The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

May 13, 2008

We are all in this together

We’re nothing like them, these people who live on the other side of the world.

They look different, have odd names and speak a language we can’t hope to understand.

Our forms of government are different, as well. They live under authoritarian rule, while we are proud of our democracy and fiercely protective of our freedom.

They can’t be anything like us, they are just too different.

That’s why we hold them at arm’s length. We consider them, if not enemies, exactly, then potential adversaries, to be sure. More than likely, they think about us the same way, if they think about us at all.

And then we see the pictures of them digging through the rubble of their lives, in the wake of a cyclone, in the aftermath of an earthquake. Suddenly, places like Myanmar, Dujiangyan and Chengdu become household words.

They are different from us, but they react much the same as we do when confronted by devastating events like the Picher tornado.

The shocked looks on the faces of those surveying the detritus of a lifetime piled in the rubble of what used to be a dwelling place look painfully familiar.

The tears streaming down the faces of parents as they cope with the knowledge their beloved son or daughter never will come home touches our hearts.

They don’t live like us, they don’t think like us, they don’t worship like us, if they worship at all. But they love like us, they hurt like us, they bleed like us.

Tragic events like the cyclone that devastated Myanmar and the earthquake that rocked China are the great equalizer, cutting across all social, economic and political strata.

It is a shame it takes horrible events like those aforementioned to point out just how much we have in common with people who live half a world away.

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