You all know the drill. One of the first things you experience when you board an airplane is that infamous, informative video clip (and if you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered how well that seat cushion you’re sitting on actually does float). The video goes through everything from how to fasten your seat belt to where to locate emergency exits.
This part always catches my attention: Should the oxygen masks deploy, you are told to put your mask on before helping anyone else, even small children.
The reasoning behind it is simple: if you pass out while trying to help your neighbor, he or she will be without oxygen and you’ll be unconscious (and still needing oxygen yourself). Sometimes in life, if you want to serve your neighbor well, you need to take care of yourself first.
This logic is applicable in other life situations as well. For example, the U.S. Government has dished out $20 million to fund the production of Sesame Street in Pakistan.
Of course, I would be the last to argue with a Pakistani Elmo over the importance of influencing and educating children in this hostile South Asian nation–especially when Sesame Street in Pakistan will address issues such as tolerance, learning, hard work and women’s rights. This version of Sesame Street comes indisputably from good intentions, but it is good intentions such as these that will be the death of our nation.
Just a few weeks ago, our country came dangerously close to experiencing a government shutdown, which was due to our national deficit and overspending. When we can hardly keep our government functioning, can we honestly afford to send tens of millions of dollars to overseas television endeavors?
Going back to the oxygen mask example: if we don’t keep ourselves breathing, we certainly won’t be able to help out those around us. This is common sense. If we run our country into the ground because of financial predicaments, our tax dollar funded Sesame Street in Pakistan (and any of our other benevolent government projects) will inevitably crash and burn as well. In a country where we are worried about the sustainability of our own government because of a lack of funds, a $20 million federally funded television program, even in our own homes, is ludicrous.
Let’s get our own country back on track before we try to fix another’s because if we fail to sustain ourselves, we will inevitably be unable to help anyone else.