Now there are the rare few folks who think I'm quiet. Sometimes I am. At least until I get to know you.
There is so much to say in this world, by each of us. There is also much for us to hear, to listen to, if we just would. But we don't. We don't stop. We don't pause. We don't listen.
We all keep talking and talking and shouting and yelling and espousing and insisting and telling and....you get the picture (I hope).
Look at our society in the United States today, heck, look at the global society of mankind. What a mess we've all made. Everyone portends to know better than everyone within shouting distance. Add in social media and we can tell the world how very right we are on every single topic available for discussion. Perish the fool who argues with us, debates us, and could prove us wrong. We are supreme in our own little minds, all humans are much smaller minded that we will ever admit. Just look at the social media platform Facebook: countless times in the past month alone I have witnessed epithets declaring that if you do not conform to the poster's ideals and beliefs, you will be (gasp) UNFRIENDED, perhaps even BLOCKED. wow. just wow.
What happened to 'plays well with others'? Remember that line on our old-fashioned report cards from school days years ago? None of us are playing well with others. None of us. And this needs to stop.
Get a grip, folks. We've had a global pandemic that at first sounded like the virus was part of the common cold family, but turned out to be 'slippery' (that means it mutates frequently so that it can find new ways to spread its contagion). The death rate with COVID-19 is low, but if one contracts it in its most severe form, the death is slow and miserable. There are those who insist it is a hoax. There are those who are ready to panic because we all may catch this bug and die. Neither one of those is a good scenario. There are now those who scoff at any medically related advice like wearing masks, stating that masks do no good, requiring masks is an infringement of constitutional rights, that masks do more harm than good to the wearer. There are those who are sure that once the United States 2020 Presidential election has come and gone, the virus will no longer be a threat (see hoax above).
Indeed 2020 is an odd year to say the least. Some declare that we are nearing the Rapture as prophesied in the Holy Bible, based on these plagues to mankind. Some places on the planet are dealing locusts or other bugs. Wild fires suddenly appear. Last year (2019) Australia suffered terribly with wild fires. Oh wait, 2020 is supposed to be the odd year if you listen to most folks right now. Riots and associated looting have sprung up globally following the alleged murder of a man named George Floyd in Minneapolis. Yes, I said alleged. I know what the video shows and what my belief is (that George Floyd died of wrongful death during an arrest), BUT, I know that in this country part of our constitutional rights/legal system declares that we each have the right to a fair trial, meaning that those who report on any deaths are to use the term 'alleged' if foul play is suspected and that the accused criminal has the right to be heard in a court of law - and that the prosecution has the burden to prove guilt, not the other way around (that the accused must prove innocence). I know what the video shows and I feel strongly that the police in Minneapolis used excessive force, BUT there is more to the story.
Mr Floyd had a checkered past (as do many of us in different ways), but he was not on trial for his misbehavior in his past when the incident that took his life occurred. He was being pursued a suspect of an immediate crime at the time. So many things could have happened differently that day. He could have not passed a suspected counterfeit monetary note. He could have not run when it was clear he was being pursued. The police could have cuffed him when they took him down, shackling him in the police vehicle. The policeman in question could have eased up on the pressure on Mr Floyd's neck area. So many things could have happened differently. But they did not. We cannot change what happened that day as much as many of us would love to see a different, less violent ending. We have to accept that that ugly day happened.
Mr Floyd died and many people chose to make his death into that of a martyr. Grief is a personal event, sometimes spilling to our neighbors, our communities, and, in the case of Mr Floyd, to our country, to our planet. Protests over his death began. Protests over improper tactics used by bad policemen. Not all policemen are bad, but protests against all policemen arose. And then, the rioting. Violent riots. And looting. None of which will bring Mr Floyd back for anyone who knew him personally. Businesses destroyed. Vehicles destroyed. Homes and lives destroyed. Far more than just Mr Floyd's life and the life of that police officer's family has been destroyed and it doesn't appear to be slowing down.
Now, there are people raising the issues again of Black Lives Matter (which, as a white person, I'm not offended that Black lives matter, but so do the lives of all people of all colors and shades, from albino white to the darkest dark tone, to olive hues, and crimson skin). Historical monuments are being defaced and destroyed. As if tearing down symbols of the history of all of us (history that is bad and good, good and bad) will bring Mr Floyd back. Erasing history and symbols of historic moments will not restore Mr Floyd's life any more than it will bring back my late dad who passed away over 22 years ago. Death doesn't work that way. When you're dead, you're dead. At least physically. But I'm not here to write about the afterlife at the moment; that's an entirely separate blog entry for another day.
Our society is sending mixed signals to itself and from one individual to another. If one takes note of society in general, people tend not to like mixed signals from a date, a romantic partner, significant other, spouse, employer, employee, friend, and so on. Yet here we are. As a country, a people, a nation of varying shades of skin sending mixed signals all over the globe. Many of our states remain shut down due to the pandemic, so much so that funerals remain private with guests not permitted to attend. Yet, Mr Floyd had several funeral/memorial services, very publicly attended. We are supposed to social distance, not visit loved ones in long-term care facilities / hospitals, funerals, but no one is stopping multiple public funeral services of a man who was under pursuit and died at the hands of the police who halted his escape. No one is stopping the rioters and looters. Sections of cities are being overtaken by various groups espousing Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other pet causes. White supremacists are being blamed. White people are being blamed. If you aren't one of them, then you're to blame.
All of a sudden we're all to blame for what happened 100+ years ago. Acts of slavery that were perpetrated by some of our ancestors, not all, are not being placed on the shoulders of people who would not harm a fly on the windowsill, let alone another human being.
Yes, slavery was and is horrible. That human beings can treat their fellow men and women with such ugly disregard is nauseating at best, and that is pushing it. Slavery didn't just happen in the United States after we formed our own country. It was happening here and in other countries around the globe. Each society may have used different terminology, methods, and races, but slavery itself has been around basically as long as humans have. We like having others do for us, rather than us doing for them. We like to feel superior.
It doesn't matter whether your from Asia, Africa, Europe, America, or anywhere in between, we all like to feel important. Sadly, horribly for some, the method by which we feel important often comes at the expense of other humans.
Remember when your report card showed if you 'played well with others'? Well, apparently a lot more people in recent years did not play well with others, or they were taught that it just doesn't matter. And I'm not talking about people of any specific skin tone who are protesting or rioting. I'm talking about all of us. Apparently, in learning to express our individuality (as encouraged in many self-help books), our individuality and rights must supersede the individuality and rights of everyone around us. That's not how it was intended, I believe, but it has surely morphed and here we are.
Shouting. Yelling. Demanding. Insisting. Looting. Destroying. Unfriending.
We all need to spend time in some timeouts, or with our nose in the corner until we can be nice. Or, sitting on chairs facing each other til we calm down and can speak nicely to each other again.
I've seen dear friends berating and unfriending each other because they disagree over the wisdom and safety of face masks during a pandemic. Heck some even call names, basically saying another is chicken if they wear one, or stupid if they don't. We have received immense amounts of medical data, smothered in public opinion over the past few months, to the point, can any fact-checker actually find the facts? I dare say if I provide you a study on the efficacy of a mask, I will immediately find another equally valid study fully substantiating the danger of wearing a mask. Add to this, those who surmise it is all a government plot, a Democratic Party plot, a deep-state plot, a plot by some unknown evil entity to take away all our civil liberties, and you have one fine mess. There are those who blame the United States President Donald Trump. There are those who blame all the Democratic Party state governors and mayors. There are those who blame a huge mistake in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. There are those who blame a bat in a meat market in Wuhan, China. There are those declare it's racist to call it the Wuhan Virus even though that's from where it originated.
I fear that pretty soon, we won't be 'permitted' to call the sky the sky, the ocean the ocean, the earth the earth. Hopefully, I can still call myself: I, me, my, mine, myself, and all other appropriate grammar references to the first person. Oh guess what? I can do that. AND you can still be you, you, yours, yourself, and so on. Because, guess what? Those are genuine parts of the English language as we have been taught for decades in our schools! Sadly, there are those at universities today who seemed to have completely missed the memo when it comes to gender usage in the parts of speech. They should study a few foreign languages; they would soon learn that the common declensions are 1st person "I" with "we" for the plural, 2nd person "you", third person "he, she, it" with "they" for the plural. Once a person learns a fair amount of good grammar, the other spoken disasters we're reading and listening to, via social media and many biased news agencies, can be diagrammed into complete sentences, run-ons, incomplete thoughts, split infinitives, incorrect subject-verb usage, poor singular vs plural pronoun examples. From there, it is easier to spot the flaws in logic, the misleading stories, the facts vs the fantasy.
How I wish that all school students, prior to matriculation, were required to pass courses in argumentation & debate, along with the philosophy of logic. I was blessed to fit them into my university studies as side course, not required of my major. There are 10 main fallacies to be found in flawed logic, ranging from the infamous red herring to the circular argument. (Go ahead, this is your chance to learn something new: Google search for fallacies and then keep reading, several articles, not just one.) Our media today has sadly traveled beyond solid journalistic reporting and fallen into frequent use of fallacies to build up platforms for pet projects of the various writers and their 'bosses/employers.' Our schools of higher education, especially those based on the liberal arts, actively promote the fallacy of political correctness, teaching that there are only certain words that are acceptable. This begins the slide into censorship, thought control, population manipulation. It was delightful when institutions promoted free thought and decision making, when they taught that we could assess situations on our own and make qualified decisions based on our prior experiences and education. More and more frequently our young people are being taught that self worth means, e.g., that everyone must get a trophy, that everyone must come out on top, that there are no losers (who wants to be a loser), that if we do lose the fault belongs to anyone but ourselves.
And so, we have a global pandemic that started in another country than mine, but at this point, it makes no difference. The virus is here. No amount of masks or vaccines or treatments will kill it off. Polio still exists, no one killed it off. The powers-that-be just have it under control. Same with the COVID-19 corona Wuhan virus, what ever you call it. It exists. We cannot pretend that it doesn't. People have died from it, some have shown barely any symptoms.
We have experienced an unnecessary death of an alleged criminal by horribly inappropriate actions of a police officer. We cannot change that and pretend it didn't happen. Mr Floyd died.
The truth in the midst of all this chaos is simple: we are all human, imperfect and finite. We will all die, our physical bodies will have life terminate at some unscheduled moment, but there is no stopping death. It happens.
How we respond to the facts of death and life and existing with one another is something over which we have dominion. We make the choices to fall into those who are called sheep or those who are free-thinkers. If you look at many social media debates today, most of them are two-sided and both sides consider themselves to be the free-thinkers and their opposition to be the sheep. It's practically laughable. Each group is falling politely into the places the chess-masters would have them stand.
Division in this country isn't caused by the President. Division isn't caused by a dead man. Division isn't caused by the actual act of rioting. Division is caused by each one of us, every single day. We make the choice to share good or bad. We make the choice to threaten or de-escalate. We make the choice to tell tall tales or the truth. We make the choice to spread rumors or lift up our neighbors. We make choices that do harm or good to ourselves and our fellow humans. How we make those choices is up to us.
Yelling at your best friends over the good or bad of face masks creates a division. Educate, but do not belittle.
My late mum, and my late dad, always said you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. But, at the end of the day, you may have to swat the darn fly anyway.
Before you swat, try the honey. You may actually like some of the flies you catch. You might find those you thought were flies next door, or in the big city, or in another country, are actually gorgeous butterflies. Get to know them.
You and I cannot change our death or the death of Mr Floyd, or the deaths of the elderly in long-term care homes from any virus. BUT, we can enforce that our laws, designed to be fair for the victim and the accused are followed and enforced. We can expect that our country's foundation in the Constitution and Bill of Rights will be upheld for the betterment of all citizens (illegal arrivals is a topic for another day) and visitors. We can tell our representatives in government that we will accept no less than upholding the laws of the land. We can protect one another's property and life, but we do not need to be in argument with everyone to do so. We can be the respect all humans' rights, learn to 'play well with others', and not to further the sorry display of discord we've been witnessing over the past few months.
We each have a power to excel and be superior in that we can teach, lead, set examples, without harming the dignity of our friends and perfect strangers. We owe it ourselves and to each other. Let our country be the example of its name: The UNITED States of America, not the divided states. Physical life is finite. Let's not waste it in temporary arguments and brain-washing. Let us value the lives of every human and work together to find resolution, peace, and wellness.
--The two memes included with this blog were found on social media; I take no credit for their creation whatsoever and I intend no profit from their use, simple to emphasize my verbiage.