May 28, 2018—Memorial Day: Meritocracy is Not Democracy
Memorial Day is more than honoring our fallen and our living, our memories and our
struggles, it is also a day to remember to live presently while facing forward. Hoo-nōs
Many have fought and died in a struggle for the opportunity to live well, much less to live at
all. In so doing, the rest of us have incurred a national and a humanistic debt. We do not pay
it back by division, we do so by multiplication.
It is one thing to give credit where credit is due, quite another to create a class of
“exceptional” folk who inadvertently or deliberately suck the oxygen of opportunity out of
the room. It is the opportunity for all to live well that defines our humanity. It is the
divvying up by “virtue” of “deserving” that creates the haves and the have-not and detracts
from that humanity. The Bill of Rights, the Gettysburg Address, JFK’s inaugural address,
MLK’s I have a Dream address: Read them again for the first time. And there are many
others who have and expressed such transcendent insights. Find them. Listen well. Follow
and lead that parade—not just the people who spoke such wisdom as it was not them they
asked to be followed.
Memorial Day—remember to pay it back; see to pay it forward.