In order to learn from the past, we must see it for what it is, not for what we long for it to be.
After months of relative absence here and complete absence on my other blog, a new post has emerged from the rubble of a very contentious and damaging election cycle.
Looking Forward – Learning from the Past is ready for pondering.
Seek solutions before settling for excuses.
Solutions may not always be cure-alls, but they often are just enough to make a rough situation more bearable.
In my house, the common solution comes from simple advice.
- Get up and move…
- Drink a glass of water…
- Drink a glass of juice…
- Do something creative…
- Get some fresh air…
Certainly the ills and woes of life are not eradicated by such simple suggestions, but they are often lessened.
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.
I had a chance encounter with an amazing 93 year old woman in the grocery store today. Her husband fought in WWII and Korea. She told me that they are horrified by the state of world affairs and especially with all the contention in the US. She stated that she just didn’t know how we would recover. I said the following
“We use the lessons learned from WWI and WWII – we work together.”
This sweet lady was momentarily stunned by my answer and then a huge grin formed on her face as she nodded.
“Yes,” she agreed, “we work together rather than try to stand alone.”
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.
Every so often, the human will create something that stands the test of time. As for the rest of the material, it is often simply fodder we must wade through in order to find the gems hidden beneath.
Many have spoken about how the 2016 U.S. presidential election season has become much like a bad reality television show. Not much reality seems to be represented, just a lot of sensationalism, distraction, and outrage; all leading to a distorted reality at best.
The public seems to gobble up this form of entertainment, much like ancestors of old would have flocked to the hangman’s noose to watch a hanging.
After nearly a year of this form of entertainment, there is a foreboding sense that by November the hangman’s noose will no longer continue to draw the crowds.
The metaphoric guillotine?
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.
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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Where is the accountability in this statement?
No one can offend you unless you choose to be offended.
A person may choose to remain offended, in essence to remain a victim of someone else’s offense, but they did not necessarily choose to be offended in the first place. Whether the offender intentionally or unintentionally caused offense, they should be held accountable for their actions.
Turning the other cheek and turning a blind eye are not one and the same.