Whether the so-called conservatives want to believe it or not, we are all in it together. If we destroy the middle class, there will be nobody to buy the goods made by all the outsourced jobs the wealthy classes have shipped overseas so as to maximize profits. If we destroy the earth, even the rich will have no place to live. You know, I can understand selfishness (even if I don't approve of it.) What I can't understand is stupidity. You would think simple enlightened self-interest would motivate the people in power to support cooperation and sustainability.
For too long, the Right wing has peddled us-versus-them values, pitting all of us against each other to distract us from the real problems. The problem in our society, we’re told, is the gay folks or the Muslims or the immigrants. The solution is to wall ourselves up, launch endless wars, abolish Affirmative Action.
Maybe it’s time we start talking about real American values, where we take care of each other and respect each other and recognize that we’re all in it together. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “We are caught in an inescapable web of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. That is the way the world is made.” He didn’t exclude immigrants or gay people or people of color from that web. Nor did Jesus. “Have we not all one father, has not one God created us?” The passage doesn’t read, “We all have one creator and are equal except for this list which I shall now read…” The Right wing has force-fed us the idea that we must compete with each other, that your rights infringe on my rights, that justice is a zero-sum game.
But the Right is wrong. The story of America is, and has always been, that we’re all in it together. Native communities spoke of the interconnected web of community long before Martin Luther King. The pioneers built their communities not through go-it-alone individualism but communal wagon trains and cooperation. Most everything that anyone has ever achieved in our country has been with the help of others, from the family and community that support us to the government which educates us, paves our roads, provides our drinking water. American values are based on mutual need and mutual respect. These are the values we should be talking about — and making the candidates listen!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
We really ARE all in it together
The article is entitled "Whose Values?" and here's an excerpt: