Every once in a while it just hits me how spoiled many Americans are.

Few conversations happen these days without at least an allusion to the economy. Stocks are down, fears are up -- could we be nearing a depression? What gets me is that the majority of us are still cruising along in our $20,000 cars while we drink our $4 lattes and talk on our cell phones. I'm not pointing fingers here; that's absolutely me, too.

More and more, I am afraid the average, middle-class American is losing touch with the fact that there are people out there -- in the U.S. and in other countries -- who have legitimate needs. They need food, clean drinking water, blankets to keep warm. And there are people who live every day in fear that their baby will starve because they can't afford milk/formula or even that their homes and lives will be destroyed as a result of political squabbling (http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/30/india.explosions/index.html). We need to stop looking at them as "people looking for a free handout" and start looking at them as "people."

At our very core, we all have needs, from the poorest to the richest of us. Some of them are material, but many of them are emotional and spiritual. Maybe if those of us, myself included, who have the capacity to help meet physical needs would quit finding excuses not to do that, some of the other needs would take care of themselves.
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