Do we share responsibility for each other?

That used to be a question nobody ever had to ask. What a sad statement of the times that I not only ask it, but I’m unsure of your answer.

When I re-read this poem again recently, it made me think about all the sheeple who watch bullying and do nothing. I’ve never understood it, being the kind of person who gets involved the moment I see bullying. But after writing The Boxer Rebellion and exploring the fear and guilt experienced by these watchers through the characters of Angela and Margaret, I don’t think they’re bad people, just people who get lost in moral ambiguity about responsibility.

A POEM ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY
By Charles Osgood

There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task.

Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling. Anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was his responsibility.

It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done.
If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognized that anybody could
Everybody took for granted that somebody would.

But nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.

When what everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And everybody looked around for somebody to blame.

Somebody should have done the job
And everybody should have,
But in the end nobody did
What anybody could have.

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