I assume that most questions have no definite answer. “Should we all have access to food everyday?” is one of the few exceptions. It seems such an obvious concept. We need to eat to stay alive, just as we need to breath. But there is no price on air. Why then, do we accept that we must pay for our meals? Why do we accept that some are obese while others are starving, and still others are starving themselves?
Food Not Bombs is a worldwide reaction to reality. The first time I tiptoed nervously, in awe, into the green oasis of a park plopped in downtown Ft. Lauderdale where the weekly 954 Food Not Bombs meets I expected all the food, the enthusiastic activists working to make it all go smoothly, and all the people there to eat and drink and relax. What I didn’t expect was the atmosphere: the deep community stirring in this group. People of all walks of life, of every race and socioeconomic standing were gathered. I saw a boy my age who I knew lived in a giant castle of a house on the beach listening to an old, slightly delusional homeless veteran’s war stories, rambling on about all of his conspiracy theories in his malfunctioning electric wheelchair. And the boy was really listening, and enjoying it. He understood the value of those words because they came from a person who had lived a radically different life from him. There is an infinity of liquid wisdom to be soaked up through anyone who has lived in another world than you.
Having helped out for almost six months now, I’ve had some pretty amazing conversations. A man on his way home, just getting off the bus, stopped to see what the gathering was, and we talked about how every positive religion says the same thing and how Mother Theresa was a neat lady. He was Mexican, and defied every stereotype that prissy white Americans like to place on said minority. He was clean and insightful, and although he may not have been in the fanciest clothes or had a traditional educational, he was a genuinely good person. You don’t come across that every day.
I believe that we like put people into boxes out of laziness, because we do not want to stop and think about what every person might actually be like. If we have a big supply preconceived notions to toss on every passer by as we see fit, it makes life worlds easier. Making a small shift in the way we treat others, in the way we think about the world around us, could make a colossal shift in the happiness of every human being. Assume the best, and assume that everyone is deserving of life. And in turn, everyone is deserving of food.