“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” Atifete Jahjaga
A few days ago, I had a remarkable dream. Several women were on a panel to give a young girl an award. The prize was three dolls. Three girls had been selected for the first, second, and third places, but only the girl who was in first place would receive the three dolls. One woman in the group suggested that instead of giving only one girl a prize, they should give each of the three girls a doll.
The other women weren’t so sure that was a good idea. Some were afraid that the first prize girl would be disappointed. They discussed the issue back and forth without really agreeing, so the person who had suggested it said, “Let’s try it and see what happens.” The rest reluctantly agreed.
They brought the first prize winner in and handing her the doll, the woman said, “We’ve decided to give the second doll to Mary. We hope you don’t mind.” The girl’s face brightened with a huge smile. “That’s wonderful,” she said, “then Mary and I can be friends and play with our dolls together!”
DREAMS CARRY SIGNIFICANT MESSAGES
I was rather dumbfounded as I quickly recorded the dream, especially since I rarely remember anything of my dreams these days, much less, the whole thing. But I was also amazed by how timely the message was. Isn’t this what so much of the political debate is about these days? Just how much are we going to share and help everyone, particularly those in the most need?
As a former teacher who retired several years ago, I made a very small salary compared to what men made; therefore, my social security and retirement are very small. And they have grown so little over the years compared to the growth of basic expenses like utilities that if I were not married, I could not even survive on my income. Many woman and some men are in a similar situation and share that same fear.
INEQUITY DOESN’T SUPPORT DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES
The inequity in all areas that has existed for many years has increased because of the continued movement in this country to support the top 1% at the expense of everyone else. Now we are dealing with Congress, many of whom depend on the wealthiest to run their campaigns, and a president who is worth billions (if what he says is true) who wants to cut any programs that help the middle and lower classes survive, much less flourish.
There is nothing wrong with making large amounts of money if it is not made at another’s expense, and people like Melinda and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett give generously to those in need. They believe in sharing their good fortune. But with the system the way it currently is set up, those making the most money don’t pay their fair share of taxes. I always thought that democracy was about sharing and being sure everyone has an equal chance to succeed.
Now we are faced with a president who has lied repeatedly, ran a university that was a scam, and failed to pay people who worked for him what he had promised to pay them. Now he is planning to destroy many programs that help the very people he swore to help. His often outrageous comments are meant to deflect attention away from unpleasant truths about himself and lead his followers down a false path. He is a master manipulator.
Our president is not a role model any of us need. We have to be our own role models and to share in every way that we can in our own lives. We also need to observe what our representatives and senators support. Are they supporting the middle and lower classes which are the bedrock of a democracy? Are they standing up for truth? Do they believe our democracy should be based on sharing? Many clearly are not.
SHARING MEANS HELPING
Not everyone has an equal chance in life, but many of the programs Trump wants to cut are there to help those who are not born into privilege. They help provide education for those whose jobs have been eliminated by the move from industry to technology. They provide food for children that come from homes where the parents do not have the means to feed them properly. They provide school systems with the teachers who can meet the needs of those with various disabilities. They provide arts programs that help develop young brains in beneficial ways.
These needs are not theoretical to me. They are very real. I have taught in private schools and some of the poorest areas in this country, including inner city New Orleans, where 99% of my students were African-American, and a school serving Hispanic and Native-American students in New Mexico. I have had students who did not get enough to eat, who were afraid of being killed by gangs, who had parents who were addicts or who worked two jobs and were rarely at home except to sleep. I always believed they deserved the guidance to create a better life for themselves.
When I was very young, we only had the necessities, no frills, but I was loved. Growing up, I was taught to share what I had even when it wasn’t very much because there was always someone who had less. But we now live in a society where we base our worth on the things we have and enact laws that support only those who are making millions.
What I love most about my dream is the delight the prize winner feels when she can share her good fortune. She doesn’t need three dolls. She’d rather have a friend. I believe that is what democracy is about—connecting with others, sharing what we have so we all have enough.
What can you share today?
© 2017 Georganne Spruce