My father and I spent one stormy Christmas Eve trying to find shelter for a homeless man. As we went from agency to agency, each one pre-packaged to address only specific individuals, I became enraged and felt powerless to help. This summer I read a novel that gave a voice to my frustration and inspired me to think about how I can contribute to the world. Tracy Kidder’s Mountains beyond Mountains tells the story of Paul farmer, a doctor who dedicates his life to providing medical clinics to third world countries. The novel centers on his call for compassion with out borders: a global perspective to solving the world’s problems. I believe in Farmer’s philosophy of one single nation of humanity that is the simple reasoning that charity should be done without restrictions due to nationality, religion, or other circumstances. I believe that if all the nations of the world looked at the world as a single community, many of the social issues we face today would not exist.
Poverty and the hopelessness it creates are the root cause of most other social problems including starvation, disease, and even war. These are important issues of international concern, but politics, fear, and indifference stand in the way of any meaningful solutions. The imaginary lines that define our political borders cannot spare us from the impact other countries problems, no matter how far, geographically, away. Solutions to these problems may require some different ways of think about politics, borders, and responsibility for others.
The leaders of the world, and all the civilians must learn to look at the world in other ways besides in view of their personal self-interest. I believe that if all the powers of the world selflessly try to help those poor and disenfranchised, the world will become a better place for everyone, but this takes time. No matter how wealthy, or how far removed one is from the destitute persons of the world, their suffering and problems will find a way of involving themselves in everyone’s lives. Whether it be through paying unwanted tax dollars to welfare, or simply hearing of a homeless boy dying of starvation on the ^ o’clock news, everyone is involved in this epidemic. The world would be a better place for everyone if each individual would learn how to look at the world and help the world selflessly.
Everyone in the world has the innate sense of survival and putting one’s own self-interest before others, but I believe that we, anyone from the multimillionaire, to the college bound teen, to the little girl that thinks she cannot live without the doll with the pink dress, limit ourselves to the possibilities of making a difference in the world, if we always focus on the reward, for ourselves in the end.
Gandhi once said, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing can solve all the worlds problems” This is what I believe.
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