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A hope note

Reader’s Digest turned 83 this year. In August, to celebrate its 1,000th issue, the magazine added a 90-page supplement titled, ‘It’s All About You,’ explaining that ‘the power of the individual grows every day.’
The editors identified 14 trends that they think will change our lives in the next 10 years. The first three are ‘Re-engineering Your Body,’ ‘Do-It-Yourself Doctoring’ and ‘Me Me Media.’ Coming in last, barely making the list, at No. 14, was ‘The Power of We.’
The same day this Reader’s Digest arrived, I saw a TV commercial for a brand of jeans. Half a dozen campers were being chased by a bear. The voiceover said something like this: ‘You don’t have to outrun everyone ‘ just one.’ Meaning, the bear will be content with mauling only one ‘ just make sure you’re not the weakest or slowest.
Is life really ‘all about you’ ‘ your welfare, your job, your rights, your opinions, your security, your stuff?
The images from Hurricane Katrina that will linger longest in my mind are not those of people stealing things and fending for self. The images I will remember are of a Coast Guard officer chopping a hole in a roof to rescue a child, or someone carrying an elderly woman to a boat, or hoisting the weakest or slowest or youngest or oldest or sickest into a helicopter.
Maybe one of Katrina’s enduring lessons is that our caring for each other trumps the everyone-for-self, it’s-all-about-you principle, which is really the law of the jungle. Maybe Reader’s Digest’s last ‘ No. 14, ‘The Power of We’ ‘ is first in importance, and the hope of the human race.