(this blog will be easy to misinterpret, so read carefully, and leave any comments for questions. It’s a developing idea in process!)
I wonder, in our nation where we try to value the rights of individual persons, if we’ve accidentally become offended by the idea of giving up our own rights when it is better for the whole.
A few things got me thinking about it though.
I drank from from a water fountain today that was way up in a top floor where like one person walks every ten minutes. But it had one high fountain, and also a low fountain for the physically handicapped. Both were very, very nice and probably a thousand dollars each. And I think that is great, if people can afford that. The 1%* who are in wheel chairs can now go here!
And when I pull into a parking lot and all the spots are taken except for the handicapped spot. I think that’s okay because we are reflecting God’s heart to put our own convenience aside to help the oppressed.
We also go back into war zones for that one POW warrior, risking many more lives in the process. We put our resources to that one child left behind. We put tons of money into long term housing for a convicted killer to make sure new evidence doesn’t prove him innocent before he is executed. That stuff is beautiful and worth writing books about (The movie The Martian is about spending billions of dollars and risking 4 extra lives to save one man).
But I see how much money and risk and time is spent disproportionately making these things a reality, and it gets me thinking. What buildings are never built because the cost to put handicapped facilities was too high? How many kids got a sub-par education because the teacher had to cater to the one student struggling? How many warriors have died in attempts to rescue one POW? There are a lot of great things about making certain the less gifted are less inconvenienced, and I don’t think it should necessarily be changed, but I think maybe the disproportionate times also reflect a psychology that has quietly slipped into our culture over hundreds of years. I wonder if its an indicator that we have gotten in the habit of assuming that the comfort of the individual (ours and therefore that of others) is more important than the benefit of the whole.
We each try to make sure that each of us has what we need, instead of trying to find what’s best for the most number of people. We have adopted an individualistic mentality, instead of a community one.
So what’s the application of this? Maybe next time you and I find ourselves gulping water from the tall water fountain, looking over at the shiny shorter one, or when we spread out into a handicapped toilet stall, we can remember to ask ourselves, what ways am I demanding my culture to cater to me? And in what ways can I sacrifice, and give to my community instead.
Raw Spoon, 11-24-15