Monday, March 14, 2011

Do Unto Others

I have a few nontraditional students in my freshman composition class this semester. One is a young man who served in Iraq. Another is an older woman who is Japanese. Her spoken and written English is quite good, though, so I suspect she's lived in the States for some time. Today I asked her if she has family in Japan, and of course she does. I wished her and them well and expressed sympathy for the series of disasters, both natural and man-made, that country is undergoing right now.

And it reminded me of something that happened on Facebook last night. A guy who is a fellow gamer in Castle Age posted a status that surprised me. He expressed indignation that Japan, as he put it, is "demanding" assistance from us in the wake of the disasters. He then went on a rant: what did Japan do for us after 9-11? After Hurricane Katrina? What about kids starving here in the US because their dads lost jobs when our car manufacturers went out of business because everybody was buying Japanese-made cars instead?

Well, I wasn't going to facejack his thread by suggesting it's not the fault of the Japanese if Americans decided to buy Japanese cars instead of American made cars. Maybe he should be considering the buyers of the cars and directing his anger at them. But I did feel the need to calmly state the following: "Actually, Japan was one of the first nations to offer assistance after both 9-11 and Katrina."

That's all I said. I was expecting him to ask me to post a source for this info (which I then would have gladly done), but that's not what he did. He simply unfriended me.

I was surprised. I mean, mine weren't exactly fighting words. I can only surmise that he didn't care for someone questioning his assumptions. No big deal-- he's not in my Guild or anything, so I doubt either of us will miss the other. Still, I found myself marveling.

For me, whether or not Japan has ever offered assistance to us is an entirely irrelevant issue. They had a huge earthquake, followed by a devastating tsunami. So far at least 10,000 are dead. Yesterday a volcano started erupting. On top of this, there have been a couple of explosions at nuclear reactors and one at the moment is in dire danger of melting down completely. America doesn't turn its head and say "too bad for you" at this. We do what we have always done. We pitch in and do what we can to help them out. We do this because we are basically a well-intentioned people concerned about our fellow human beings. We do this because it is, frankly, the RIGHT THING TO DO.

And then I felt a little sad for this guy on Facebook. I don't think I'd like to have to live, feeling bitter and angry and doing for others only if I felt like they'd done something for me. I know America is in the middle of a class war right now. I know most of us, me included, are feeling the pinch (and many a vise). I know I do my share of political posts on Facebook (though I try to not rant, and to my pleasant surprise, many times we wind up having some pretty enlightening discussions). But sometimes you just set all this stuff aside for the moment and do what has to be done.

Put it aside. Return to it later. Right now, just do what needs to be done.

It's called the Golden Rule.


Lindalouise said...

I thought this was very nice, good job.

Joyce said...

Hi Linda, long time no see. How have you been? Excited about Queen Z's baby Z? ;-)

Lindalouise said...

Hi Joyce, I have been really busy but doing well. Oh yes, I am thrilled for Zenny. Did you see the pictures just posted? Love the frozen whiskers!

Joyce said...

I did see that! Looks like she ate a powdered donut, LOL