Do we want the Seventh Generation to enjoy peace and justice, the beloved community, clean water and air?

To the Editor:

Is “The Common Good” just a naïve, old fashioned concept, displaced by insatiable selfishness, me-me-me tantrums and assumption of privilege?

Oren Lyons, Onondaga Wisdom Keeper, has said we need a “Bill of Responsibilities.” I agree. A Bill of Responsibilities would help balance abuse of The Bill of Rights, which has been co-opted by a good many irresponsible people who think those rights belong only to them.

If I had a say, many of the responsibilities would relate to the common good and to the principle of The Seventh Generation, which obligates people to consider how their decisions affect the ones who come here long after we’re gone. The antithesis of the common good is expressed by Alanis Obomsawin, Abenaki from the Odanak Reserve, Canada, like this:

Canada, the most affluent of countries, operates on a depletion economy which leaves destruction in its wake. Your people are driven by a terrible sense of deficiency. When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.

The same is true for the United States. Our exploitive, self-centered arrogance seems to have no bounds.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Senator John McCain lately. He died two years ago this past week. How I wish he were still alive; how he was a decent man of great integrity, courage, and grit; how he stopped in the middle of an event when he was running for president to correct a woman who believed lies about President Barack Obama. Of course, the truth didn’t change her mind.

McCain earned my respect. There is no way I can conceive of him going along with the current rhetoric, Pollyanna one moment and apocalyptic the next, pumped out with relentless frequency by a man who mocked McCain’s sacrifice for our country, but never served himself — a man who thinks it’s OK to criticize a POW for being captured, even though his own daddy bought his way out of war, a man who cozied up in his fancy New York City digs while McCain was brutalized.

A few weeks ago, a friend who is an operating-room nurse, was leaving the hospital after a 10-hour day. As he was peeling off his surgical mask, a man sneered at him: “You’re all sheep.”

If McCain were there, he surely would have said something.

I won’t repeat my friend’s reply. It was that gutless wonder who was the sheep, blindly following ignorance into its hell-hole, denying reality and denigrating a person who is dedicated to caring for the sick, injured, and dying, a person who puts responsibility to the common good into action every day.

The utter lack of consideration for health-care workers among this bleating herd is appalling. So is their willingness to put other people at risk. At the moment I’m writing this, Johns Hopkins University reports nearly 6 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19, 182,779 people have died, 1,042 more since yesterday.

What about them? What about their families, friends, patients, students, teachers, customers, parishioners? What about all who loved them? What about the many more who continue to get sick and die?

Health-care workers know the truth of it. I can’t imagine what they feel when they leave more corpses behind at the end of their shift, after they leave more families sobbing, as they finally let themselves sob when they get beyond the hospital, all the sights and smells and sounds and anguish still clinging and continuing behind them.

Maybe they sit for a while in their cars, exhausted, unsure about even going home because they’re afraid of passing the disease to those they love.

Of course, belief is a powerful thing, but just because you believe something, doesn’t mean it’s true. The messaging around this disease has been funneled into political propaganda rather than into information and actions that actually help people survive.

This makes it easier for people to delude themselves into thinking things are better than they are. Or maybe they think that only the old and weak and Black and Democratic will die, secretly or openly shouting, “Hooray for COVID!”

Maybe you don’t think COVID-19 is real. Maybe you don’t see it yourself, so you think it doesn’t exist, and you don’t believe these health-care workers, who will do their best to help even your sorry ass if you show up at their door.

This is a lesson 2-year-olds learn when they play hide and seek: that things don’t disappear just because you can’t see them. Do you believe in air? Maybe not. Maybe you think air is a hoax, too, because you can’t see it. Maybe that’s the next big lie you’ll fall for.

Sheep? Sheep aplenty. Sheep who think because they rail on about rights they’re liberated from folly. Far from it. Blind to it, really. Cultivating destruction in dim, incestuous circles of superstitious self-deceit.

Believing Democrats ritually sacrifice children and drink their blood. Straight out of Hitler’s Handbook. That’s exactly what he believed about Jews. Maybe you don’t believe the Holocaust happened either. Maybe you believe all those skeletal bodies were photo-shopped.

Meanwhile, at local Black Lives Matter protests, you might suggest associations where none exist, priming people to grow bigotry and hatred instead of community and peace.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

I hope he was right. Do we want the Seventh Generation to enjoy peace and justice, the beloved community, clean water and air? It’ll take individuals of courage and integrity, à la John McCain, to tend to that future legacy. Now. 

Dianne Sefcik


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