Monday, May 4, 2020
Hogging the Limelight
A photo from a protest to “reopen Maryland” has me shaking my head this morning. The bright yellow t-shirts read,
We are all essential.
No, I’m not shaking my head. I have my head in my hands and I’m despairing of the state of the human race.
Imagine being so upset by seeing some people’s labor during a crisis designated as “essential” that you need to make t-shirts and go out in public to promote yourself.
“Look at me! I’m important!”
Is it such an impossible thing to swallow that there may be times when the work of some people is more important in the grand scheme of things than our own? Is it wrong to ask the citizens of Maryland to focus on actions that will protect and support people other than themselves? Or to make sacrifices that will bear fruit not immediately, but after sustained effort?
Caring for others. Believing in the concept of working together for a common good. Accepting that other’s needs are more important than our wants. The capacity to walk this walk is essential in a democracy, especially when we are confronted with such an all-encompassing crisis.
The fact that a State Delegate From Howard County is one of the people filing suit against Maryland Governor Larry Hogan for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic just adds insult to injury this morning. I am mortified.
We are all familiar with the oft-quoted “look for the helpers” advice from the late children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers. This morning I’d like to add a corollary. If, in times of crisis, you see people thrusting themselves into the limelight to say “Look at me! I’m special!” those people are not the helpers.
They are the takers, not the givers. And they are making all of us, not simply themselves, less safe.