“Me First” is now “Me Only”

Much has been written about how divided the country has become. Little doubt remains that the division has sparked increases in hate crimes, bullying and mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. The teen suicide rate is higher than it has ever been and more children are in poverty than at any time in our history.

The reasons for these societal ills are many but they all come down to one fact: the US has become not only a “me first” country but has devolved into a “me only” one.

A country which claims to be “one nation, under GOD” now takes Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” to a new level of selfishness, i.e. “survival of NO ONE” but me. Resources are squandered by some, while millions go to bed hungry.

Americans no longer seem interested in reaching back to help those coming behind them.

We need look no farther than our own community to see voters rejecting school levies because “I don’t have any kids in school” or failing to support safe housing, fair wages or healthcare “because my needs are met.”

When did we stop caring about others even when we have more than enough for ourselves?

I volunteer at the local Front Street Drop-in Center three days a week serving lunch to people who have very little to share. While these folks are not “saints”, listening to their conversation over lunch, it becomes evident that they have the capacity to care about others and offer advice or share meager supplies readily. Those of us who “work the program” like to think that because “love has been shared” these feelings are passed on to others.

How does the country and the local community get to a point where we are all our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper? Do we care if a neighbor loses his house, his job, or his life? Let’s just turn on another reality show, open a beer and pretend it’s happening to someone on another planet.

Ben Franklin, you know the guy who discovered electricity while flying a kite, once said “we must all hang together or we shall surely hang separately.” Despite this, large corporations put profit above a living wage for workers, politicians vote only for issues supported by their big dollar donors and children look at adults and wonder “why don’t they care about us?”

WE only have one planet and even if Musk is able to escape in his space pod, he will probably return someday (or not). WE either learn to “take care of ourselves and each other”, (stolen from Lester Holt of NBC News) or we perish. Begin today to find a way you can help someone even if they don’t look like you or talk like you. Do it, not because there’s something in it for you; but rather, because it is the right thing to do.

Teresa R. Porter



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