As John Donne famously wrote some 400 years ago, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”
Everyone relies on everyone else in some fashion, and everyone owes it to everyone else to offer a helping hand when it is needed.
Recent events locally, nationally and globally prove that out as true now as it was then.
Bells ring for the start of the school year next week. That means drivers should be extra cautious during their commutes, especially those drivers through school zones. Workplaces might be a bit in flux as well while working parents shift back into the pickup and drop off schedules. We could all use, and express, some patience this time of year.
But our status as part of a larger community and world doesn’t stop with just being patient with the schedule juggling that occurs with the start of the school year. We should all strive to be more engaged in the issues and causes we hold dear. Civic engagement doesn’t just mean voting twice a year. It means watching city council meetings, port commission hearings and community forums whenever they occur. Certainly everyone can’t follow everything, but we all should know more about how government works and what those governments are doing in our names, with our tax dollars. And we should voice our thoughts before decisions are made rather than gripe into the void of social media after votes are counted.
Tacoma isn’t an island, so the city, and its residents, must play a role in national issues as well whether that involves defending civil rights of all residents, speaking out against injustices wherever they occur and holding lawmakers accountable for the decisions they make in our name. The devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to the Gulf Coast also shows that politics is only one avenue through which people can help build unity, since anyone can donate their time, talent or treasure to help those in need with food and shelter as the region rebuilds.
As a world power, the United States has a critical role in providing aid, advice and protection around the globe. Unrest anywhere can create unrest everywhere.