Monday, June 04, 2007

United We Stand

My topic in this post invites the use of cliche. "United we stand, divided we fall." "A house divided against itself cannot stand." You get the picture.

Cliche or not, I've noticed a trend that is really starting to eat away at me. Most of us in this country have to work to make a living. We may work as day laborers, college professors, construction workers, lawyers, homemakers, plumbers, executive assistants, stock brokers, or whatever, but we have to work to pay bills, to put food on the table and to have a roof over our heads.

The working people of this nation are allowing themselves to be divided against each other, which is only going to result in poorer pay, longer hours, and less security for all of us. And the new uber-rich aristocracy will be laughing all the way to the bank and back home again, in their brand new cars that cost more than many of us make in a year.

I'm seeing fault lines worsening between races, between religious groups, between ethnic groups. Folks, we're all in this together, and if we allow ourselves to give in and fight among ourselves, we'll be heading even faster back to the days when most of humanity could barely feed itself, while a few privileged ones lived in castles and believed in their divine superiority.

It's time to wake up and realize that humans have always advanced best when they've worked together for common goals, not allowed themselves to fall into petty squabbling. Which religion, if any, one believes in is not as important as treating others as you would like to be treated (a truth found in basically all religions) and as working to make the world a better, more just and loving place. Which race one belongs to is not as important as treating all races, your own and others, fairly and justly and with respect for the humanity which is in all of us. Which ethnic group one belongs to is not as important as understanding that we are all basically trying to find health and happiness and security, and as working together so that we can all achieve our goals.

If I blame someone else for my problems, I don't solve those problems. In fact, if I keep myself busy worrying about what a victim I am, often I make no effort to solve my problems at all.

As American citizens who work to earn a living, let's quit blaming each other for our problems and work together for livable wages, decent housing, affordable (better public?) transportation, good schooling, civil public discourse, and any other amenity that would make life in this country healthier and more supportive of its citizens. Let's be proud of our work, because it gives us satisfaction and a sense of purpose in life. Let's lead by example, and quit trying to raise ourselves by undercutting others. Let's start being the postive, involved citizens who've made this country great over the years.

We can do it. And it we don't want to lose our country and all it stands for, we have to do it. It's time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would argue that most major religions, and certainly the abrahamic religions, do not advocate "treating others as you would like to be treated", but rather advocate treating "in group" people that way - i.e., people who share the religion in question, and everyone else is set up very nicely to be inferior at best and dehumanized and slaughtered at worst.

Other than that, I see forces pulling in both directions, all across the world. In some ways, I see people pulling together, and in others, I see them tearing themselves apart. And in all the ways I see people tearing themselves apart, it is with some artificially constructed grouping, and usually one that is dogmatically based. Most of the dogmatically based constructions are those that either are genetic (i.e., "racial"), or impressed upon children before true self-consciousness has arisen int he child (i.e. religion).

I think the largest step towards removing these false constructions is stop accepting the belief in propositions which there is no evidence or evidence to the contrary (i.e., religious or dogmatic faith) as a virtue. This, in a single broad stroke, eliminates virtually all the make-believe constructs that separate people with a wide enough chasm to engender conflict.