Neil Tambe

Husband, Father, Citizen, Professional.

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

ME first vs. me FIRST

Even though I have a notable distaste for elections, I watch election night coverage enthusiastically. What of it? It's fun.


Anyway, I remember watching John Boehner on MSNBC the next morning and something he said stuck with me. I paraphrase:

The American People have spoken and they reject Washington. They don't want to pay more taxes...

And that's where I stopped listening. I'm actually not frustrated by what Mr. Boehner said (as some of my small-government critics, might've guessed. I actually agree with Mr. Boehner that 1) The people reject Washington, 2) They don't want to pay more taxes.

What I find troublesome is that Mr. Boehener, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Obama, Mr. Reid, etc. all let the American people get away with believe that they're the bosses. [I deliberately exclude Mr. Bush from this list because I think he actually acted very much on principle, which I deeply respect, even though I still disagreed with him a lot of the time]. And, of course, the American people are in fact, "the bosses", but that doesn't mean that they're right.

The problem is, as I see it, is that Americans have a "me first" mentality, in the bad sense of the word. In fact, I'd say in the phrase "me first" Americans emphasize the ME first.

What do I mean by this? That we (collectively) are selfish - individually too. We burn the candle at both ends, in a way. We want government to do all this stuff and cry wolf when it doesn't do what we expect it to do. We don't want to pay for it, either. We don't vote in high amounts (again, collectively) and still expect legislators to be responsive. We want to shop without saving (at least we did in the past 5 years, not sure about now) and keep oil prices down. We WANT all this stuff without giving. It's an arrogance to think that we as individuals and our nation can get away with being selfish and narcissistic because we're American. That's what I mean by ME first.

I'd counter that with the idea of me FIRST, this time emphasizing "first". This to me, is the inverse of selfishness: sacrifice. This idea is that "me" should be the first to sacrifice. The first to want to help. The first to roll up my sleeves, the first to pay taxes. It's personified in the NYPD and NYFD who ran into the center of a hell storm to sacrifice themselves for others and because it was their duty - because it was the right thing to do. And not only did they do it, they did it FIRST. They're incredibly deserving of the honors that they've recieved, in my humble opinion. Those men and women are some of the best people we've got in this country, not only because of their heroism on a tragic day, because they put YOU first.

Anyway, in whatever way I can, I'm going to remind people that YOU come first and I go FIRST. I think we all could live by that mentality a bit more...before we tear ourselves apart. It's a long road ahead, we've gotta make sacrifice.

And, why do I write about this stuff so much? Because I see my youthfulness and ability to take risks challenged by the institutions which I operate in. I see the "ME first" mentality creeping into my life. I want to fight it back at every opportunity I can. Not because I want to inflate my ego by being positioning myself as some civic martyr or charitable kingmaker, but because I know it's the only way out of our problems. Something's gotta give, if we don't give of ourselves the balance in the universe will do it for us.

I wrote this in a cab, haha.

Let's go Rick Snyder, I'm your corner sir. Help us make sacrifices so that our state can be more vibrant.