After work last night, I had this long discussion with one of the Stein kids-- well, the oldest-- who is not really a kid at all, but rather 22. We were talking about education, medicine, language, culture, race-- you know, all the usual things one talks about at 3am on a Friday night. Everything seemed to come back to power-- taking power from people who abuse it, helping others find their power, working collectively. And then Justin began talking about privilege and the fine line between it and power. He is headed down to New Orleans in a week to help work at a clinic.
There's an interesting thing about service in this country. We're getting better, but it's not ingrained in us. We are not told that we have to be of service, that it is our duty, or indeed, that it is our responsibility. Now, I understand that many families do teach their children the importance of service, as do many schools and churches-- but in our culture, especially in popular culture, what do we see of service?
There are moments where we band together after a crisis-- 9/11, Katrina, and on a much smaller scale, in STL after the storms. I should only hope that we can continue to be so human as to do at least that much. But on a day to day scale, what do we really do to be of service? And better yet, how do we show everyone that they have something to give?
I don't know the answer, but it got me thinking. Power, privilege, AND responsibility. Perhaps the only question is, how do we decide whom we are responsible to?