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I cannot remember the last time that something I read upset me as much as Darrin McKinney’s letter to the editor (The Mail, 10/4) in response to your article concerning the D.C. Housing Authority’s dealings with Arthur Capper and Carrollsburg Dwellings (“‘Hood Winked,” 9/27).
I wish that I could say that McKinney was alone in his ideas, but that is not the case. There are quite a few people out there who believe that money ensures rights. Last I checked, rights are that which people are entitled to just because they are people. The truly cynical part of me wonders why McKinney used so many animal metaphors, but I will leave that alone.
Sam Kinison, a pretty popular comedian back in the hair-metal days, had a joke about the starving people in Africa basically deserving what they got because they wouldn’t move to where the food was. Some laughed, and some were ill after hearing this. People have the right to food; to shelter; to clothing; to culture; to settle down, place roots, raise a family, and see their children succeed where they couldn’t—to leave things better than when they found them. The ability to put down roots and call a place home is not contingent on a family’s wealth. It is contingent on us, as fellow people, having the decency to realize that we are not alone on this planet; that our survival is largely predicated on our ability to bring others along with us; that how we serve the least among us determines who is great among us—at least in every major religion I can think of (and some not-so-major ones as well).
It has been said that the ethic of championing the cause of the underserved is one of the distinctive qualities that has led to so much of the progress that we see today. We have placed Darwin on his head—much to the chagrin of those who would love to gobble up that which we now protect out of love and respect for life and people.
Ours is not, at base, a Darwinistic society. America is not a truly free-market economy. If that is the case, why do families that raise food have to sell their business while more and more families that need that food go hungry every day?
McKinney should be grateful that we do not live in a Darwinistic society, because I believe that he may be gobbled up more quickly than he thinks.