To Care and to Carry

07 May 2012

Judy Patrick for the Huffington Post:

What if we publicly challenged the notion, rooted so deep in this fiercely individual culture, that we are not each others’ keepers? What if we believed, and acted as if, we have a responsibility for one another and that together we must work to leave a healthy state for our children and our neighbors’ children?

Can we admit that this system, whatever we are calling it, is broken? How many people have to starve before we declare capitalism to be an inappropriate method of organizing human beings? How many have to die because of a lack of medicine or shelter or care?

None of us were built to be Atlas, bearing the world upon our backs utterly alone, but it might be possible that we were not even built to carry our own weight alone. Life makes weary our bones and there comes a time when we must rest. This we all know, even if we would rather not admit that age will make us weaker. Why is it so difficult to make this jump from elderly care to poverty?

We are not perfect. At times, we lean upon those who care for us and let them carry some of our weight. This is not a measure of our individual weakness; it is a measure of our combined strength, of our ability to come together and be something much greater than the sum of our parts. That is what a society is, that is what a nation should be: to care for each other enough to carry each other.