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We All Go Down Together

Warning: This article is replete with excessive punctuation and caps. Reader discretion is advised. Consider yourself warned. JS.

So, when my son, Daniel, was about eight years old, he wanted me to take him to see a movie called Lord of the Rings. I’d never heard of the movie, but I was absolutely gung-ho for going, seeing that “my Daniel” (one of my pet names for my beloved son) couched the idea in terms of this being a Mommy/Son Outing. How could I say no? Now, in all fairness to my Daniel, he did warn me that the movie was long. I lovingly thought, “The longer the better. More time I get to spend with my Daniel.” Now in all fairness to me, when he said “long,” I’m thinking something a little outside of the usual ninety minutes that most movies normally run. I’m thinking an hour forty-five minutes, two hours tops. NOPE!!! I was ABSOLUTELY WRONG!!!

Three hours into this bad boy, I didn’t care nothing about no ring, no lord, no nothing!!! I was just ready to go home but couldn’t because there was still forty-eight minutes—that’s almost a WHOLE ‘NOTHER hour—left in this movie!!! Then, to add insult to injury, the end of the three-hour-forty-eight-minute cinematic torture wasn’t the end of the movie!!! It was only the first installment!!! What?!?! As the credits started rolling, I said out loud in the theater, not caring who heard me or what they thought, “That’s it? What about the stupid ring?!?! What happens to the stupid ring?!?!” My Daniel, who, by this time, is just “Boy” (another one of my pet names for my son—a little less endearing), bounces up out of his seat like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh (a LOT shorter movie) and proclaims just as pleased as he could, “Wasn’t that GREAT?!?!” It took all the restraint I could muster after four hours of sitting in the dark, watching trolls and goblins and munchkins (whatever they are) not to respond, “NAH, bruh!!! It wasn’t great!!! It was LONG; that’s what it was!!!” But I didn’t say that. I smiled, as only mothers can, and lying through my teeth said, “Yes . . . that was great.” Then I made a mental note to never let the boy con me again and made a promise to myself not to see another Lord of the Rings movie. Ever. That’s a promise I can proudly say I’ve kept.

Speaking of long movies, while Titanic was a whopping three hours and thirty minutes long, for whatever reason, that time seemed to fly by. I don’t know if it was because of Leonardo DiCaprio, or because of Leonardo DiCaprio, or maybe it was because of Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m not sure, but for whatever reason, those three and a half hours flew by in a blur. One of the scenes that I always found striking from Titanic is the scene in which the filmmakers juxtapose the two different socioeconomic classes on the ship. In this scene, the rich and elite are lavished in luxury on the upper part of the ship, drenched in opulence, while the lower-class immigrants are in the bottom of the ship, enjoying festivities that are significantly more meager. The disparity is meant to be stark, intending to make just as stark a statement on what was to come.

When the ship began to sink, whatever disparities existed between those on the top of the ship and those on the bottom quickly dissolved as the murky, artic water rushed in and dragged the entire ship down, making no distinctions between its victims whatsoever. The rich died among the poor. Many of the elite met the same fate as the common.

That’s a message worth embracing during this time of divisive unrest in our nation. If this ship goes down, we all go down together. It doesn’t matter what part of the ship you’re on right now. You can be on the tippy top or on the lowest bottom, but if we allow our base instincts to prevail over the principals that this nation was founded on—freedom, fairness, unity—then we will all be pulled down together. Admittedly, it may be at different rates, but we’ll all end up with the same fate.

The solution? Care. Not just about you and yours but about those who are far from being like you and yours. That’s Humanity 101. That’s what’s going to keep this thing afloat.

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