How is a society ultimately judged by history? One criteria is by the art left behind and how its most helpless, most insignificant members were treated. Think about the massive monuments created by the Egyptians and the stories of oppressive slavery. Or consider the Romans with their great architectural and engineering triumphs created in parallel with the persecution of Christians, Jews and other “barbarian” slaves.
How will we be remembered? As I write today, I am less concerned about our art and literature, however I am deeply concerned about how we so casually, rationally and systematically marginalize or even worse, ignore the weakest among us.
In 2009 America, the richest, most powerful, most free nation in the history of history, how many kids, no how many people go to bed hungry? How many people go to bed afraid of violence perpetrated inside the family and how many go to bed scared of the violence from without? How many live with not just the fear of getting sick but with the fear of not being able to get help?
Will we be remembered as a society that could have been more? That could been better but chose to turn a blind eye to mercy, empathy and caring for our own? A society that allowed the larger broader concepts of real justice and righteousness to be institutionally obfuscated until the issues could be lacquered over or just swept away with the election cycle rhetoric?
It is usually really hard to look inward and be honest. It is often painful and upsetting. And the thought of it may be foreign and scary. But looking inward with an unbiased eye is essential to grow and become better. To become something worth remembering. To create a society in which it is truly worth living.