Humankind Is Our Business

The clock literally just stuck midnight; therefore, this is now a Christmas post.

The last couple of days has been witness to the getting and spending we as consumers seem to place value upon in this “holiday” season. Maybe Wordsworth said it best in his sonnet whose first line bears the title:

The world is too much with us; late and soon, 
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;— 
Little we see in Nature that is ours; 
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! 
The English teacher in me likes to reflect on certain works of literature during particular times as a means of reflection. I am getting older and I am more accepting to just say that someone else usually says “it better” than I can.
I have been listening to a reading the last couple of days of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol as I have been taking the dog around the neighborhood on those walks that he adores and I am beginning to love more and more.
And I keep having this passage play in my head throughout the day from Stave One.


“Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!”

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Yes, I know that we just had this “big” tax bill just signed into law that is supposed to help all people. I know that the stock market is “booming.” I know that I might get a few more dollars in my take-home pay for a little bit due to non-permanent tax breaks.

But at what cost?

Then I think of the children who will be affected by the CHIP program not being renewed.

I think of the Dreamers who are in complete limbo right now.

I think of the people who will lose healthcare insurance in the coming year.

I think of the people in Puerto Rico.

I think of the people affected by the opioid crisis.

I think of the rising number of people who have publicly claimed to have been sexually abused.

I think that one in almost four children in North Carolina who live in poverty.

I think that it will get very cold again for people who do not have heat.

Marley’s ghost reminds us that others are our business. Humankind is our business.

I hope that we remember that lest we be haunted ourselves.