I woke up to a very quiet home this morning and I found myself thinking about the Republican Party. Normally, I try to block them out because their belief system seems to dismiss everyone who either isn’t like them or they view as people beneath them. Now mind you, this is how it appears; to large populations of the country as well as the rest of the world. I wonder if they really believe that the ideology of conservatism will solve all of the nation’s problems. Do they not understand that in the course of all of the bickering, fighting and threats to shut down our government from a financial standpoint, we are being watched very closely by our allies; perhaps being regarded with more disdain than has been associated with our existence in the past three decades.
I actually conducted a search on why Republicans were such jerks? Admittedly, I substituted the word “jerks” with a different descriptive, but for the sake of this article; I believe that “jerks” would be apropos. The answer was that they didn’t believe in altruism. And what is altruism?
Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of “others” toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness.
I’ve always believed that everyone deserved the chance to succeed. I also believe that it is not my place to judge you or your circumstances since clearly, every one of us has a story.
I drive through Center City, Philadelphia on my way to work every morning; and as I exit off of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and prepare to merge onto the Vine Street Expressway, at any given time, I will see one or two homeless people. I don’t know what happened in their lives to cause them to be where they are, and at the end of the day, it really isn’t my place to judge. I began packing lunches for them, and when they approached my car for money, I hand them the package. Every single time, they are grateful if not amazed. I wondered if I was the only one who did this, and surprisingly enough, one day I saw a man in the car ahead of me do the exact same thing.
My faith in humanity was restored with just this simple gesture; something so small but yet means so much to someone that needs it. But this brings me back to the Republican Party. If I as one individual can give out of my pocket to someone else in need, why can’t those of you who clearly have abundance do the same?
It would be so easy to dismiss people who are in need as somehow deserving of their circumstances not realizing that in some way, shape or form, you helped create that circumstance. You cannot deprive a group of people of a decent education and then call them stupid because they were not afforded the same opportunities as you. You cannot blame people for wanting to have access to health coverage if you already have it. You can’t blame someone for wanting and striving to climb the corporate ladder when you haven’t known the struggle of that individual personally, and thus never experienced what it was like to have your way blocked before your date of hire.
It seems as if the ideology of conservatism isn’t about the betterment of this country, but about keeping things status quo.
CONSERVATISM [kənˈsɜːvəˌtɪzəm] n
1. Opposition to change and innovation
2. A political philosophy advocating the preservation of the best of the established order in society and opposing radical change
Or simply put, conservatism can be translated to mean that I am not as good as or entitled to the same rewards as those who share this belief system.
But as I think about the man who rode in the car in front of me and gave food to someone hungry, how much better would this country be if we all did something like that; if we all cared enough to watch our neighbors back? And finally, how would we look to the rest of the world if we took care of our own that are in need in addition to providing aid for the countries that need it? Would we seem less hypocritical?
The Republican Party has a long way to go when it comes down to sharing and compromising. And I am not just speaking of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Indeed, I may be speaking of something more simplistic. I’m talking about caring about people.
~ J.L. Whitehead