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Morning Sun
  • OKIE IN EXILE: A leaf on the vine

  • I am where I am because of choices made by me, my parents, their parents, and all of those who came before them.  I am like one little leaf on a vine that has been growing up the side of a building: How high I am depends less upon what I’ve done than what others have done.

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  • I am where I am because of choices made by me, my parents, their parents, and all of those who came before them.  I am like one little leaf on a vine that has been growing up the side of a building: How high I am depends less upon what I’ve done than what others have done.
    And I don’t think that I am alone in this.  I think that none of us got here alone.  There are great people, though, don’t get me wrong.
    Isaac Newton said he could see farther because he stood on the shoulders of giants. (Actually, he wasn’t really that modest; he was a lot like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.)  What Newton said was true, but a child can see farther from a giant’s shoulder than can a louse.
    In this country, we live in the cult of the individual. We began our country giving lip service to E pluribus unum, out of many, one.  In honesty, we should’ve had someone look up the Latin for “It’s all about me.”  At least out here on the frontier, we’ve had a high value on letting people do as they pleased and letting them take the consequences or reap the rewards.
    But this goes against natural tendencies in the human animal. We are chimpanzees, after all; we are social creatures.  Social creatures take care of each other.  It is a tendency that varies in scope from individual to individual, but it is there.
    Finding the balance point between individuality and the group that is best, that is the question.  Another question might be, best for whom?
    There is no ledger proof going step-by-step for the answer on this.
    We’ve got to call upon our heritage, our culture, and the wisdom of our ancestors.
    Cain, we are told, killed Abel.  God came and asked Cain where Abel was.
    “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain asked.
    God’s answer was, and I paraphrase, “Brother’s keeper? You jerk, you killed him.”
    This short, little story has been discussed and meditated on literally for millennia, so I make no claim of originality to what I say today.
    Some have taken in as a description of the conflict between the hunter gatherers and the farmers.  This holds up on a certain level, and I won’t say that it’s wrong.  But at its heart it’s about jealousy, and I think it can be applied to class warfare.
    On one hand, it is easy to see how the lower classes might be jealous of the upper classes and rise up to kill them.  To me, that seems a fairly straight-forward reading.  On the other hand, as strange as it might seem, I’ve seen jealousy of the poor on the part of the rich.
    Page 2 of 2 - There was a bit of data out some time ago on the percentage of people in poverty who had cell phones, TVs, etc. A lot of people were outraged.
    I point this second part out because I’ve experienced it myself.  I’ve seen folks on government aid buy the name-brand, buy computers, buy flat screen TVs--and the list could go on, but I’d show you how petty I am--while my family has bought the generic and waited for a lot of this.  I am not sure whether this is self-righteousness or jealousy.
    I am guilty of both, but this feels a little more like jealousy.
    God’s answer this murder is fascinating.  He doesn’t kill Cain.  He lets him go. Why? Maybe because he loved him too.
    We are all brothers.  Poor, rich; white, black; killer and killed.
    However high we have climbed, maybe we’ve had help along the way.
    However low down we’ve been pushed, maybe we’ve done a little of that pushing ourselves.  Very few are pure either as saints or sinners.
    At the end of the day so much has happened, so much is wrong, that it’s not clear that anyone can do much.  I can only help myself and those closest to me.  It seems, though, that I’ve heard that before.
    Somebody said, Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
    Makes sense.  The rest of the world is going to do what it’s going to do anyway.
    Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University.  He blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com.

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