Before We Knew What Was Wrong
I’m part of a men’s book club. Of course, I’ve yet to attend one of the actual get togethers, but I’ve read the books so far. And I’ve yet to be disappointed. One time I had Boloco send over chips and guac, so that time I was at least there in spirit.
So far the books have been Leonardo Da Vinci (finished 3/4 of it, got stuck reading Ray Dalio’s Principles at the same time and it sucked me in), Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (5 out of 5), and then today I just finished Before We Were Yours. I want to focus on the latter two.
Both Killers of the Flower Moon and Before We Were Yours focus on the evil spirits that lurk inside human beings. They both take place between 80-100 years ago, so the reader gains solace in the fact that these atrocities took place 3-4 generations ago. Not our problem, not our fault, and of course we would never have been part of something so horrific.
And yet, had I attended either of the book club meetings, I would have asked where we, today, are blind to our own complicity in tragic situations occurring right before our eyes, to which we are completely blind. What are the scenes and situations that we tolerate, that we accept, that we hardly notice, that our kids and their kids and their kids will wonder in 50 or 80 years if their own ancestors stood by and didn’t do anything about what was so obviously wrong.
Is it the homeless people sleeping in boxes outside the Boston Public Library who I pass on Exeter Street every couple of weeks on my way back to the Courtyard Copley?
Is it the fact that I am an employer and while I have always “offered” health insurance to my employees, even at $15/hour they can’t afford to opt in to anything that’s worthwhile? Is it the fact that at nearly $15/hour average wage, which is considered, by a great margin, “best in industry”, we are still forcing people to live lives that we (the privileged, executive, business-owner types) ourselves would never tolerate?
Is it the food we are throwing away at home and in our work places all the while knowing that more than 2 billion people are starving somewhere in the world? Why aren’t we dropping what we are doing right this moment and doing something about it, en masse??
Why am I sitting here writing about this knowing that I’m not going to do more than I’m doing today, or at least not a lot more? It’s so easy to write about it, so many people do it. But what are we actually doing?
What will I do this week to actively take off the blinders that must be shielding my view, that slowly dominate each person’s view of the world… but which I don’t actually see. Did the families in Oklahoma really know what was going on? Did the families who adopted the kids from the Tennessee Children’s Homes know what they were contributing to? Even if they had tried, could they have seen at that time?
I think the income gap in the United States is going to look pretty freakin’ evil in 50 years’ time. I’ve been saying it for 20 years, and trying (I think) to do something about it. But have I? Will I? Can I put my business in jeopardy to do what I know is the right thing for others? Will it actually even matter if I do?