Independence is an illusion. We’re supposed to be raising our children to be independent. We think that being independent is a good trait. And it is, but it only works as long as we understand that nobody – no-bo-dy – is ever truly independent in this country or in most of the world.
We need our education, to learn how to work, to dress ourselves, to clean up, to fix things, but the education comes from the community. Jobs come from our need to have others work together, to make things or to help people, and to share the fruits of those labors. We buy clothes or we make them from materials we buy. We have things to make our lives easier, but sometimes they break. In that case, we fix them or we pay someone else to fix them. Nowadays we exchange currency or trade work for the things we need. We all depend on each other no matter how we try to tell ourselves we’re independent and don’t need anyone else. We simply cannot do/make everything we need.
I laughed out loud when the Republicans went on and on with their “We Built It” bullshit back in 2012. Straight-faced people who were educated in public schools and by funds from Social Security or who used food stamps in hard times claim they never had help, that they did everything on their own. People who had driven to that event on roads built by us, using cars they bought from other people, paid for with funds from their jobs or from taxpayers, stood up in a rented space, on a stage built by others, in front of a sign someone else made, using sound equipment that wasn’t theirs, and proudly proclaimed they didn’t need anyone else. From education, to roads, to insurance pools for health/car/life/unemployment, to police and fire departments, to military protection, to Social Security and Medicare, we pool resources that make it possible to build things and have services that are shared by everyone, things we couldn’t have alone. We are dependent. All of us.
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Ghandi
We need each other. It’s time to stop pretending that’s a bad thing; accept that it’s truth and understand what we should be getting for paying our taxes and what our responsibilities are to each other as a member of society. It is my responsibility to obey laws, to pay my bills and my taxes, to keep myself and my things insured, to clean up my messes, to help people out when I can. When I have enough I share more of what I have with those who do not. In return I and everyone else should receive access to roads, protection, health care, education, retirement, etc. Everyone gets access. Period. Everyone who can contributes. Period.
Once we truly understand that nobody here is independent, then we can begin to recognize and embrace our place in American society. This “We Built It” attitude can work but only as long as we understand and remember we ALL built it; it belongs to EVERYONE. Everyone receives the benefits of living in this society, even those who can’t give as much as others. Those who forget their role, who take what they have received for granted and shirk their responsibilities, who try to weasel their way out of doing their part due to greed or laziness, are not to be respected. Those who sow hate and division aren’t to be encouraged; they aren’t building. They are demolishing. That’s not how this country was built, and it’s not how it grows. Find and support those who understand responsibility and cooperation. Encourage those who are building for everyone’s future so that you can be proud of your part in what we build together.
Be careful what you build. E pluribus unum.
Thank you for your time! If you know who to credit for the cartoon at the top of the page, please let me know. The signature was cut off in the file I got, and I’ve not had luck searching in Google. The black and white comic with the similar theme is by John Darkow of PoliticalCartoons.com/caglecartoons.com for Columbia Daily Tribune.
Link: “A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America” – by Ed Pilkington at The Guardian
#TheyBuiltThis #IndependenceIllusion #Society #Responsibility