Thursday, November 1, 2007

Let them eat cake! I'll just eat mine and have it, too, thank you!

The child poverty rate is
the most widely used indicator of child well-being
because poverty is closely linked to
undesirable outcomes in areas such as
health, education, emotional welfare, and delinquency.
I'm so happy that some children have a lot to celebrate! And loving people who help them celebrate!
But I can't help wondering about the millions of children throughout the world with nothing to celebrate and no chance to celebrate even if they did. In the US alone, 12 million children go to bed hungry every night.
I think about Marie Antoinette when she was told "the people are hungry...they have no bread" and she replied, "Let them eat cake!"
At first glance that seems so callous, as though she doesn't care about the people or their hunger. But on second thought it's obvious that she didn't know how other people lived.
No doubt thinking of the overabundance of foods of all kinds available to her, and not aware of how little others had, she simply assumed that if there was no bread, they could eat cake instead, so what's the big deal?
When I hear politicians saying children don't need help, when they vote to cut funds to programs that may provide the only real meal a child has in a day, when they suggest health care is available to all, and so forth, my anger knows no bounds. But what if like old
Marie,
they simply don't know any better?
What if in their insulated worlds they can't even imagine hungy children, children dying for lack of health care, abused and neglected children dumped into systems unable to really help them for lack of funds, and so forth...
What if all we need to do to change the world into a better place for all children is to tell those with the power and the money to make a difference, that children are suffering and they can do something about it?
But what if we told them, and then by their choices we knew for sure that Marie probably knew all along how much the people were suffering but didn't give a damn as long as her life was filled to overflowing...
What would we do if we knew they knew and chose to do nothing to help children or anyone else in need...

A Child is Waiting,
Take care...be aware,
Nancy Lee

3 comments:

Sarah R. said...

The quote actually comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who comments that a "certain princess" said it, the supposed princess referred to being Louis XIV's queen, Maria Theresa of Spain. Her quote was S'il ait aucun pain, donnez-leur la croûte au loin du pâté, which roughly translates to "If there be no bread, give them the crust off of the pâté". BTW your comment on my paper was similarly misunderstood- you took a class assignment as Free Speech, and I didn't say a word about CYA anyway. Sorry for the miscommunication. Take care.

Nancy Lee said...

Thank you Sarah! Your response absolutely makes my morning wonderful. Learning is my passion and you taught me much in this comment.

The net is great! Makes me hope perhaps we can approach a modern day of something akin to dialectics and return to a form of learning that contributes to increase in knowledge for all rather than reiteration...or maybe regurgitation without thought is a more apt description.

My faux pas on Marie is a perfect example. I've "known" that cliche since childhood...(I'm 64)and without you might have died without ever learned the facts about its origin!

Of more importance to me is your comment that I misunderstood when taking your "class assignment as Free Speech." Are you saying that it isn't? I shudder at the thought of what it might be, then, and what that might mean.

Of less importance to me is your comment that you "didn't say a word about CYA anyway." One doesn't need to say something for it to be inferred by a reader on the basis of what the author says. "The reader writes the meaning" is probably another cliche' miscommunicated on a regular basis!

Last, to show you how much I have to learn! What does BTW mean?

I'm delighted about the miscommunications that brought us to a connection. Thank you again...
Take care...be aware,
Nancy Lee

Nancy Lee said...

For anyone interested in the origin of phrases discussed in the preceeding comment, I offer these links...

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/read-between-the-lines.html
making meaning through inferences
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/227600.html
let them eat cake
http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/26/messages/1075.html
eat cake and have it, too
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover_your_ass
CYA

Take care...be aware,
Nancy Lee