I suspect the visceral response to the title of this blog for the average western reader will be to immediately think about the ugliness of the political race for the presidency of the U.S. It is unavoidable, and, certainly, we have had enough hateful vitriol to choke a glutton. When asked by friends outside the U.S. about how much more one has to put up with before we determine who should be the country’s next leader, I have no answer. In fact, I am mute, afraid that my point of view is irrelevant simply because it is usually contrarian.
If I am calm, I am unengaged. If I am assertive, I am opinionated. If I take the high road, I am an idealist ignoring reality. And, though I will never do it, if I take the low road, I am the problem. It is a risky proposition to speak up on any subject, in particular, the political race in the U.S. But, lately every subject seems a target for attack. All agreement, all dissent is drowned out by an unhinged passion absent of empathy. Is there not a refuge from the storm where the keel that guides us, our Constitution, and the sail which drives us, our enterprise, can be repaired so that we may sail collectively to a safer harbor? If there is none, the age of reason is over. But I do not believe that. I have found a safe harbor in the most unsuspecting place. We should all go there. It is in the company of the poor.
Those that have never gone hungry, never watched a child suffer from a curable malady, never experienced a chattel life or lived under the thumb of misguided governance should do so. They will quickly learn how lucky they are, how privileged they are, how ignorant they are about what should be a simple truth. We need each other.
Frankly, it is not about who we elect to lead our nation. It is all about what we do to help each other at the most discreet level, one to one. And this truth is self-evident at the bottom of the economic pyramid where daily survival is the reality. Who helps the poor more than anyone else? Other poor people! Who embraces the well to do more than anyone else? Poor people! Who is there when the going gets tough? Probably the family, but guess what, they are poor too. It is humbling.
Take a moment. Strip down to nothing. No safe haven, no malnutrition or subsequent Illness that takes your child before the age of five, no water that is potable, threats that can turn your world upside down while you sleep. The list seems endless. Then tell me what is really important. When I distill it down the answer is always the same. It is always the person right next to me, usually a family member, but it could be you too.
Think hard about what a soldier tells us about the most important thing to him or her on the field of battle. You may need help. I might need help. Screaming into the wind does not succor anyone. A helping hand does. This is how the poor survive. It is also true for those blessed with plenty. Enough is enough. Let’s stop and learn the lesson that is truly important. Reach out and find the truth that makes humanity special. Each other.