I think it is time to address something that was said to me the other day while fundraising for RUFC that has been eating away at me.
“You know there are veterans in OUR country who are living on the streets, and you’re helping kids in Africa?”
To you, I say this: It is obvious that the issue of veteran neglect plaguing this country frustrates you, as it does many. But you can’t always expect other people to prioritize your concerns (I have learned this firsthand). As a wealthy person living in La Canada you are as fit as anyone to take on a fundraising role, help raise awareness, or any other positive action for an issue that is important to you. The abject poverty and inequity impacting children and families in Mpigi is what concerns me and I spend my time and effort to help improve their lives. If you want something else done, do it. And as for your strong sense of patriotism, it is not wrong to possess a love or loyalty for your country, after all it is where you live. However, this love is susceptible to corruption in a form of supremacy. Then it becomes an extreme form of nationalism - or patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts especially marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries. To me, unity among the world’s countries and all its different people is the ultimate goal for mankind. Something people have been trying to do for as long as we have lived. How, as a world, can we progress without developing and nurturing friendship and positive relationships with people who live beyond our conceived borders? We are a human society that has extended across real, tangible, geographical isolations, so why should we cower beneath the imaginary ones? Imaginary political lines have been partially shaped by our fear and our greed and the truth is that nothing stands between us and unity except our fear of change. It is our job to extend our arms of love and generosity to all the world. Nothing makes a person on one side of the border different than someone on the other, and the same goes for across the world. We are all humans, of common blood. Wherever we come from, whatever religion we follow, whoever we choose to love. We are all the same, more so than any of us can understand.
I believe that at this time in history it is as important as ever to show the world that Americans care about equity and access to opportunity - at home and abroad. Next week is “Giving Tuesday” and I hope that everyone will think about what is important to them and make a commitment to help. This can be in the form of a donation, but it doesn't have to be about money. It can mean writing a letter to a policymaker, raising awareness, or learning more about why the problem exists in the first place.
Ray Wipfli, RUFC founder, shares his thoughts.