Am I My Brother’s Keeper

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(Am I My Brother’s Keeper)

Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto

After the “greatest generation” endured and then ended the depression with their hard work and dedication to their communities, they then fought for their country with great personal sacrifice. After defeating Germany and Japan, they eagerly rebuilt these countries.

Then came the “me” generation. “Me” first. What about me? Along with this perception came emotional depression, general dissatisfaction, a tendency to blame others, anyone, rather than accept responsibility for anything. When I hear the words “not me” today, I think about someone trying to avoid responsibility. When I heard those words sixty years ago, I thought of someone putting others first, how times have changed. Today’s politicians vote themselves huge raises and pensions, take campaign money from anyone, saying anything just to get elected. Too many athletes take steroids to gain an advantage; they complain about every official’s call against them. The “What’s in it for me?” is epidemic.

There are, of course, wonderful exceptions to the “me first” disease. A few years ago, there was a story about an unemployed man who turned in a duffle bag he found with $150,000 inside. One of my favorites is about the Central Washington girl’s softball team that carried an opponent around the bases after getting injured while trying to run the bases after hitting a home run. These stories of kindness and compassion make the news because unfortunately, they are an exception and not the rule. I remember a time when these kinds of actions were expected, just a normal part of being a good neighbor, of serving your community. What happened to kindness? What happened to caring about others? The “me” generation has never understood that happiness comes with giving, not with getting. I am feeling a little encouraged today that so many people are showing kindness and compassion by wearing masks in public.

We won’t change the world in a day but we can do our part in trying to get back to the ideas of caring of shared sacrifice. Start by doing at least one random act of kindness each day. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line at the convenience store, pay for the car behind you at a toll booth, at a 4 way stop, wave the other car thru before taking your turn, put the phrase “Mia Culpa” back into your vocabulary, show genuine interest in the trials and tribulations of a friend or acquaintance, cast your vote this fall not on how it will affect you personally but on what is good for everyone. Let’s try to make the coming generation the “not me first” generation. Imagine a world where everyone answered “Yes” to the question “Am I my brother’s keeper.”

-Dick Gale

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