Thursday, February 28, 2008

I love this line

From Dave Winer at HuffPost:

There was a grand moment in last night's debate; they played a clip of Hillary Clinton's sarcastic speech about the light shining down, the heavens opening, angels singing, etc. The camera goes to Obama -- he's beaming. He says it sounds pretty good. And it does. America works when we work together. Being American is simple, but people like Bush and Rove and Cheney made it complicated. Americans get shit done, and Americans don't argue when their neighbor's house is on fire. We roll up our sleeves and we can do great things. For better or worse now we need to do some great things. We're lucky that now we have the leadership we need to get started.

I've had some interesting talks with people at church and work on this issue: why should I help people who were lead into predatory loans, or people who need health care, or - otherwise?

Because that's what we do as human beings. If I see someone getting mugged, I pull out my phone, call 9-1-1, and then go to help out. I might not give a dollar to every homeless guy I see - but I'll give some money to the Red Cross or other organizations so they can build a place for people to get back on their feet.

It really is that simple: we help other people because it's the right thing to do, and we'd expect them to do the same for us. We did it in the 30's. We did it in the 40's and won WWII against a great evil. We did it in the 60's and changed the face of what it was to be American from "white male" to "any human adult".

We just have to do the simple thing: decide to do it.


Matthew Gallant said...

I don't want to sound disrespectful (I really enjoy your blog) and I don't disagree entirely with your point, but I'm not sure that WW2 is the best example in this situation.

The US would not initially take up arms with its allies Britain and France against the threat of Hitler and Mussolini, even though we can argue in retrospect that this was the "right thing to do." It took Pearl Harbor and a real threat to America to mobilize the US against the Axis.

There are shades of grey in history, of course, but I don't think America's involvement in WW2 constitutes "helping people because it's the right thing to do."

John Hummel said...

@Matthew: I get your point - but at the same time, we could have just said "Eh - you can have the Pacific". After all, in WWII, for the Japanese they just wanted us out of the way so they could have Japan. In Germany, they just wanted us not to interfere so they could have Europe. We didn't *have* to get involved.

But at the same time, you're right - WWII is not as strong a position as the Depression and the Civil Rights movement or even the Civil War. But it came to my mind first.