With all the recent news about gun violence, the recent separation vote in Britain and the actions of certain presidential candidates, the “me first” attitude seems right up in our faces.
This is less about people banding together “for the greater good,” and more about a “what’s in it for me” perspective—a stance that is quite evident in recent events. We see this time and again on an individual basis, and now it can be seen on a national one. Just watch the world around us, our neighbors, communities and now our leaders.
The “them against us” attitude that seems to be alive and thriving in Western political climates of late is heartbreaking.
To me, the message is loud and clear: As long as our own individual needs and desires are met, who gives a f*ck about our neighbors? It’s not our fault that they don’t have enough. Why should we be worried about them?
It’s not fair. He has more ice cream
It’s not fair. She is wearing better jeans.
It’s not fair. They have a bigger house.
It’s not fair. They have more land.
It’s not fair. They have a better way of life.
So we teach each other to fight for a bigger piece of the pie: take what you want, don’t give freely. Protect your knowledge, or they might use it to their own advantage.
We compete on all levels to let others know we are indeed better than them. We spend money on elite programs for our kids so they have an advantage over others in sports, on clothes and in their education.
We go into debt to have bigger homes, nicer cars, and better vacations so that if we don’t quite measure up to some imaginary standard, at least we can give the illusion that we are better off than the next guy.
Some of us are more determined than others in the quest for more.
We go to war over land and over our beliefs because we think that our way of thinking is the only way to think—we are right, dammit, and we are willing to kill others to prove it.
Sometimes I find myself thinking: please just stop this spinning cesspool of greed and self-righteousness and let me off. I do not want to be a part of this fight any longer, only to end up with the most toys or a bigger piece of the pie because this is not the case for everyone.
It’s not fair that many around the world are not getting their basic human rights met.
I can’t just stop the world and step off—but I can’t keep watching the human race self-destruct either. I am but one small person, but I know that this is just not right.
Still, I hear a tiny sound—a noise in the background. It is barely more than a whisper.
It is so quiet that many can’t hear it over the roar of greed.
But it is there. Listen closely and you will hear what I am referring to.
Take your eyes off what you perceive as the prize and you will see it as well.
This quietness that I speak of is love, and it is getting louder each day.
Love for our fellow human beings. Love for those around us and with that love comes respect. Respect that we all deserve to have our basic human needs met. There are those that have already been hard at work ensuring this happens but I see it gaining momentum. As the ugly side of people seems to be getting louder and more noticeable, this quiet side does as well. More and more people are looking around them and saying the exact same thing I am. They are saying enough is enough.
It doesn’t matter what color your skin is.
It doesn’t matter what higher power you believe in.
It doesn’t matter what part of this earth you live on.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are.
Every single human being on this planet deserves to have these needs met. Some might think the opposite, claiming that they deserve it more because those others didn’t work hard enough, or that they don’t have the same beliefs.
But every human deserves to have our basic human needs met:
- Physical needs like clothing to cover our bodies and protect us from the sun and rain, shelter from whatever elements our part of earth hurls at us, clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink.
- Security in our personal lives, in the financial matters of the world and in knowing that our health and well-being are safe.
- Love and belonging that allow us to connect with friends and family.
- Esteem in ourselves that answers a desire to be accepted and valued by others around us.
- Self-actualization that affords us the capacity accomplish personal goals—no matter how different they are from others—and an understanding that they are worthy of achieving.
In our determination to ensure that our own basic needs are met, we have forgotten that the guy beside us is also entitled to this.
As I watch the world around me fight and squabble and kill each other, my heart breaks. It breaks because I don’t know what the answer is to ensure that everyone, everywhere gets what they deserve, respect.
What I do know is that how we seem to be going about it is not working.
Maybe we all need to just step back for a moment, take a deep breath and realize we are all in this together. We are all human beings on this one spinning planet we call earth that is own home. And maybe in stepping back more than just a few will hear this love and respect calling to ensure that everyone is afforded that their needs are being met.
Maybe the Beatles were right, and all we really do need is love.
Author: Debbi Serafinchon
Editors: Renée Picard; Emily Bartran