Bubble Time

Sometimes we live in a bubble. Truthfully, there are times when we need the bubble. Then there are times when we need the bubble to be popped so that we can see more of what is going on than we might be comfortable with on a daily basis.

It is easy to leave the work to others. It is easy to convince ourselves that if we focus on our own backyard, we need not trouble ourselves with the wider world. How often do we recognize the good work others are doing so that we can focus only on our backyard? Do we only notice these globally minded workers when they become embroiled in controversy? When we find ourselves at odds with one aspect of their work, do we condemn all the other good work?

Life is a set of scales, often comparing the positive and negative in our lives. We must evaluate the items tilting the scales in one direction or the other. Even if we need bubble time, we can’t forget that the scales will still need adjusting when the bubble pops. We should never allow our scales to tilt heavily in an unsettling direction due to the weight of unsavory choices made by others but defended due to our own desire to fit in.

Bubble time, the time to recharge and retreat from the fray, is occasionally necessary. Just don’t make that bubble so impenetrable that it won’t pop in time for your life scale to be adjusted before the negative side weighs you completely down.

Creating the ‘Other’ is Never Charitable or Kind

A person must choose how they will deal with those who offend. They should do all they can to avoid letting the offensive, intended or unintended, control their lives. With this being said, the person who offends, intended or unintended, should be held accountable for their behavior.

Society expects its members to conform to certain patterns and behaviors. Members of society who offend, and even those who work hard to avoid offending, can fall into the misbelief that those who have distanced themselves from the heart of the society, or who have left all together, are individuals who have chosen to be offended by the society or a member of the society. By embracing this belief, those who have distanced or removed themselves become the other*.

There are people who offend regularly, some with intent and some through ignorance of their own actions. Rather than modifying their own behavior in order to be less offensive, they condemn the other as being victims of poor choices.

Personal agency requires personal accountability, but to assume that someone outside the center of the community is there because of wrong-doing or because they are angry for having been the recipient of offense lacks charity and undermines the success of the community; unless, of course, the objective of the community is to weed out all but those who seek power over others.

A community or society built upon charity and benevolence will find itself woefully weakened if it loses sight of the understanding that all who are distant are those in most need of charity, kindness, and acceptance. This acceptance may be simply in the form of respecting the choices the individual has made rather than condemning the individual. Creating the other is never charitable or kind-spirited.

 

 

* the other defined –  a group or member of a group that is perceived as different, foreign, strange, etc

* the other (sociological)

* the other (philosophical)

 

Success of Nations

A nation’s success is dependent on its people having an understanding of what makes it successful. Authoritarian governments seek success through suppressing information, and through spreading misinformation. In a democratic republic where the people have the right to vote, it is vital for information to be shared and debated. Discourse, preferable civil discourse, is essential for national success. However, too many people, who enjoy the benefits of a democratic republic, seek to hide from discourse. For whatever reasons they may give, at the end of the day, they are seeking to hide from the very responsibility they have in the maintenance of their nation and its success.

Cringeworthy Reality

It is interesting to see so many supporters of capitalism and small government cringe.

Capitalistic exploitation of cheap resources and labor has provided a stable livelihood for many who have never felt exploited because of the protections their grandfathers voted for when robber barons last ruled.

Realization that they have become this cheap labor causes worry to build among these supporters of small government. They realize that their livelihood is controlled, not just by the modern robber barons of their own nation, but by the robber barons of foreign nations.

They realize they might need protection from the government they believe is too big.

A cringeworthy reality.Cringe worthy reality

Gift giving, the thought is not all that counts.

IMG_0886In a world where there are so many in need of food, warmth, and shelter, it is up to the giver to gift responsibly. Intent will never be of greater value than a gift received by one who truly benefits from it.

There are many reasons a person creates items that end up in charity boxes. I personally find knitting, crochet, etc. helps relieve my stress. However I would not want something that helps reduce my stress to become the thing that causes someone else stress. An act of compassion, love, or charity should come unburdened by expectation. Yet, society seems to demand that well-meaning gifts be accepted with meekness, even when the gifts cause burden or harm.

Year after year, well-meaning people gift friends and family with the handmade items, many also donate hats, scarves, and blankets to charitable causes with the hope that their efforts will bless the lives of the recipients. Each year, I read social media the complaints made by disappointed givers who find that their gifts have not been received with gratitude or with excitement. This is a reality in the world of handmade gifts. These posts are usually accompanied by comments of support for the gift-giver, and the general criticism for those who do not accept the gift with glee, or at least with feigned pleasure.

This year I have seen something new – an attack on a recipient who found the receipt of charity to be a burden, and who was rightfully justified in their feelings. Justification did little to mitigate the condemnation they received.

In the years following the U.S. decision to pursue military action in Afghanistan, there have been many charitable organizations dedicated to sending care-packages to troops serving far from home. In the early years, sending a box to “any service member” would get a package delivered to some random service member. Safety, security, and practicality have ended such deliveries. Now for such charitable deliveries to be received, an actual recipient’s name is required. Unfortunately, this means that organizations need a recipient, and it seems they are not worried about gaining the permission of the recipient before sending the care-package.

There are many reasons that the unsuspecting recipient might find it problematic to receive unsolicited gifts, but when their name is used by a charitable organization as the end point of 20, 30, 40 or more packages, there is little doubt that they would have a problem. The charity might envision a gleeful recipient acting as Santa as they hand out package after package to associates, but not all service members are in situations where they can do this.

Local, national, and international charities all seem to agree that random donations are problematic and not nearly the blessing that monetary funds provide. Sending unsolicited items and care-packages often cost time, energy, and money. The act of charity becomes the opposite – it becomes a burden.

Charity and gift-giving should not cause hardship or stress for the recipient. It is not just the thought that counts. The very basis for giving a gift is the rooted in a caring for another person, even a stranger. The joy of making a gift will never compare to knowing that gift is welcomed. Therefore, responsible gift-giving is paramount.

It Is Not a Joke

As many other people have stated, the joking banter of an adolescent and the bragging of a man nearing retirement age are not one and the same. However, maybe it is the same if the youth acts upon his banter, harasses young women, and goes unpunished. If society condones or simply does not condemn youthful actions such as these, then society will find that the youth can grow to be an old man who has spent his life preying on others.

Society, as a whole, is made up of smaller units, and whether the smaller unit is a high school or a workplace, there is always someone who reigns over the group. When that person has questionable morals or believes they are above the law, all too often there will be victims of the abuses of their power. Whether the offender is sixteen or sixty, when that individual possesses power or authority, it makes their victimization of others more difficult to halt.

Power and authority are often the main reasons victims compartmentalize and simply try to move on. Feeling a lack of power or feeling that the fight against the abuse will cause them more harm, many victims of harassment and assault decide to exit a bad situation before it gets worse. For some, immediate exit is not possible. The high school student, the wage earner, the person dependent on the financial support of the abuser – for them, the abuse and the victimization may go on for years before an exit is viable.

For many victims of harassment and abuse, their story remains buried and their burden is born in silence until the day when someone finally cries foul and multiple voices begin to join together in protest. Then maybe, just maybe, the injustice that has been done will be heard by society and the burden will no longer be born alone.

Sadly, in these times, the many of the society who did not encounter the terror of intimidation or humiliation of assault will cry out that because it did not happen to them, it could never have happened to any of the others.

While a majority of citizens are never the victim of crime, it does not equate that crime does not exist. For those who discredit the victims of crime, there is often a combined sense of guilt and superiority behind their criticisms. They may feel a sense of guilt as they question whether they looked the other way as the harassment or crime was being committed. Or they may feel superior because they believe own actions and choices prevented them from becoming victims.

This feeling of guilt can lead many to deny the victim’s claims rather than face their own role in the society that allows the abusive behavior. This notion of superiority can lead to a rather nasty conclusion – that a victim is weak and therefore deserves their fate. It is this line of thought that leads to the acceptance of abuse as simply part of the natural order of life. It is also what empowers the bully and the abuser to embolden their actions.

While there are many things people can do to prevent being a victim of crime, too often victimization is simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Terrible things happen to even the boldest and bravest of individuals. Even those most prepared for society’s battles can fall victim. Sometimes it is simply unavoidable and out of one’s control. However, we, as members of society, can control how we respond to the harassment, abuse, and crime that is too prevalent in our lives. We can look away, pretend it does not concern us, and even joke about it in an attempt to defuse our own discomfort. Or we can denounce it for what it is and shut it down before it can spread further.