Friday, January 11, 2019
Observations outside the Classroom
First, let me wish you all a healthy and happy new year. I hope you are all at peace and enjoying life. Unfortunately, many seem very unhappy. I think we are the only people in the world that expect happiness. That's a fundamental problem that affects most of us with disappointment. There seems to be tremendous rage wherever I look. Nothing new about anger, but what's new is the level of it and the demand for us to plant our flag in one camp or another. Trump's election has solidified this once unstated pressure. When we allow others to classify us, we are allowing them to make subtle and important choices for us. We are allowing others to decide who we are.
All of us have probably asked, at one time or another, 'Who am I?' That's a question that has to be answered by you. We are unique individuals and should remember this. I believe the visceral anger that seems to be rapidly growing is really anger at ourselves. I don't allow anyone to speak for me. What they are doing, in attempting to do so, is minimizing us. Of course, there are times and places where we may feel we have no choice, but we always do. The choice may be hard, in that there are consequences involved, and we have to be prepared for them. Sometimes, the choices will be dangerous and have to be weighed carefully. When doing this I've always considered my family first. Fear keeps many of us locked in a job, a relationship, a religion or even a location. The thing is we only get the one life and the clock is ticking. Change is often good, even if it's sometimes painful. Remember it's OK to make a mistake - just do something and ask yourself, 'Can I live with myself if I don't try?'
Secondly, I've noticed a general decline in everything. I really do believe this is greatly influenced by Trump. I never thought a president could have that level of influence, but Trump does. From the lack of civility to the lack of vocabulary, he has had a devasting effect on the American psyche. People either love him (no matter what) or want him dead. The thing is both sides are so entrenched in their certainty of being morally correct that humanity and democracy are disregarded outright. The opinions and beliefs of others are maligned, stereotyped and dismissed. No one listens to others with different opinions; no one apologizes, and no one cares about the other person because he/she is in a different group. This pertains to political parties, denominations, race, sexual identity, economics, and all facets of life that can be classified. What's especially egregious is the now prevalent tendency to insult and even become violent with those that we disagree with. I have a good friend that was openly and nastily ridiculed by people he just met at a party, because he said he loved the composer Philip Glass's work. Most of us react in kind and there ensues a big argument or even a fight. My buddy just got up and left, but he's still angry and rightfully so. It was no surprise to me when I heard on the news today that there was a guy walking his small dog on a leash that asked a passerby to leash their dog. The passerby punched him in the face; the guy fell and cracked his skull, dying.
Lastly, I have to admit I don't miss my time in hell. I wish only the best for those of you that find yourselves in there. Try to remember nothing lasts forever and 'iron bars do not a jail make.' Cheers.