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 that as 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.