I am a Lottery Winner

As residents of the United States, you and I won the geographic lottery.

You didn’t earn the right to vote, the right the freedom of speech, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We were handed it.

We are privileged to attend public school for free, we can easily buy food at the grocery store without lines, vouchers, or outages, and we sleep in our climate controlled home without fear.

When you turn on the faucet, water comes out. When you flip the switch, electricity is there. You might complain about slow internet but it doesn’t endanger your life.

We take for granted that we can tuck our children into bed, assured of their safety in the morning. We don’t have to fear a sharp knock at the door or spies among our neighbors.

When you hear a drone of a plane overhead and you don’t feel heart rate pitch forward.

You haven’t lost your wife or your daughter to human trafficking, imagining their daily torment.

You haven’t faced stormy seas and a low chance of success, but decide to place your family in the boat nonetheless because what lies behind is worse.

You’ve never pushed your child into a swarming queue of desperate people, hoping and praying they’d be okay on the other side. Knowing you’ll never see them again and you’ll never know.

We have the time and privilege to complain about political memes on Facebook because we aren’t scrambling to find a scrap of food, water, or another night of shelter.

In response to being lavished with all these gifts, America has slammed her doors shut, drew the blinds, and insisted the rest of the world carry her load.

We only admit 85,000 refugees a year on average—approximately the same number of attendees to Coachella.

The number is shameful. Closing our borders is a travesty.

Before you suggest we have to take care of our own first—our homeless, our children, and our veterans—let me ask you: What exactly are YOU doing to help the groups you care so much about?

None of these neighborly gestures are someone else’s problem. They are yours. They are mine.

Perhaps your complaint is that the refugees are primarily Muslim, therefore sympathetic to ISIS. As Christians, shall I assume all denominations support Westboro? It’s the same difference.

We have a stringent vetting process, which takes years to complete. It is an outright lie (or alternative fact) to suggest we don’t.

The fact of the matter is that in the United States, we are not exceptional except in our luck. We are not and have never been superior to other humans.

We are merely lucky.

When most people are asked what would they would do if they won the lottery, they rattle off a bevy of options: a vacation, pay off their house, set aside money for college, maybe buy a new car.

“And I’d donate some money to charity as well.”

Here’s our chance. We’re all lottery winners. What charity will you be donating to? How will you share the wealth?

 

author-sheila-plank
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