The following was copied from a Unitarian Universalist bulletin.  It expresses a concept that is often either denied, forgotten or never realized.  In today’s political divide over immigration it seems important to realize that many of those we will never know who helped enhance our lives are and were immigrants who took jobs beneath their ability in order to enjoy life here.  Some slaves, and the children of slaves, built buildings and roads and created works of art for which they got no credit. Almost all of us in the U.S. and Canada are these people or their heirs.

We Build on Foundations We Did Not Lay

We build on foundations we did not lay

We warm ourselves by fires we did not light

We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant

We drink from wells we did not dig

We profit from persons we did not know

This is as it should be.

Together we are more than any
one person could be.

Together we can build across the generations.

Together we can renew our hope and faith
in the life that is yet to unfold.

Together we can heed the call to
a ministry of care and justice.

We are ever bound in community.

May it always be so.

Rev. Peter Raible (1930-2004)
UU Minister, Seattle, WA

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Comment by Valerie Lynn Stephens on April 18, 2019 at 3:38am

That is lovely. Thank you, Rodney. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on April 18, 2019 at 4:14am

My father planted a paper shell pecan tree when I was young.  He commented at the time that he would never live to eat the fruit from that tree, but someone else would.  It turned out that the people who bought our house cut the tree down, perhaps without realizing what it was.  We can't ever become too involved in the things we leave for others.

Comment by Rodney Roe on April 18, 2019 at 4:18am

Thanks, Valerie Lynn for reading and commenting.  I liked your piece on AI.  I think the creator of AI would have to knowingly build the software in such a way as to allow the machine to take over.  Computers do some things much better than humans, but are limited at others.  It is an interesting question.  I commend you for placing a six syllable word in your title. ;-)

Comment by koshersalaami on April 18, 2019 at 5:52am

It’s a very old concept. In the ancient world, and still, people plant trees whose fruit they won’t eat. 

Comment by koshersalaami on April 18, 2019 at 5:55am

It also speaks to joint responsibility. I interact with people at another site who have trouble with that concept. 

Comment by Rosigami on April 18, 2019 at 7:56am

Those who understand and appreciate these concepts are not the one who need to hear it. The polarization of society has spiraled us so far apart that I am starting to believe that bit of momentum has still farther to go before it can be pulled back. 

Comment by Maui Surfer on April 18, 2019 at 8:29am

Slaves had to build the White House twice; Canada burned it to the ground.

President Obama was pilloried for stating the obvious, "You didn't build that"

The Herstoric Record shows- Fact-checking organizations reported that Obama's remarks were used out of context in order to criticize the president.

He pointed out something anyone can verify, Right Wing Terrorists lied lied and lied some more all while denying the truth, which scares them to death.

Comment by Rodney Roe on April 18, 2019 at 6:00pm

Those who create under duress seem to have a problem with celebrating the result Insuppose for fear the wrong will be forgotten. Too bad. The wrought iron all over Charleston, SC was done primarily by black men. It isn’t just fine craft, much of it is art.

Comment by Ron Powell on April 19, 2019 at 7:55am

Even people who viewed themselves as supportive, criticized him for this remark....

Perhaps he should have done a recitation of this poem...

Comment by koshersalaami on April 19, 2019 at 8:18am

But he was 100% right

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