Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seasonal Headscratcher

This thought recently occurred to me, and I honestly don't know what to do with it.

Toy Run season is about to be upon Those of Us Who Ride, so I guess that's why I thought about it.

Most bikers are politically conservative, and in all the online debating, postulating, and general talk, I've heard plenty of outrageous comments from both the Right and the Left. One of the comments I've heard more than once is in reference to public assistance for people who can't afford food and/or health care. At least two people have said the exact same thing, verbatim: "Not my problem." Okay, I get where you're coming from - it's not your responsibility to provide for anybody outside your own family.

What confuses me is the inconsistency in the coming months. Toy Runs are seen as nearly obligatory by people in the biker culture. The thought is "These poor kids won't have a Christmas without these benefits we do." And that's true.

So...... it's "not your problem" if they starve or die from an otherwise easily treatable ailment the other 365 days of the year, but by god, that one day, they'll have toys to unwrap.

If you don't care about kids starving, why do you care whether they have toys? Are Toy Runs just to make us as a subculture look a little better in the public eye? Dammit, I sure hope there's more to it than that.

I'll be participating in the Toy Runs, just like I always do, but I'm confused by what I see as inconsistent attitudes.


  1. Very good point, Worth, that can be expanded beyond the biker community. I suspect that the answer would be somewhat nuanced -- a solution to poverty, education, health-care disparities in the US requires policy decisions that are not easily influenced by individuals but are easily co-opted for political use. Seasonal specific, targeted efforts such as toy-runs, Thanksgiving meal kits, and coat and school-supplies drives, are generally very local activities that require a great deal of local individual involvement and are aimed at very specific local communities.

    Maybe people would feel more charitable toward those who need the type of assistance that must be funded/mandated at a national level if they felt like they belonged to and were responsible to/for a larger community.

  2. Good points, Tammy. Thanks for the food for thought.