Talking Story

welcome_home_signNot surprisingly, some people disagree with my criticism of the 2014 Rainbow Family Gathering which is happening in the Uintah National Forest just a few miles from my home. Here’s a sample:

“But Lehua, where is your Christian charity? We should welcome everyone with open arms. You’re judging and that’s wrong.”

Or words to that effect. It’s a PG blog after all.

Charity is something I take very seriously. I feel that as someone who has been given much, I have a responsibility to give back in continuous and significant ways. I give generously not only in money and goods, but in time as well. And unlike many of the people who disagree with me, I’ve also traveled enough to know what real need looks like. This isn’t it.

To the Christian (or Muslim or Jewish or Buddhist or Flying Spaghetti Monster) charity proponents, I’d like to point out that the Rainbow Family is composed of people who are choosing to come here and break the law by camping longer than anyone else is permitted to and without paying required fees or even providing for modern sanitation services. These are not people fleeing a natural disaster, military coup, or economic downturn. These are not down on their luck, brother can you spare a dime panhandlers. Regardless of whether or not you believe in their message of peace, love, and dubious hygiene, they are lawbreakers amassing in a number that allows them to act this way.

We have another name for people who think they are special like this: bullies.

Funny, we spend a lot of time and energy teaching children that bullying behavior is wrong. We tell them that  it’s not okay to simply take what they want. We teach them to take responsibility for their actions, to think of others, and to understand that might does not make right. To do other than this is to act as a selfish elitist.

No matter how much the Rainbow Family preaches love, tolerance, and acceptance, by their actions you know them for what they truly are: bullies.

I’m not going to welcome them and encourage this behavior. It’s the equivalent of telling a child that it’s okay that the bully takes his lunch money. He needs it.

That’s not charity. That’s victimhood.

I’m calling a bully a bully, and if that makes me uncharitable in your opinion, fine. Don’t expect me to be handing out sandwiches or spare change or giving away blankets or coats this summer to the panhandlers who have already hit me up.

I’m giving my charity to people who really need it.

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