‘You’re Not Supposed to Support the Strike’

Look, I see where Miller’s going with this:

My friend, a widely known pundit, wanted to tell me that he didn’t believe the poll, which was conducted by We Ask America.

After some back and forth about what the pollster could’ve or should’ve asked, I finally told him thatas an older, white person with no kids in the public school system, he’s not supposed to support the strike.

The poll, taken after three full days of no school, found that a 52 percent majority of whites disapprove of the strike. Whites were the only ethnic group that expressed a majority disapproval of the strike.

African Americans approved 63-32 and Latino support was even higher at 65-32.

A majority of parents with kids in private schools opposed the strike, 52 percent to 43 percent, while parents with public school kids approved of the strike 66-31.

In other words, I don’t have kids in the system, so what difference does it make to me?

I realize not everything has to be about complete selflessness, so let’s make the argument from self-interest here. If my neighbors are poor and desperate and uneducated, I’m not safe, because poor and desperate and uneducated people do stupid shit and eventually that stupid shit lands on my doorstep.

Yes, no matter how far out of the city I move. Yes, no matter how many alarm systems I install. Yes, no matter which private school I send my kids to. Yes, no matter how disgustedly I harrumph at the nightly newscast and how much I mutter under my breath and those people and what you can expect. Eventually it lands on my doorstep and I’d better not dare say if only we could have prevented.

We live in a society. We live in a community, no matter how small or great the distance between our homes. What happens to you can happen to me. What I can do to you, you can do to me. And it is imperative upon us all to recognize that we are not making ourselves better when we give ourselves a pass to not give a shit about education if we don’t have kids, or poverty if we’re not poor, or health care if we’re not sick, or work if we’re retired, or retirement if we’re young. We can’t lop off parts of ourselves and then wonder why we’re not whole.

That’s not charity. It’s not even morality. It’s how we survive. We do better when we all do better, because we’re going to be every age sometime, and have every problem eventually, and our only hope is that we take care of each other, and quit deciding we don’t have to be responsible for what no longer matches our reflection in the mirror.

A.

4 thoughts on “‘You’re Not Supposed to Support the Strike’

  1. Hobbes says:

    we are not making ourselves better when we give ourselves a pass to not give a shit about education if we don’t have kids, or poverty if we’re not poor, or health care if we’re not sick, or work if we’re retired, or retirement if we’re young.
    Or LGBT rights if we’re straight – I have a friend who was phonebanking for the gay marriage referendum in Minnesota and stopped because he felt like because he wasn’t gay and didn’t have any close gay friends he just didn’t have any obligation to be vocally supportive of same-sex marriage rights. I had no idea how to respond when he told me that.

  2. Dorothy says:

    And then there’s “I benefitted from this system when I was/had a kid, so I should support this system now, because that’s part of the social contract. Society gives me stuff, and I support society in return.”
    To me, that kind of attitude is like saying “I don’t want my tax dollars to pay for street lights in someone else’s neighborhood, even though their tax dollars paid for street lights in mine.” I.e., “selfish asshole”.

  3. dr2chase says:

    Because it’s nice to live in a society that doesn’t suck, that’s why, and it’s the sum of all its parts, not just your own personal favorite parts.

  4. MapleStreet says:

    Like you said, I could come up with all sorts of high-sounding arguments on why I am being magnanimous (?sic) by paying my taxes, including taxes for schools. They would make me feel better and also put myself in a high-falooting light.
    But bottom lines are that I benefit from the people around me being educated, right down to: If I’m gonna yell USA!USA!USA! it sure helps if the USA doesn’t suck.

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