To the editor:
I believe in buying local. It’s part of what makes us a community. Each Christmas, I know I’m spending more than I probably should. I enjoy it though. It makes me feel like I’m helping everyone out just a little bit more. I enjoy laughing with the shop owners as I search for something made or sold nowhere else. They’re treasures these days.
This year, though, I cannot bring myself to do it. You see, as I walk our streets visiting and laughing, I also like to give what I can spare to the homeless vagrants. I know what some of them do with the money, and it’s their business. I know the complaints as well: alcohol and drug use, unemployment, public urination and vomiting all seem to make them undeserving of the borrowed money they live on. The same may be said of many of our students, although bums don’t drink and text while driving and they don’t run over people on bicycles.
We could choose to let our homeless nomads remind us of the broader illusion we all would prefer to hide in these days, of the consequences of war and capitalism run amok and what being a community really means. For me, Lawrence has been an oasis amid a seething Kansas, a place of vibrant, artistic grit. Today, it feels more like a peeling, faded mural that once proudly celebrated its diversity. So, in honor of this season’s communal spirit, I hereby revoke my charity — to the downtown merchants.