For the first time ever, I’ve watched every night of a political convention and not just the last hour, but the last 3+ hours. I didn’t intend to do that, it just sort of happened. I have a lot of thoughts with regard to the convention and the candidates and over the next 100 days I think I will share them here for reasons I’ll explain later but there was one line from a speech last night that keeps ringing with me so I’m going to jot some thoughts now.
Chelsea Clinton said:
“And they taught me to care about what happens in our world and to do whatever I could to change what frustrated me, what felt wrong. They taught me that’s the responsibility that comes with being smiled on by fate.”
I think there’s something we, all of us, often forget. Ann Richards, the Governor of Texas alluded to this too when she used Barry Switzer’s line in relation to George Bush:
Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.
I think by being born in the USA, all of us, well in life, we’re already on base. Maybe first, maybe second, for a lucky few third and even fewer, well, they really don’t even have to get to base to score a run. But just take 30 seconds to think about who you would be and how your life would be if you were born in say, Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh or Africa? Imagine if you’re home was in the crossfire of a civil war? Imagine if disease or famine ran rampant through your country? I’m not being boastful about the USA, it’s just a fact. When it comes to things like access to a decent education, food, healthcare and security – we’re ahead here not behind the eight ball.
By just being born in the USA, through no hard work of our own, through no deserved merit of our own, we’re already blessed, we’ve already been smiled on by fate.
Then think about where you were born in the USA. Were you able to walk to school through a safe neighborhood? One with green lawns and smooth sidewalks? Did you get a full breakfast each morning before school? Did you get to pack a nice lunch or buy one easily at school? When you were sick, did you get to go to a doctor? What did you, personally, do to deserve any of that?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to complain about my first world problems, but now I’m thinking about this too. I’ve been smiled on by fate in many ways and many times, not the least of which by just being born in this country. What is my responsibility because of that? What’s our responsibility because of that? And do we want people representing us in government who acknowledge that responsibility or who don’t think they have any responsibility to or for others?