I watch public television all the time. I travel in my mind away from the noise and bluster to places in the world that have frisky lambs, lochs, and waterfalls. I want to be in that world, just for a bit. There are always people who search for the old days, but I don’t want those. Disease, prejudice, a lack of money aren’t quaint or charming. I’m looking for modern charm in places of the world where charm is preserved. I don’t want the crass consumerism, the crowds that leave you without a breath, but I want to see how people get along together, supporting each other, and still taking time out for individuality. I’ve never had much patience for people who raise arguments for the sake of arguing. Arguments make my stomach knot up and my head ache.
Politics always concerns me because people forget that we are a “people” and not just two armies on the battlefield. I watch European governments deal with their parties with relief that there are more than two parties that have seats in power. They change with the whim of the people and sometimes because of events that overwhelm the senses.
They say that the last great generation was that of my grandparents who grew up in a time of strident ideologies that tore families apart, targeted people for genocide, and ripped the surface of the planet apart. People gave all they had to make sure the stridency of hate ended. They believed their sacrifices would protect those who came after from such a fate. Churches gathered resources to protect the innocent. Families gathered supplies and knit socks and hats. The Red Cross had a generosity that today is portioned carefully. Men and women gave their lives, in the military and as civilians. If you had two pots, and your neighbor had none, you shared. Or so the stories tell, and those stories that haven’t been written down or filmed have found a place in the garden of good deeds where you didn’t brag because you did something good. I’ve been told those good people are gone forever, and I’ll tell you know, more are coming up from the shadows where they learned of needs to the bright light where we should again celebrate them…
I live in an area with a high military and government service population. Life is fast-paced here and if you don’t slow down you will never see the good gleaming out in the open. If you are rich, you can take a world stance and be a hero in the public eye. Mrs. Clooney is representing a whole people in a court at Nuremberg, she was the lawyer who recently took the case of the Yadizi people of Northern Iraq. Young girls enslaved, young boys indoctrinated to ISIL, fathers and mothers murdered, what positive could possible come of such a situation? It’s the advocates who agree that there must be a world accountability. But what if you don’t have a lot of money? You don’t have the time? Would you want this happening in your country? We defended these people, so did the Kurds.
There was a couple, both Marines, who took care of things that “needed doing” in the neighborhood and at the school where their children attended. They never did it for the reason of publicity. They did it because it was right. They helped as they could; shoveling snow so that seniors didn’t risk it, rebuilding the crew shed for a high school with materials that were thrown up and now had a chance to serve. They cleaned up after Gradnight celebrations. They stayed busy because they believed community is where things start. They took a lonely neighbor to ball games, invited the neighbors to dinner, and reached out as much as they could. I was saddened when they went back home.
There are so many volunteers providing meals for the elderly, for the dispossessed. The local market delivered four tractor loads of food last fall to be given to needy families. They’ve kept it up. We have a homeless prevention program that advocates, shelters and guides families back into a position where they can resume their lives in a positive way for themselves. Vets who provide services to animal rescue organizations? Vet clinics who foster kittens for adoption? Lawyers who work with families who can’t afford legal advice? PAL’s organizations who foster, promote and find homes for animals from all volunteer systems? Newman’s Own, where all profits are assigned to help those in need. Teachers who stay late to tutor for free? Ball teams that give back to youth in their cities promoting a healthy lifestyle. There are so many people out there who care. These are the greats of our times.
Communities want the same things: a reduction of pollution, services for those in need, medical treatment, an end to homelessness, respect for our veterans, education for the young, jobs, roads, schools. How did we start arguing about these things?
World War II saw the end of the implementation of the greatest social experiment ever. We took care of our own, we gave the world what was an intense reaction to the behaviors of totalitarianism and Nazism. Bullies need a target to be better than in order for them to come to power. Roosevelt used an extensive national program to rebuild a nation whose classes didn’t communicate, to find work for those needing work, and to protect a national call to action by all of her members. It wasn’t perfect, but it established a system and a precedent to protect the “Welfare” or wellbeing of the citizens of our Nation. Seniors were given a chance to be fed, housed, and given medical treatment so they didn’t have to work until their dying day. early education came twenty years after.
Goldwater was the first conservative Republican, believing and creating a manifesto to undo the advances that the Roosevelts had brought forward. Simply put, he believed that our society would become weak if we kept “bailing” people out. That was his choice of word, not mine. I know of few, if any at all, that didn’t advance in life, be it from family, a teacher, the military, with a helping hand.
We’re Americans, not something for one and nothing for others. I’ve got MS. Because of it, I won’t have a pension to retire with, so should I be angry with other teachers who will get a pension that they have earned? I don’t think so. Luck has something to do with where we end up. So does due diligence. So does who you can rely on to show you the ropes to get where you want to be. Point is we are one people. E pluribus unum. We’re different, we’re the same, we’re colorful and bland, we believe in one God or not. We can cherish each other because of our uniquenesses and differences. Screaming hate from one party to the next accomplishes nothing.
Let’s get this voting thing done and go back to our work, dreams, and families. Let’s stand as Americans with the right to disagree, but let’s stand together.