Bird Droppings January 17, 2011
Caregiving and cared for we need both
“To care and be cared for are fundamental human needs. We all need to be cared for by other human beings. In infancy, illness, or old age, the need is urgent and pervasive; we need caregiving, and we need the special attitude of caring that accompanies the best caregiving if we are to survive and remain whole.” Nel Noddings
Here on a day dedicated to a man who cared pondering the true aspects of caring and the impacts on the human condition. Dr. Nel Noddings discusses how we need to care and we also need to be cared for, both sides of the coin. It is not an either or situation. On the news this morning volunteers prepared a meal for twenty thousand homeless and working poor in Atlanta in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Hosea Williams who started a feed the hungry program in our major city. In that same news cycle two news commentators had been criticized for making violent comments in regards to other people. One made reference to shooting the founder of Wiki leaks in the head and the other in a panel discussion addressed reinvading Iraq for oil to keep the prices down.
Caring is not seeking war for oil especially so major oil companies can further profit. It is true the countries where the oil is located do reap fortunes from the pumping of oil but outside of Venezuela most oil is pumped, shipped, piped and processed by a select few large oil companies who have continually made significant profits while all other industries are losing money. Interesting as well is Iraq’s oil is now being pumped by mostly US companies who are making money. Another aspect left by the wayside when we pick on a country about oil prices is Wall Street where oil is a commodity traded and US investors are driving the price up or down depending on their profitability not our needs. Most oil is owned by investors not countries. Why do we not invade Wall Street and the stick exchange and stop auctioning commodities and dealing in the so often bogus paper of the stick market? This is not about caring other than for ones self.
I am amused on this day as I recall my father, a former Navy man, a die hard republican and he always voted straight republican on his ballot, telling me this was one of the greatest speeches he had ever heard. My father made his living with his booming voice and had addressed audiences across the globe. He had sat and listened too many of the greatest speakers of the twentieth century in various capacities. My father had lectured and had his message translated in nine or ten languages in nearly forty different countries. I kind of felt for him to say this very liberal southern pastor and black man had just delivered the most powerful speech of modern day was very significant. But I also always knew my father was a caring man about his family, friends, his life’s work, and all those he dealt with around the world.
I was only in eighth grade or so when Dr. King delivered his now famous speech at the Lincoln memorial in 1963. Now we honor the man with a holiday. Many will protest and have arguments that this day should not be a national holiday. I am not one of those. As I read the words and listen to the message in this powerful speech, it is not about racism it is about humanity it is about caring. In the past presidential campaigning Dr. King had been both talked about and commented on. Barrack Obama on a Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, after being lectured by the Pastor that many other great men had spoken at this pulpit had these words to say.
“If Dr. King could love his jailor, if he could call the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time,” Barrack Obama, January 20, 2008, Ebenezer Baptist Church
I watch daily high school kids who still hold racism deep in their hearts. I read passages on student’s websites that talk of hatred and misunderstanding. I Have been in meetings with parents where comments such as “they work too hard and I cannot get a job” in regards to Hispanic construction workers. Racism is still in our society and in our communities. How do we as human beings on a day dedicated to a man who in his lifetime tried to end racism, approach and channel such bigotry and hatred. I wonder as I sit here with school starting back tomorrow after a month off due to holidays, snow and ice how we have come far yet still have so far to go.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Washington DC, August 23, 1963
Oh what a day it will be when we are judged by our character and not skin color. I have a dream as well borrowing from Dr. Noddings again, “we need the special attitude of caring that accompanies the best caregiving if we are to survive and remain whole” and as I sit and ponder please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.