Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nisi Nobis Tunc Quibis

“If not us, then by whom.”

It’s similar to Mom’s response to a difficult, sometimes distasteful task: “Somebody has to do it.”

It’s the opposite of what you so often hear: “That’s not my problem.”

I don’t think that works. We are far too interconnected to simply blow off something, or somebody, because we don’t see it as our job or our problem. When we isolate ourselves like that, cutting us off from other people, we violate the social aspect of our humanity, the thing that has made us advance as a civilization.

We didn’t get where we are because we closed the curtains and said, “It’s not my problem.” Even competing news organizations will share the wealth, so to speak, and if one of our local tv stations is late on the scene, another will give it some videotape of the event for its nightly news. My turn today, your turn tomorrow.

Even if it’s something as mundane as a car on the side of the road, with its driver hailing anyone going by, the fact that we occupy this planet together is enough to have us say, “If not me, then by whom?” Ok, we can’t always stop and help, but so many of us have cell phones these days and can call for help. Even the Duff-Gordons of yesterday’s blog, in a lifeboat of their own, hoped that some ship would say, “If not us, then by whom?”