Not Expendable

While a person can sign up for hazardous service in the military, police force, or other the other various service professions where life may be placed at risk, they cannot sign up to be the ones to die during a pandemic. The very notion that people could sacrifice themselves in such a way is ridiculous. Statements of this nature* promote the appalling belief that the vulnerable are expendable.

The vulnerable are not expendable. They are the ones we fight for, risk our lives for, and go to great lengths to defend from all harm.

 

Vunerable not Expendable

 

*Texas Lt. Governor voices what many may feel, but what goes against the advice of experts.

https://www.businessinsider.com/texas-dan-patrick-coronavirus-restrictions-worse-than-dying-2020-3

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/texas-lieutenant-governor-us-back-work-69764597

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)

 

The Toddler Years Part Two

When our children are little, wearing well-padded diapers and toddling around exploring their world, we worry. We want them to expand their understanding of their world, but we are often consumed with worry of potential falls and injuries.

While the toddler years are rough on parents, society warns us to be prepared for the really challenging teen years ahead. What we fail to realize as we worry our way through each new phase is that in all the years of our children’s youth we are there to catch them when they fall. They live in our homes, drive our cars, eat our food, spend our money, and are protected by our insurance. Just like the toddler in the thick diaper, our youth are buffered. Their inevitable stumbles and falls will occur while we are nearby to care for their injuries and sooth their fears.

Society fails to warn of the level worry we will feel when our child exits our home as a legal adult. So much like the toddler years, early adulthood is filled with challenges and adventures that will most certainly result in falls and injuries. There certainly will be near misses and startled emotions, and there will be periods of great frustration. Regardless of how well we prepare them for the world, they will toddle once again as they develop a surety in their own balance. Only this time around, we will not be on the spot to reassure them or sooth them.

While we parents are warned of many things as we work our way through the stages of our children’s growth, we seem to seldom hear the sage warning that those toddler years were preparatory for the day when we would hug the adult child and then watch them toddle away from our home.

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.

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.