In the Meantime,
It was a gimmick, but sometimes they work! I offered a free mask with the VUU logo for those who raised their pledge by $10 a month over last year. Over 100 folks did so and now they are here. (We have a few extras, by the way. Feel free to ask. Price? We’ll talk.)
Masks have been controversial as we all know. A portion of the populace has refused to wear them as an infringement on their liberty. Exactly which liberty is under assault I never found out. And somehow I never heard this said about those signs that said, “no shirt, no shoes, no service,” so it could be about something else. Yes, that was a snide comment.
Unlike the movies, crises rarely bring out the best in people. More often, we see their lesser qualities because they are harder to control when times are tough. As I have thought about this, it seems that our long established American myth of rugged individualism is to blame. There persists a fairy tale notion that Real Americans are cowboys on the range, unconstrained by feckless government power. In UU world I have called this the “church of you’re not the boss of me,” because we have a strong dose of this in our culture.
If that phrase sounds like a two year old, you’re right. To believe freedom has no limits or that rights have no responsibilities is naive if not childish. We expect that from children and even adolescents but as we grow up we expect people to mature. As someone said long ago, “when I was a child I thought like… but now I have put away childish things.”
In an article I penned for UU world back in 2006, I laid out my theory that this idea of America was no longer sustainable. What we needed was another idea of America, and of UUism, that spoke of responsibilities and accountabilities. That too is very old, but has been eclipsed for nearly half a century by that other version, one that looks a lot like Ronald Regan on a horse. That, too, is a snide comment.
This other America is about covenant, the idea that we freely come together as a community to preserve, protect and defend our common values. This idea, expressed most cogently by the UU thinker James Luther Adams, is the other American ideal, the other religious liberal ideal, which emphasizes how we are obliged to each other and not just an assortment of people. Communities are not mere aggregations of individuals but networks where lives interconnect and interact. -FW-