The candidate for president, Mitt Romney, made the infamous comment that might just have cost him the presidency – something about the forty-seven percent of the American voters he’s separated his campaign efforts from ever trying to reach because, in his words, “they would not vote for me anyway.”
Whatever would possess a candidate for the presidency to presume a mindless comment such as this would not come back to haunt him is an amazing demonstration of disconnectedness with potential voters in-and-of-itself.
Before I’m too hasty in my judgment of him, however, I am reminded that it is this capacity to see myself as separate from other people…from you…which <em>is</em> the core error in humanity today, whether speaking about the separateness that plays out in political parties and ideologies, between nations and religions, or even the divisions often experienced within families.
There is no longer “us and them.” Actually, it would be more accurate to say, there never has been. To be sure, there has been and always will be differences of opinion, political ideologies, as well as religious conviction and affiliation, or lack of it. The differences are almost endless. But, when it comes to our humanity, any such separateness is an illusion.
And, it is a dangerous illusion, as the Genesis story of Cain and Abel reminds us.
After slaying Abel, God asked Cain about the whereabouts of his brother. In the now infamous statement…not entirely unlike the flippant “47 percent” remark made by Romney, Cain defensively responded…
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9).
One’s maturity or, in this instance – readiness to be president – is tied to a vision of the human family that transcends any and all distinctions. This is certainly true, is it not, of all spiritually-awakened people? Not a litmus test of one’s spirituality but an indicator, wouldn’t you say?
If we are not our brother’s keeper, then who are we? If I am not my brother’s keeper, then who am I? In other words, the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is the wrong question.
You ARE the brother!