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September 13, 2022

It’s time to admit we need each other.

This country is in a “crisis, and it can offer us a radical break from the circumstances that produced it, a moment of genuine openness, a chance to rethink everything anew.” But do we see it that way? Not so much.

Why? Because first, it must be viewed as though with new eyes. We must see the futility of applying old thinking that contributed to the creation of the crisis. And accept the futility of attempts to recreate the old. We must accept the death of the old as a sacrifice to new life.

 

Believing that moderate voices and the passage of time will cure the economic crisis we’re in right now is delusional. We’ve been lulled into expecting the wealth to start trickling down for forty years. In the meantime, the rich have become uber-rich. The poor have gotten poorer.

Remember the Arab folk saying, “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” We’re the dogs. Save your energy. The caravan moved on a long time ago.

We need to stop depending on politicians who’ve proven they don’t represent us for decades. We need each other.

Close ranks and help each other. Volunteer locally. Care for each other. If you can, give some money to those who are less fortunate. Don’t let anyone go hungry. Shop locally. Tip more. Be kind to everyone.

We’re all we’ve got.

Yesterday, I saw a young who looked like he was starving to death right here in Carbondale, in the United States, the wealthiest country in the world. I talked to him. Asked him if he needed help, and even when he said no, I could see it in his eyes; I gave him money to purchase food. You see, I think it’s easier to turn our heads when we’re at a distance, but when we approach another human being who happens to be suffering, it shows in their eyes. We need to get closer to see their suffering. We often don’t want to get that close because it reminds us of our own suffering.

If I’m true to my human nature, I cannot stand by and watch another human being suffer. If I have the means to alleviate that suffering even a little bit, I must. I point this out not as “my noble act” but as a reminder that we are all born with empathy. We just need to acknowledge it, let it out, air it, and express it, as painful as it may be. We are our brother’s keepers, regardless of the current individualistic insanity that grips us as a nation.

We live in an illusion if we think we’re “independent” individuals and don’t need anyone else. We are “interdependent” individuals, and our natural human urge to help is a gift we give to each other. We came into this world totally dependent on others, and most of us will go out the same way. The only thing that’s missing is knowing and admitting to our very human need for others between these two periods.

Here’s an idea. As you go to sleep tonight, think of one person who helped make your day more pleasant. Then make a promise to act like that person in someone else’s life tomorrow. I know when I do this kind of personal reminder of my connection to other people, I sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed.

We may have different political perspectives, but that doesn’t mean we must hate each other. We are all Americans regardless of color, sexual orientation, national origin, or religious or non-religious affiliation. Let’s unclench our fists and offer each other an open hand of help and acceptance. Let’s quit claiming we’re the greatest country on the planet and start acting like we are.

3 comments

  1. It’s an honor to know you . . and have you as part of our time on this orb..still so much to learn about ourselves ..others.. and our journey to wholeness. Bob, you nailed it in this one. We all have to jump the “Ship of Fools ” at some point or go down with it. You have! Thanks, Bob Camp

  2. Jon Meacham wrote in his book THE SOUL OF AMERICA “in my heart I believe America is the greatest country on earth but in my head Iknow it is not”. Like you, he takes a personal look to find a way to move forward. This is an excellent article and I fully agree. Kindness gets attention in this angry world, maybe just one person at a time, but that is a beginning.

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