Friday, May 22, 2015

A beautiful law in France

I live in the country, Navajo land where people spread out and yet turn empty spaces into flea markets and sell food by the side of the road. There are two supermarkets near me, both part of large chain store operations. One of them stocks food items exactly as you would expect to see in Phoenix or Albuquerque. The other is more strictly Navajo oriented. A "traditional" Navajo meal would include mutton, fry bread cooked in lard, corn and squash. Spam is big here. Potatoes and chile peppers, too.
When I go to the other store I find these items, but there are also massive displays of mushrooms, bok choy, expensive steaks, and so many items that are unknown to many Navajos or are too expensive. I've often felt that that chain was sending items to the Rez (reservation) as a last step before dumping them and writing off the loss on their taxes. That's the American way, right, tax breaks for the large corporations?
But now France has a law in place to force food stores to give away old-but-edible foods to charity. Read about it here. Such a simple and elegant law. If such a law were to be proposed in the US we'd hear why it would ruin the supermarket economy, why the poor don't deserve free food, and on and on with the Greed and Hatred that, increasingly, is becoming the definition of American culture.
We hear that France is a rigidly secular society, that church attendance is down, wayyyy down. We hear that America is a Christian nation, that Christian charity is "a thousand points of light." Yet we have hungry children, homeless children, and precious little Christian charity. Things necessary for decent society do not spring forth, at least not in great numbers; they must become mandated by law. Perhaps some of our more forward-looking states will pass laws similar to this French law. Feeding the poor will not bring down the empire.

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