Inauguration of a People

So I just finished watching the inauguration for President Obama's second term. I generally want to stay away from political discourse on this blog and site for pretty obvious reasons and I will try my best to stay under those guidelines with this post. Naturally, in the days of social media, we all have the opportunity to post our opinions and feelings on landmark moments like the one we witnessed today. It were these comments that inspired me to write this post and not the actual ceremony. I have an anecdote if you will indulge me. About a month ago, I was walking with Eljon and on the corner of Kenmare and Mulberry Streets there was a homeless man laying face down in the middle of the sidewalk experiencing a seizure. Outside of the convulsions, the man was paralyzed and seemed to be tearing. I assume out of fear. There were two people standing near him and one of them had called 911. I recalled that a pretty decent amount of people walked by us before we saw the man on the sidewalk. So that means that these folks saw him having the seizure and chose not to help him. Eljon and I were in shock to see him and were trying to figure out how to help him. I knew the paramedics were notified, but I felt like something else had to be done. Luckily, I saw a police van driving down the street. I literally jumped out in front of the van and made sure that they saw me. They stopped (thankfully so I didn't get hit) and pulled over. I told them that the man was having a seizure. When they saw that it was a homeless guy they IMMEDIATELY looked like they regretted getting out of the car. They were slow to respond and meandered instead of showing urgency. It was disappointing to say the least. I will say that the paramedics came, treated him and took him to the hospital.

I am reminded of that event today because I'm pretty certain that some of the people that walked by that man are the same people cheering for Obama during his inauguration today. These are the same people who had a chance to make their fellow man and community better, but chose not to do anything. I am not saying this to toot our own horn because we could have done more including comforting the man. We didn't do that. But the point I am trying to make is that there can't be a complete investment in our government, but not the same investment in ourselves and others. Why didn't more people help that guy out? Why did the cops change their attitude when they saw the man was homeless? Today is more about us than it is the government. There is potentially a moment every day to make this country better and what helps us move this forward is these moments. Not a dog and pony show. Not a vote. Not a liberal arts college debate that doesn't lead to action. Sometimes helping a guy out on the street makes things better. I don't want to make a grand statement with this post. But I do want to remind us all that helping each other out on a daily basis is just as important as the swearing in of a President. Our quality of life isn't just dependent upon decisions that our government makes. At the end of the day, we control that.

Thank you for reading.

Pam Son Logo Black copy