Sacrifice key to success

Throughout my soon-ending undergraduate career, there has been one theme that my professors, mentors, critics and the people I pay off to be my friends have reinforced time and time again, and it’s something that has been in the back of my mind a lot recently, particularly in light of the recent health care debate.

This theme is one that we all know, or at least one that we think we do: sacrifice.

The great mythologist Joseph Campbell discusses in many of his works the importance of sacrifice. To put his words very simply, to find that which is most beautiful in the world around us or even within ourselves, we must make sacrifices.

In order to get an A on that paper, we may have to stay up all night writing it, or we may have to spend some time away from the television to make sure the student organization you’re running has a plan for the next meeting.

If we don’t sacrifice, we might not do so well on that paper, and if we spend the night watching “Lost” instead of writing that plan, people might get bored and leave your student group. This relationship is simple enough, but sometimes it’s hard to learn. (Trust me here.)

One great example of sacrifice is the individuals who founded our great nation. The Founding Fathers and Mothers sacrificed their property, their livelihoods, their lives and the lives of their families for an ideal in which they believed.

They could have very easily chosen to be conservative in their approach and keep things the way they were, but they didn’t — they chose to aim higher because they saw a better place. The road was long and wasn’t well paved, but they drove ahead anyways.

If you’re a particularly religious person, you may know the story of a man named Jesus Christ. After living what some may call a pretty OK life, he went on to challenge the authorities for ideals that he believed in, despite the fact that they were crazy ideals to begin with like “love one another” and “treat others as you wish to be treated.” He believed in these ideals so much that he was executed in a particularly cruel fashion. He chose to aim higher because he saw a better place, but I guess we all know how that turned out for him.

Our society has come to an impasse with the health care debate, and at its root is this issue of sacrifice.

Some people say it’s an issue of freedom and personal choice, and there might be a good argument there. Our country was founded on ideals of sacrificing things so that everyone could be free, and really so that the whole world could be free.

The religion that I think it’s safe to assume most of us in Alabama adhere to believes similarly. There is no freedom nor is there love without sacrifice. They are one and the same.

While I’m not saying that I agree with the entirety of the health care plan as it stands, I am challenging those who have responded with such anger and hatred to remember what’s important and to back up their saber-rattling rhetoric with actions if what’s actually so important is in line with the truth of the situation.

If you’re white, middle-class and are willing to take up arms against the government that just passed a proposal that will more than likely save you money over the course of your life and the life of your children, by all means, unite and revolt against that oppressive behemoth of oppression.

While the Tea Partiers and pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck talk a big game, I highly doubt they have the moral fortitude at the end of the day to sacrifice the things that matter for the rhetoric that doesn’t.

In the meantime, those of us who don’t know what to think about this plan, or even those of us with a strong, informed opinion, should go about our way educating ourselves as much as possible and working together positively for a better America.

Will Thomas is a senior majoring in economics and finance. His column runs bi-weekly on Wednesdays.

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