Thursday, November 28, 2013

Harry Chapin, World Hunger & hunger right here in our area!

Thanksgiving is over…and for some it never was.

December 7th is a well-known date to historians…Pearl Harbor Day – A day that will live in infamy!  Musicians might remember it as the day Harry Chapin was born in 1942.

Chapin was a musician/songwriter/world class humanitarian & a reformer of sorts.  Not that he preached for political change… but that he sang' performed and gave his heart to a cause that has been in the forefront of the news lately – Hunger!

On the political front he was an important part of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger in 1977.

His efforts on behalf of all causes was the result of a self - propelling will to make a difference in this "world" with his life. He championed even small causes like a benefit concert for the Landmark Theater here in Syracuse, a thing he did twice.

Harry became an inspiration for hunger causes not only around the world but also because he worked to bring out the plight of the hungry here in the United States… A hunger that has not gone away but has gotten worse!!

I recently worked on a hunger study because of the cancellation of dollars for SNAP (food stamps –WIC) programs.  I was shocked to read the figures and I was shocked by the hypocrisy of politicians giving so many tax breaks and subsidies to "big" agriculture and ridiculously placing a humanitarian program in the same funding category.

One humorous thesis I read was - that if you own a home, a car and a color TV then you can afford to feed your children. 

!1-   Who really owns their own home?  Loans, insurance, and taxes on a fixed income...count for what here??? 

  2 – Car?  A good majority of the poor live in rural areas where an old car of any type is a necessity, needed not only to run around in… but to get to stores to buy food, to go to doctors, and to get to WORK since there is no real rural transportation! 

 3 – A color TV?  Everyone who has children or needs to be informed has a TV… people give them away for free… as they upgrade to huge flat screens!!

Chapin realized the importance of not only having events to raise money but to work to find the root causes of the problem so he affiliated with FOOD FIRST an organization that claims “abundance not scarcity best describes the world’s food supply“… for information visit their site...

I think it is high time the foolish politicians who fuel hateful remarks about the poor being lazy and worthless are voted out of office… and also that the people who foolishly believe all “poor and elderly on SS are takers”  get called out… Harry would have wanted it.

For his effort Chapin was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold medal for his work… and what interests me most is he carried a humanitarian message with him to his grave…  a message we should all heed and strive to achieve.  On his gravestone is carved his motto from one of his song “I Wonder What Would Happen to this World”:

Oh if man tried
To take his time on earth
And prove before he died
What one man’s life could be worth
I wonder what would happen to this World!

He died on July 16th 1981…too bad we don’t have him now to fight against politicians whose programs and greed promote hunger and poverty not eliminate it!

Listen to the songs and enjoy!

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