While perusing the records of Felch Township, which go back well over 100 years, I came upon a tragic story. A man had died indigent, leaving behind a wife and children.
The township board appropriated funds to put him in the ground and provide a one time stipend to the bereaved family "the total not to exceed $25."
It was indeed generous and praiseworthy of those long dead board members to come to the aid of their fellow townsfolk, but what, I wondered, happened when that small allotment ran out? What did they do? How did they manage to survive?
And, I pondered after some reflection on human nature, how many of their fellow townsfolk griped and groaned about the expenditure of public funds for the maintenance of nonproductive members of the community?
'Cause that's what we do, don't we?
We shove aside what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature" and worry about number one.
We complain about "lazy bums" getting government assistance, but when we receive a benefit it's because we deserve it.
We complain about paying taxes instead of being grateful that we have an income large enough that allows us to pay taxes.
We complain about some minor ache or pain while ignoring the terrible suffering of others.
We complain about how bad things are when most of the people in the world can only dream of living the lifestyle that we enjoy.
We're contentious instead of contented, thankless instead of thankful.
Concluding quotation from "Give a Damn," as sung by Spanky and Our Gang, circa 1968.
"And it might begin to teach you how to give a damn about your fellow man."