My Dad would always say to me; “Get your own house in order before you worry about anyone else’s”.
This has been ringing more and more true for me as late.
It seems to me, we (Americans) have become increasingly vocal with our discontent. We are complaining about government spending, about healthcare, about immigration, about the big bad banks, about taxes, Obama, “Socialism” and more. An entire movement has sprouted up (The Tea Party) railing against what they see as social injustice and the ever growing control of the federal government. We seem to be growing angrier and angrier, demanding change and expressing our discontent with much around us. We seem to be mad at everyone; immigrants, Muslims, politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, the President, CEO’s, the Pope, the oil companies, the media and more, no one has escaped our wrath of late.
In all this anger I think we are losing something far more important than all those things, our humanity.
A man died the other day. He was stabbed while trying to save a woman from being robbed. He lay dying on a New York street for almost two hours while as many as 25 people walked by. Some took pictures, others rolled him over saw blood and left. No one extended him the help he extended to the woman who was being robbed.
Have we become so self-absorbed we have abandoned our commitment to help thy neighbor? In our race to accumulate material things, do we no longer embrace the good Samaritan in ourselves? Is community now defined as those we know, those closest to us? Are the strangers who live next to us, or down the street, or even in the ally less valuable because we don’t know them?
Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax was an immigrant from Nicaragua. He was homeless. A woman was being mugged. He knew what to do. He tried to help and we left him to die in the street. It’s sad. We are better than that.
Do we need to address government spending. Yes. Could we have better representation in Washington? Yes. Are healthcare, immigration, the economy, education and the environment important? Yes. They aren’t, however, as important as our own humanity.
We seem angry these days. I can’t help but wonder if it’s missed placed anger.
What do we have to be so angry about? Are we not surprised no one would help Hugo and that scares us? Are we subconsciously aware of a diminishing lack of empathy in our country? Is our anger rooted in the feeling we are loosing parts of our humanity? Do our fears mis-guide us? Do they create a miss-placed anger?
Hugo had the right value system. He tried to help. What about the rest of us?
The next time we feel angry and decide to march on Washington to defeat healthcare, before we let our anger drive us to join the Tea Party or the NRA, or ACORN, we might want to take a look a little closer to home. We are this country. You, me, and Hugo. We get to make a difference. The values we embrace are ours to enforce. We have the power through our interaction with others to make change. Yelling out of anger to get OTHER’s to make a difference only moves us further away from one another. Yelling out of anger for others to fix the problem doesn’t absolve us of responsibility. We only think it does.
Only a week after Arizona passed a strict illegal immigration bill to keep illigal immigrants out of this country, an illegal immigrant saved a woman’s life. This illegal immigrant demonstrated the values the American citizens who walked by as he bled to death, couldn’t.
My dad was absolutely right. We need to get our own house in order before we worry about anyone else’s.