVEL.
This is not just a third-world problem. One day a week, I cook lunch at a local kitchen for hungry Americans, where one day a week at 9:00 a.m. I shoulder my way past a couple of dozen people (who are never properly dressed for the weather like I always am) lined up waiting in the falling snow to get a hot meal in a big, cold, dark room where they will sit on hard wooden benches elbow-to-elbow with smelly people (yes, I did) to eat the food that local grocery stores could not sell to people who have homes, lawn mowers, laptops and warm winter clothes.
Not that the chef doesn't work wonders with very limited resources, but my point is that it sucks to be hungry and hunger is spreading. It is not hiding in far-off exotic locations famous only for pirates, E-mails from elderly widows who want to deposit $5.5 million into your bank account if you will only give them enough information to clean you out, or soaring disease rates. It's in your town, and it's knocking on the door of more people everyday thanks to economic meltdown which is merely the umbrella in the triple martini of ill-will, hopelessness and rampant confusion that Bush II has left for us as a souvenir of his eight years in office.
So here I am, joining in the chorus of people who very likely remind you of your mother's tiring habit of trying to get you to finish your plate with common logical fallacies. Well, rest assured: Your cold, half-eaten dinners did not cause any African children to go hungry or even to wish that they could finish your plate (that's gross -- even starving kids have standards!), but there are some real connections between your behavior and people who are hungry.
Remember that I'm not going to go into any long lectures about these connections between you and starving African kids (Clue #1: where you shop), but I hope (Clue #2: what you buy) that you will make the connection (Clue #3: who you vote for) completely on your own without any influence from me.
I hope that you and your loved ones can stay warm and well-fed this winter; just remember that not everybody will. Let's reach our breaking points, before it does. (Sorry that sounded like a mix between a closing prayer and a PSA. I promise I'll get back to making callous observations that don't ask you to do a damn thing after this post.)