Tis the season to be thankful, which brings thoughts of a response I’ve often given to a common statement that I have heard uttered many a time, often with envy or contempt, that someone else is “rich.”
My response: “We’re all rich.”
We have food in our fridge and our cabinets, and when we are hungry we can eat. It may not always be the precise cuisine that a picky eater may crave or desire or feel entitled to, but no one I know personally is starving or going without necessary nourishment, or in any danger of starving to death anytime soon.
When it is cold outside, we have shelter. When it rains, we have a place where we can remain dry. We have warm beds in which to sleep, blankets to pull over our tired bodies at night, electricity to light the darkness, clean water to drink whenever we want it, miniature computers on our hips to respond to our beck and call for information or communication, and medicine in our cabinets to take when we have a fever, a tummy ache or a headache.
During our tender years, someone diapered us, fed us, comforted us, vaccinated us against dreaded diseases, dressed us, wiped our noses, tied our shoes, transported us to school, taught us to read and write and add and subtract, and so much more.
We live in the most advanced and enlightened society in the history of mankind, where our system of government, though certainly not perfect, serves to protect us from war within our borders, genocide in our streets, patently unjust political exploitation and discrimination, and unchecked anarchy.
We have banks where we can deposit our money with confidence that it will be there tomorrow, and the currency in our pockets is stable and enduring.
We have stores of all description crammed full of both necessities and luxuries affordably available for purchase, where the only lines to be endured are at the checkout counter.
For less than five dollars we can buy a gallon of milk, less than three a loaf of bread, and less than two mints that will make our breath minty fresh.
For less than half a dollar, we can still slip a note or a card or a letter into an envelope and have it delivered within a few days anywhere in the nation.
We have hospitals scattered across our great land where if any of us, regardless of social status, shows up at the emergency room with our lives hanging in the balance due to trauma or other acute health crisis, the forces of modern medical technology will be mobilized to do all that can be done to save us.
And while many may think that these are matters to which we are entitled as a matter of birthright, and not worthy of our appreciation, consider all of those less fortunate souls around the globe where so many of these basic blessings with which we are conferred are matters of extreme luxury or wholly lacking altogether.
For these many blessings, I give thanks.
For we are all truly rich indeed.
-- Ken Garten is a Blue Springs attorney. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org