We all contribute, and receive, every day.
—by John deJong
In this season of giving, I’d like to tell you about my favorite charity. I started giving to it when I got my first summer job in high school. I did volunteer work for it, full time after high school, even working in a foreign country for a year in the process. Most of my life, whenever I’ve had a job, my donations have been as regu lar as a paycheck. In turn, I depended on this charity for my college education. More recently, I worked as a volunteer in a management position for four years. Now, in my older age, I avail myself of its preventive health services.
There are a lot of people in this country who give only grudgingly to my favorite charity, if they can’t avoid giving entirely. Kind of like shirking the Salvation Army bell ringer in front of Tiffany’s: Fundamentally, they don’t believe anyone benefits from, or deserves, my favorite charity’s good works. Some even believe there are ill effects that outweigh any benefit of this charity to its recipients.
This doesn’t mean they are completely uncharitable people. They are generally quite generous to those who share their beliefs and values. And they certainly can be counted on when a charitable act will result in good public relations.
No, it’s not the United Way; but that’s close. I’ll give you another clue.
My favorite charity doesn’t care which god I believe in, or even if I believe in any god, or what my race or gender is. It was founded on the principle that everyone is created equal and that we all deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Those who give begrudgingly may believe that we all were created equal, but because of defects of character or predestination many of us deserve unequal opportunities. Some are also moved to take every advantage of this charity, until such time as they can put it out of business, or “drown it in a bathtub,” to quote a top proponent of this viewpoint.
The charity recently had an election where one slate of candidates for the board of directors ran on the platform of down-sizing. It was never clear what their ultimate intentions were, though most voters took them to be uncharitable. Fortunately they lost, though certainly not for lack of trying, lying and all but promising to give away the charity’s assets to the highest rigged-bidder.
A little more background: My favorite charity was the first of its kind and has been the inspiration for dozens, if not hundreds of similar charities around the world since it was founded.
You may have guessed by now that my favorite charity is the United States of America, as it was originally conceived by our founding fathers. In spite of the inevitable foibles that occur when mortals run the show, it has enabled countless people to follow their dreams and live decent lives.
I volunteered for the Army when it wasn’t very popular and served a tour in Vietnam. Later I served on the Salt Lake City School Board where I came to believe that education is one of the greatest works of our nation. I’m sure you have your own stories, of contributing to and receiving from, physically and financially, this very same charity.
This last national election was, in a way, a voice of appreciation for the many and diverse services of this great organization. It was a major vote of support for its continued good health, giving Congress and the president every reaon to continue with the vision of our founding fathers.