Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 5 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/8/09

You're out!

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   3 comments
Author 16815
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Jill Jackson

California used to be a living example of social democracy in action. As our social safety net deteriorates, un- or underfunded by scarce government resources, we are seeing an alliance of tax-fearing business interests, and tax-weary workers who refuse to consider a reasonable and progressive tax program that can ensure adequate funding for schools and universities, health care facilities and services, infrastructure, and social services, especially for our most vulnerable -- the poor, the ill, the elderly, the young, and the disabled.

Why have so many otherwise kind and caring people turned their backs on their community and focused only on their own needs. Tough times certainly have limited the amount of money or time that people feel they can contribute to the support and survival of others. Right-wing media brainwashing has also played a critical role in promoting viewers and listeners guilt-free self-interest and selfishness over their commitment to civic duty and charity for their community.

The key word for this unfortunate evolution is, in fact, community. Over the past 20 years, changing demographic patterns have allowed significant numbers of Californians to lose their altruism and compassion amidst the growing waves of tribalism that have washed over our diverse populations. Many of you are probably familiar with Dunbar 's number: Anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorizes that each human has the average capacity to maintain 150 stable social relationships. These relationships become our community, or, as David Wong has identified, our "Monkeysphere". People outside this "community" or tribe become objectifiedi.e. less than human and less deserving of our attention, investment, and empathy. Wong uses an example of mourning the loss of one's best friend while reacting less strongly if at all to the human losses outside one's community, from accidents, natural disasters, or wars.

The growth of our population over the past forty years, including through legal and illegal immigration, has overwhelmed not only the Monkeysphere of our local communities, but of our states and country as well. Citizens who understood the value of contributing to good schools, clean streets, and adequate fire, social, and police services, now see taxes as going to the large numbers of "others" who exist, unvisualizable as fully human, beyond the community's doors. These "others", whether grouped by race, ethnicity, class, or ability, are identified as objects undeserving of empathy, understanding, and support. The response is to hunker down and put up wallswalls between the "haves" (Us) and the "have nots" (them). No longer do we care about the health, safety, and education of those outside our wallsto whom we deny contributions or charity. Our humanity is preserved for our own enclaves, for "our own", whoever they may be.

California must address the impact of this tsunami of figurative tribalism if economic and social recovery is to be a realistic option. We can neither ignore those who have moved within our borders and are struggling, like us, to survive, nor yield to our natural instinct to objectify and subhumanize them to assuage our selfish guilt. It's time for us to promote our own evolution from human limitations to humanistic policies that will give each and every human in our state and country an opportunity for a safe, healthy, and happy life.


Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Interesting 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Jill Jackson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Jill Jackson is a writer, mother, wife, military veteran, and hard-core pacifist and liberal. She swallowed the red pill after 9/11.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

It's time to say ‘bye-bye, Barry' and ‘hello, Hussein'!

10 Reasons Women Aren't Funny

A recipe for the future from the past: Pan Metron Ariston

Eight Little Dolls

UARS Terror

1984 Has Landed

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: