Saith Me.. Informed Citizenship

It requires more than just voting in order to practice informed citizenship. You cannot only tune-in every 2-4 years and hope that you’ll have more than a narrow understanding of the issues.

The world is complex and deferring your civic responsibility to others isn’t going to make you satisfied with the actions of the government.

You might not be a bad citizen if this is what you choose to do, but you won’t be an informed citizen.

informed-citizenship

Saith Me… The Ugly

The human story that shreds the heart of so many, also seems to bring out the vile ugliness of others.

When people feel a burning need to promote and protect themselves at the expense of another, we see the ugly nature of humanity in its fullness. Turning away from this ugly sight does not absolve one from its contaminants. Like an insidious disease, you either fight it or succumb to it, you do not simply ignore it hoping it will go away.

Saith Me… Toxic People

We often have to mingle with people who share common interests but who may not be the most agreeable to us or to our sensibilities.

However, some people are toxic in nature and those who support them and continue to mingle with them often times become toxic by association.

Toxicity should never be something we feel obliged to ingest.

Many people seem to think that it is being immature to distance one’s self from toxic personalities and toxic behaviors.

The real immaturity is found in those who make excuses for the toxic.

We should remember that it takes very little poison to ruin the well from which we all drink. Therefore, we all need to be conscientious stewards of the well.

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.

Saith Me… Reflections on Change

Do we really need to burn down the house in order to get out of the kitchen? 

 

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During a discussion with my children about the varied political theater which has dominated the news during the last 12 months, this rhetorical question emerged. Throughout history, a desire for change has often led to radicalization rather than the reasoned thought needed for change to be successful. Sometimes the radical voices drown out reasoned ones and disaster occurs. Other times the reasoned voices prevail.

By Their Works, They Will Be Judged

There are many interesting adjectives and phrases being tossed around during the 2016 election cycle. Some of them are quite familiar to the ones used in the past. During the 2012 and 2008 cycles, one phrase struck me as an odd criticism – too intellectual. To criticize a candidate for being too intellectual seems rather odd. The spread of anti-intellectualism has been effective. As we see in this current election cycle, it seems that many have forgotten what the words elitist, bigot, pandering, and patronizing mean. To infer that any politician is void of these traits is foolish. They all pander and patronize to some extent. They all belong to an elite group even as they claim to understand the common man. While not all will outwardly admit to a belief that the elite should rule, most will have risen to their places in society through the help of elitist organizations. Finally, few who walk this earth can truly claim to be without some form of bias, and while most will do their best to avoid bigotry and correct this human tendency, not all will.

Intellectualism was criticized and anti-intellectualism was embraced during the last eight years. Now it is elitism at the center of public criticism. While criticism is flung at one candidate for elitism, those using the criticism are clamoring to another elitist who panders to the base nature of man rather than a more elevated nature of man.

Evaluation of political candidates and political leaders is vital. Sometimes it will feel as if the choice is between the lesser of two evils. That is why the work they have done in the past must be weighed as much, if not more, than the promises they make. In the end, how a person treats their fellow man, and how they conduct their business is usually a better indicator than the promises they make or the slogans they use.

Prosperity through Diplomacy

The political climate swirling around the U.S. election cycle has had me pondering the importance of diplomacy, and the disregard so many have toward diplomacy.

Pithy History

As a young nation, the United States found itself in a conundrum. The desire to avoid the entanglements of European politics clashed with the desire for economic prosperity. Some early leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, believed that the plentiful natural resources of the Americas would remain in high demand by Europeans and would ensure that a predominately agrarian society would continue to prosper for decades, even centuries to come. Others were more doubtful and recognized that trade would mandate political interaction. While idealists would cleave to the notion that the demand for U.S. raw materials would force the nations of Europe to treat the new nation with respect and dignity, others rightfully worried that it would take strength to bring about international respect.

The United States would spend much of its first one hundred and fifty years debating how to be taken seriously as a world power while at the same…

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