Monday, October 04, 2004

Confessions of a Sap

For all my political conservatism, for all my distrust of big government's ability to provide for us, for all my disdain for the welfare state and my belief that entitlement is actually disablement, I am in the end very softhearted. I'm willing to spend my OWN money to help those who are in need, and I'm easily moved by genuine displays of generosity and mercy.

Which is why I love my new favorite TV show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I haven't made it dry-eyed through a single episode yet. Last night's was no exception -- I was "complaining about the air quality" by the first commercial break. The family who received the new home was a shining example of the kind of people they choose -- people who are doing their best to pull their own weight, and even help others, but against whom circumstances have conspired. They were parents of four, and when his mother was killed by a stray bullet in a gang shootout in east LA, he took in his five minor siblings.

There are a couple of things about the show that really warm my heart. First of all, the families almost uniformly come across with the right attitude -- they ask very nicely in their videos, and they are grateful to those who help them in the end. This is at the heart of true compassion -- helping people because they need and ask, not because they feel entitled and demand. Furthermore, I appreciate deeply the amount of volunteer work they use in the construction crews, and the fact that big businesses like Sears and Shea Homes pitch in to help, and the fact that ABC and their sponsors do it on their own dime. Sure, they get tons of really good publicity for it, but considering the good they accomplish, more power to them. I know I for one plan to do business at Sears as much as possible (and for one more reason to do so, see my post on how well they treat their employees in the Guard and Reserve.

Finally, as I've already stated, I love the fact that almost all of the people they help are people who are doing their best to make it and to help others. When you see how hard they work to keep the dumps their homes are before the makeover, you get the feeling that these are people who won't squander this wonderful gift.

So, yeah, I'm a pushover and a sap and a wimp, but I don't care. Ty and his crew are my heroes.

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