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.
Levity at the expense of another person’s feelings is still bullying. Especially when that levity depreciates the value of those feelings.
When levity is generated with the full understanding that someone else is hurting, then the levity is grossly inappropriate and unkind. Levity created in a vacuum of unawareness may be less inappropriate and less unkind, but it’s not less hurtful.
We may not always avoid hurting others, but should we not at least try to limit doing harm?
In our imperfect state, we all make mistakes and we all find ourselves guilty of less-than-kind behavior or speech, but we do not need to revel in our imperfection.
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…
It is clear that as the European empires struggled to maintain control over their colonial possessions during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the United States searched for footholds in the regions formally under European control. In the nineteenth century, the United States expanded westward and southward absorbing territory which had been held, often loosely, by Spain. In some cases, the United States annexed regions which became part of the union. In other cases U.S. businessmen, or filibusters, simply moved in and dominated the local economies. Due to the Napoleonic Wars and political shifts in Europe, little by little, European interests, or the ability to capitalize on the interests, in the Americas dwindled. Even Great Britain, the great empire of the 1800s, intensified its focus on developing colonial markets in Africa, India, and China rather than the Americas. Certainly the United States was not left alone in the Americas, but…