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The Same Boat
I have always been comforted by the notion that “we’re all in the same boat.” It carries with it the implication that, in spite of all our differences, we have something fundamental in common, something that binds us together — potentially in a mutually beneficial way.

Whether the ‘boat’ here is the planet, the nation, or the neighborhood, it will most likely succeed if everyone on board is working to make that happen. The ‘same boat’ idea is, in fact, part of the core argument for democracy itself. Since we all have a stake in a safe journey, we should also have a say in how the boat is managed and maintained -- and where it should be headed. We should decide our own fate, that is, not a king, not an oligarchy, not the Koch brothers.

I suppose you could take the Ayn Rand approach and imagine that we all have our own separate boats and navigate them as we see fit. In some ways, that’s true; in most ways, however, it’s a crock. Nothing really big or important is accomplished by lone individuals. We need each other to do the big stuff. Furthermore, we are by nature social animals, destined to succeed as a group or not at all.

I also think that the ‘same boat’ notion is an argument for hope — unless you’ve completely caved in to a cynical world view. We might be tempted, for instance, to throw someone off the boat just because they don’t agree with us or because we don’t like their face. To do so, however, would be to deny our own humanity — and to betray any higher aspirations that still exist in us. I prefer to think that most of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do that. You can call that an article of faith on my part, but cut me a break. Right now it’s the only thing standing between me and hopeless cynicism, and if it fails, I won’t give a damn about the boat or anything else.

So the boat sails on, and its best (and possibly only) hope for a safe voyage is as a truly joint venture. Our fortunes, whether we like it or not, are bound together by our common aim: survival — and maybe the dream of happiness.
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee