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Letter: Helping others is everyone’s responsibility

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

“The individual should exist for his own sake.” – Ayn Rand.I would that we could sit back and acknowledge a single truth:  We will always have a choice as a nation … to protect and nurture the individual or protect and nurture the community.  

We pride ourselves on individual achievement.  We celebrate those who have “lifted themselves up by their bootstraps”, and we scorn those who “will not” do for themselves what we believe should be done to keep home and hearth together.

But, to despise the poor, to denigrate those who cannot find work or sufficient work that will support them and their families; to suggest that I cannot help my fellow Americans without encouraging a degenerate society is beyond my understanding.

You cannot build a nation from 315 million individuals working for their own interests. You can build a nation with a group of people who are willing to support and nurture each other. You cannot be a patriot and look out only for yourself. 

A “nation” is an artificial construct, a philosophy created by humans. Instead, why not ask:  “What is this nation about?”  Are we all together one or every man for himself?   

Ayn Rand would remind us:  There are masters of the universe and there are parasites; there are winners and there are losers.  

Only too recently, the taxpayers had to bail out the irresponsible behavior of the investment banks to the tune of over $700 billion. If we didn’t agree, we would suffer a worse disaster than the Great Depression. Simply put, we would collapse.

We, the people, suffer with unemployment and jobs that cannot keep a family together. We look at our children and despair for their future. The masters of the universe, the bankers and the brokers, have consumed our hope.

This is not about Barack Obama, or the Democrats or the Republicans. It is about the simple idea that we are all the nation. We are the community, all of us, the weak and the strong, the fortunate and the disadvantaged. We are us. We need to build a nation where everyone is cared for and protected.  

To me, that is what freedom and liberty mean. I am my brother’s keeper. I am an American; I will hold up my brothers and sisters with everything that I have.

Alena Dryden


Sycamore Middle School sixth-grade teacher

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