or to paraphrase one of my favorite musicians: Why Do I Care About Anything?
When I see comments on Facebook, or hear in real life, people of one minority or another (including women, even though in numbers they are the majority) talk about how they need to stand against the bigoted creeps who oppose equality for “fill-in-the-blank”, I wanna say, it aint about you!
We all should stand for gay rights, a woman’s right to control her body, equality in access to education, job opportunity and housing for people of color, we all should care about the state of our public schools, even if our children are grown, in private school or don’t exist. We should all fight for the most open borders we can reasonably maintain. We should all make sure no child goes to bed hungry or poorly fed, that no one is homeless because of lack of good mental health care, that no one dies due to gun violence, that no one suffers or dies due to lack of access to medical care, that the air and land and water as clean as they can be!
I understand the idea that member of a minority group might feel a special responsibility to work for justice related to their category, and might be especially frustrated with those in that group who care more about fashion, which celebrity is having sex with which other celebrity or whatever, but even those of us who fall loosely into the category of Christian middleclass white males (though the Christian part is ethnic and cultural, not a matter of faith for me) have a duty to make sure no one is left behind by our great society (by the way, we are failing miserably at this). Not only because it is the right thing to do, and generally makes our country, and our world a better place to encourage a richness of diversity, not only because it helps ensure the viability of our nation, over time, of our shared cultural values, but because it might mean the very survival of ourselves, our extended family, or even the preservation of the republic.
How is that you say?
Think for a minute about every great moment in both the history of man and of our nation. There tends to be one person who figures out how to do something amazing, blood transfusion, harnessing radioactive material, open heart surgery, creates a vaccine for polio, harnessing electricity, creating a modern economical form of personal transportation for the masses, the personal computer, writing a great song or book or play that inspires a generation.
Of course in many of the more complex and important events required a team or many teams of talented individuals, often working with funding from taxpayers, but somewhere, sometimes at several points along the chain of events that allows us to live better, or in some cases, allows to live at all, one person makes a difference, one person connects the chain of what came before with what comes next to make the world a better, a safer place, for all.
If I fight to save the position of dominance the white male middleclass, and in the process, some girl doesn’t become a scientist, some Mexican kid never gets to come across the border and go to college because of his status, if a gay person is not employed at a business where he would have made a difference for all of us, and so on, who suffers? The individual who is denied, of course, but in the course of the life of the universe, that is a sad but small thing. There are many small sad events every day, but this lack of access, this lack of opportunity might someday cost me or my lily white family its very existence, because the one person who could have saved us the gun violence, the fatal disease, the death by climate change, or whatever, the great mind, the beautiful dreamer who would turn a dream into a vision of a better future and then led the way to that future was denied the opportunity to be in the position in that chain of events because they weren’t the “right kind of person.”
So, next time you think, well, it’s a black thing, it’s a gay agenda, it’s just a_____________ thing, remember, the tag line from the silly old TV show had it right: Save the cheerleader save the world! That is to say it’s a human thing, and your existence and the existence of the whole human race may hinge on that dirty faced little lesbian Mexican girl who is going to die or be murdered because she wasn’t important enough to save, and with her we all perish.