My Political Incorrectness Is Showing

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“You should run for office”

My husband uttered those words one Sunday morning, after I finally, after five years of political squabbling, convinced him to listen to my ideology. I mean, I actually got him to listen not just humor me and pretend to listen.  We were sitting on the front porch, having our morning coffee and he was going on about me being a Liberal…and I was denying it…again…and I said, “I know what’s wrong with the country.  I call it “I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?”

“I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?” is what’s wrong with the entire country, from pre-school on up to senior citizens.  “I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?” is the mantra of power and the poor.  “I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?” is why the country just doesn’t work anymore.

Let me jump back for a second.  There is a basic tenet that I believe is necessary to society: you take care of your people.  This does not mean a lifelong handout.  People are going to achieve different levels of financial success in society and that just makes sense.  We need ditch diggers and waitresses as much as doctors and lawyers.  There’s nothing wrong with being working class.  But when the working class is hungry, when they can’t afford doctors or healthcare…well there’s something wrong.  Right now, the working class is suffering and much of the upper class is looking down on them saying, “I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?”

Back in the day of The Greatest Generation, our grandparents, hard work was a way of life.  There were bankers and lawyers and wealthy businessmen.  But being a working class immigrant wasn’t a crime.  It was a time when doctors made house calls and didn’t always charge.  When you could run a tab at your local market until payday…or longer.  You could wake your neighborhood pharmacist up in the middle of the night when your kid had a bad cough.  Everything was made in the USA, because most of it was made at home.  And neighbors helped one another out, because they were neighbors.  

Then the baby-boomers came and we got “I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?”  Money and possessions became the measure of a man.  Everything became disposable, including people.  Big business became less and less about people and more and more about profits.

“Hey, I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?”

The children of the 70’s and 80’s were taught to want the best and to strive to have it all.  Excess was king.  Small grocery stores and pharmacies were replaced by mega-chains.  Neighborhood banks with tellers who knew you by name merged and merged again into gigantic financial conglomerates.  What’s that c-word again?  Charity?  Do for your neighbor?  Pffffttt…Hey, man…”I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?”

The children of the 90’s know nothing except get as much as you can as fast as you can.  Upgrade! Upgrade!  Upgrade my iPod, my Internet, super-size me!  Step over the homeless man in the door at McDonalds while texting on your brand new iPhone.  Just don’t look him in the eye.

So, while I don’t want publicly funded programs “shoved down our throats”,   I recognize that we’ve totally screwed ourselves with “I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?”  I’ve come to the conclusion that when we start giving again…start caring about people over dividends…start recognizing how fucked we truly are, then maybe we can back off the healthcare mandate, etc.  Maybe if we stop the damn bickering, finger pointing and name calling and just compromise for the greater good of the country, we might get back on the right track.  Maybe if we recognize that we’re all different, but equal because we’re all human we might start to have compassion and stop clinging to what we have so tightly, hard-earned or not…because it’s entirely possible that someone else needs it more.

Maybe we just need to kill “I’ve got mine. Where’s yours?” once and for all and replace it with “What can I do to help?”  Voluntarily and without a mandate telling us it is the right thing to do.

Do you think?

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10 responses »

  1. This is a very powerful statement and I agree with your husband – run for office! The other problem is that things aren’t made to last because technology is moving ahead at a great rate (and the large companies that have taken over the smaller ones want to sell, sell, sell, so they make things that last only a few months instead of years). My parents bought a fridge in 1962 and it broke down three months ago! I tell people this and they think it’s hilarious.

    I’m in Australia and everything you’re saying about the attitude goes for us as well (unless you live in the country and then you’re more likely to hear ‘what can I do to help’).

    The world can change one blog (twitter, text) at a time – I’m a true believer in this and think your post is one of these!

    Wonderful stuff 🙂

  2. It is simple, but it’s not easy. It means that people need to start taking a few hours a week or month out of our admittedly jam-packed schedules to give back to society. And I mean everyone, regardless of social standing or income.

    Just to break it down in the most simplest of terms – in 2010, there were 258 active physicians for every 100,000 people in the U.S. If each of those physicians volunteered just 5 hours a month in clinics, private offices, etc, that would be 185,247 hours of medical service hours provided at no cost to people in need.

    People need to get back into the mindset that we do not exist on an island. Volunteer in soup kitchens, mentor young people, tutor a failing student, teach music for free. You get the idea. Do something…anything. This needs to be our mindset going forward. Less me and more we.

  3. Well done! I’m giving you a standing ovation here at my desk. This is a message that needs to be heard all over this country.

  4. You paint with a broad brushstroke, which paints a picture that is not exactly true. Generalizations rarely are…. there is a lot of good in society today. It is easy to long for “the good ole’ days”. But “the good ole days” are always seen through rose-colored glasses. The sixties and seventies might have been simpler times sans technology, but you had bad things back then, too. Racism, Vietnam, the Cold War, gas shortages, bad inflation, unemployment, poverty, etc. That said each individual should look within his/herself to see what good they can do for SOCIETY. Many, many friends/families generously donate time and money to charity. As I once said…all great change in America begins at the dinner table and the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

  5. Pingback: Don’t Know Much About History…. « uniqueweirdness

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