These are extremely hard times for us. I read in the paper the other day about the workers who organized a sit-in in Chicago to get the severance and vacation pay that was owed to them after they were unscrupulously fired last week. This is going on all around us & this landscape of corporate greed is terrifying. We are bailing out automakers so they can make the same mistakes over that they’ve made for the past 40 years. We bail out banks so they can pocket money they should be loaning to those who need it for survival.
When was it okay to start stabbing your neighbor in the back to make a buck? Is that the true American way? I don’t believe it is. We are forgetting the one law, the one rule that sets humans apart from animals. It is the Ethic of reciprocity, better known as the Golden Rule. I’m no prophet, I’m not speaking in broad colloquialisms on why people do what they do. I’m not speaking of religion I’m leave that to the Theologians. I’m not speaking on politics I’ll leave that to the politicians. I do not speak of ethics that is for philosophers. I speak of the the Human Condition. This may come off as corny but it is not. The affection for our neighbor has waned when it should be stronger than ever. These past 7 years we have experienced an attack, 2 wars and the worst global economic catastrophe since the Great Depression & we are not thankful for the things we do have.
What does the father say to his son when he loses his job and he can’t give him anything for Christmas? What does the single mother who desperately wants to go back to school but can’t because the cost is just too much? What does one do when they can’t pay their heating bill in the middle of winter? When does a person hit that point where they just say “fuck it, I quit” & make that ultimate drastic choice? I don’t have these answers, because I’m just as confused as the next guy. What do we do to quell this tide of greed? We look to those workers in Chicago who, today, got the company to agree to at least come to the table & talk to them. We look at them and say they are looking out for what’s right. We say they are standing up for not just themselves but for us as well. They are leading the charge and saying, “Not this time. You aren’t gonna kill my spirit, my family.” We must stand up for what we believe in. The Basic Human Condition and the Ethic of Reciprocity are intertwined. They are not religious ethics, they are basic evolutionary traits that lead us to evolve better as a people.
The Eagles have a song called, New York Minute & it talks about how from one moment to the next everything can become diluted, dysfunctional and disoriented. It talks about the dynamic of losing everything in that proverbial New York Minute & how we take that for granted. I learned that lesson well when my father died. Our last words were not kind & while it is a normal occurrence to argue with loved ones & sometimes say things we don’t necessarily mean, it still doesn’t do anything to make me feel any better about those last moments we had together. That was our New York Minute. We are not cherishing our existence. We are merely existing. We aren’t much different than the Neanderthal man the hunters and gathers from thousands of years ago. The only difference is we gather things acquired with more wealth. There is no fine line between the haves and the have nots anymore. That line is miles apart and getting wider. Perhaps this new administration can fix these problems, not just politically but in the spirit of all that’s right.
And in these days When darkness falls early
And people rush home
To the ones they love
You better take a fool’s advice
And take care of your own
One day they’re here;
Next day they’re gone