The Cart before the Horse - November 9, 2011

The two old men sat on their usual bench in the afternoon sun, sharing stories and opinions from years of friendship.  “You know, I went to my grandson's house for supper last week. Dangest way of doing things nowadays.  When I was young, we ate supper in the kitchen, and went to the outhouse for our business.  Now they eat supper outside and the toilet is inside, bigger and fancier than most kitchens.  Maybe I'm getting old, but it just seems backwards to me.“

When I heard this story, after laughing, I began to think the old man had a point and that we are doing a lot of things backward in this country. So I made a list, see if you agree.

We pay for 500 TV channels that are mostly advertisement to sell us more stuff, which we then rent storage space to keep until we need it.

We watch “Reality shows” on TV that are far from any real life, then wonder why our politicians try to get away with unreal behavior.

We drive miles out of town to shop at big box stores and then complain when local merchants go out of business because they can't compete on prices.

We feed antibiotics to meat animals so they can eat unnatural food and fatten up fast, then we can't use the antibiotics because bacteria have become resistant and the medicine no longer works.

Our government pays farmers to grow corn, but not for food, for biodiesel which is needed to produce more corn.

One third of all food produced worldwide is wasted according to a United Nations study, while in this country alone one in four children go to bed hungry.

We buy antibiotic wipes for every surface in the home, and worry about germs, but ignore the ingredients in the junk food products that line the grocery shelves.

We idolize our sports players and rock stars and spend unimaginable amounts of money for their performances, while the workers who take care of our children and older people make minimum wage or less.

So many things are backwards in this country, yet with Thanksgiving coming up, I recognize all the good things about our world. Like the old men on the bench, I hope I can see through the backward ways of the world and stay focused on the elemental values that keep us human, family around the table, friends to share our life, children to love, and sunshine on a fall afternoon when the trees are changing color.  May your Thanksgiving be stuffed with blessings, and may the horse stay in front of the cart on the way to grandmother's house.

By Martha Young


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