House Buddies

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out why folks seem to have a problem caring (i.e., paying) for the welfare of other people. As in health care. As in water quality. As in clean air. As in education and housing and transportation taking people to work, to school, to grocery stores and back home again.

I get why they want these things for themselves. We all want these things for ourselves. The problem comes when folks start thinking of our welfare as a good, and the welfare of others as, well, Welfare.

Here’s the thing. In a globalized world, we're all house buddies now. The only way this is going to work out is if we take care of each other.

Who wants to live in a world crowded with unhealthy, uneducated, homeless people? Doesn’t it make you happy to hear that someone got a job, has that diabetes under control? Don’t you watch House Hunters? Yeah, you make fun of some of those folks – so do I. But don’t you hope they’re happy? Don’t you hope it all worked out for them? Don’t you hope they’re raising healthy, educated children who will make your world more interesting just because they’re there? Maybe they’ll come to work for you, or have a job for you, or write a novel you like, or build a bridge somewhere. And if they don’t do those things for you, maybe they’ll do them for someone else. Ripples don’t trickle down, they trickle out.

Don’t you realize that your own health care is being paid for by other people’s premiums and that you help pay for theirs in return? Don’t you realize that it’s everybody paying into the system that provides you with clean water and air and education and parks and fire service and police? And that’s why, when they fall down on the job, you and everybody else gets together and lets them know about it?

Furthermore, all those other people, whose well-being you don’t want to pay for? They’d help pay for yours, if they were also healthy, educated, housed, employed.

I’m sure you, we, and they know that we really are all in this together. And that your well-being is my well-being is their well-being and vice versa.

Donald Trump responded to pictures of dead children with missiles. I’d rather respond with hot soup and fresh bread and clean water for the children who still live. They are the ones who will share our world with our children, whether they live across town or across the globe. We all live in the same house. We should take care of the people who live here.