The Common Good

Monday, 14 December 2009


Graduations can be inspirational.  Guests are surrounded by hopeful, young men and women who've achieved graduate status.  They are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, waiting to leave the constraints of the classroom and put their knowledge to the test.  As the doctorate students walked the stage at my brother's undergraduate graduation at The Ohio State University last night, I vowed to someday earn my PhD and I also learned a little something. 

Kevin Boyle, PhD, was the speaker.  He is a humanitarian, enviornmentalist, author and a specialist in race, class and gender relations.  He was funny and as speakers usually do, had strong opinions.  I didn't agree with everything but the take-away for me was his iternation of our "goals" passed on from our founding fathers:  life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Boyle suggests that as we pursue the three rights, we are to do so for "the common good."  He asked the graduates to use their skills and education to do something for "the common good."  I paused and considered what I'm doing to help others.

I like to think as a journalist, working even beyond the denial of law enforcement to gain access to court rooms and public records (as provided by law) at least helps to uphold state statues and provide information.  My blog is also a tiny voice through which I can sometimes advocate moderation, tolerance, diplomacy and peaceful debate.  But really, what's so tough about that?  What I'd like to do, is take up a cause (poverty, homeless animals, children who lack education, legal immigration) and DO something.  Nothing huge but at least something. 

It's not enough to put out canned food for Food for Lane County or donate unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots this year.  Maybe we should challenge ourselves to use our resources and do something regularly for the common good as we pursue our happiness.   Not sure what form that will take but please share your "for the common good" stories.  Come on - brag on yourself!  I have at least one friend who cures Cancer for a living but we don't have to try to beat that.  ;)

4 comments

Nikhil Inamdar said...

Denae,

You can adopt below poverty line children in India for as little as $50 a year (which takes care of the basics - 2 square meals and primary education (upto class 7))...the bright ones go on to getting sponsored higher education and some are even doctors today!

My dad's brother is heading one such initiative & they are in desperate need of funds (as always!)...alternatively there are many such fantastic charities in India working towards very worthy causes...let me know if you are interested and I'll send you websites/details of the authentic ones because there is a lot of fraud happening here and you've gotta be aware!

Nikhil

Denae said...

Nikhil - yes, please post the details here. Thank you for the suggestion!

LizP said...

You should talk to Thomas about The Common Good Bank that is trying to start here in Eugene. :-)

Denae said...

LizP - How perfect. I will! Thx