Friday, February 7, 2014

What have we become?

 “If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
 ― Paulo Coelho

In my life, technology has rapidly advanced. It befuddles my children to think that I was alive before the Internet existed. While our lives today revolve around the web, I remember a simpler time, before the Internet, before hash tags and social media. I remember actually getting together with friends and visiting rather than hasty snap chats and a time when you kept your opinion  to yourself, unless it was something that truly needed to be said. While the web has improved our lives in many ways, sometimes I feel as though, we as a society have become jaded, cynical and just not very nice anymore. The ever ending stream of information seems to have changed who we are and perhaps not for the better.
I'm cable free. I wasn't always, but after 9/11, I just couldn't take television anymore. It was a traumatic day for our entire country, but over and over and over, the images were played and the news would play a horrifying musical piece to announce more bad news or to rehash the same story. I quit. I was never much of a TV person to begin with, although I enjoy some shows, I couldn't stand the constant advertising and consumerism being shoved down my throat every five minutes. I still, however kept my Internet. I prefer the Internet. I can pick and choose for the most part what I want to read or see, no commercials (if you ignore the ads) and no breaking news stories flashing across my screen interrupting my world. And for the record, YouTube, YES, I will always choose to "Skip this ad" .
That doesn't mean I don't come across things now and then that disturb me, outrage me or make me cry. I still read the news, but skip over the things that are not relevant to my life and skip the arguments and ignorant comments in the remarks section. I don't use Facebook personally. I do maintain a business page, only because everyone has Facebook, but I can't see their feeds or posts and I like it that way. It bothers me that our country is in such upheaval and we, the people can't seem to agree on anything. Gun control, welfare, abortion. Democrat vs. Republican. And it's all nonsense. We are human, we will disagree, but too many people are wrongly influenced by what they see or hear without even knowing what they are talking about and everyone has an opinion they want heard. It seems on the Internet, even the most outlandish opinions are thrown out there without hesitation and what really scares me is others see it and then believe it as well. We have become a nation of hateful and judgemental people. I sheepishly admit, I too, judge far too often. I don't consider myself a brilliant scholar but I do know right from wrong and I was raised with conservative values. I don't want to judge people, but I see moral decay everywhere I turn. Trust me, I'm no angel. I've done my share of sinning and I don't hold a penny between my knees while I sit in a Baptist church every Sunday morning. I was raised however, to not take anything you didn't earn, to respect my elders and to always do the right thing. I personally think what someone does to their body, in their home, their relationship, etc. should not be regulated and under the scrutiny of the government.

If it doesn't affect me, my family or my community personally,  it is none of my damn business. 

 “We judge others instantly by their clothes, their cars, their appearance, their race, their education, their social status. The list is endless. What gets me is that most people decide who another person is before they have even spoken to them. What's even worse is that these same people decide who someone else is, and don't even know who they are themselves.” ― Ashly Lorenzana

Don't like gay marriage?
Don't marry the same sex.
Don't like guns?
Then don't own one.
Don't like tattoos?
Don't get one.
Think your religion is best?
Pray to your God silently. 
Want to see change in the world?
Yes. I know the media has caused massive PTSD in our society with theatrical media stories, pointing finger and screaming conspiracy. We need to believe the facts not the dramatizations. Educate yourself. We live in a world of constant information and anyone with a bit of intelligence should be able to investigate and draw a logical conclusion from all the information available. Change begins with a small step in the right direction. We can't change every wrong in the world, we don't live in Utopia.
Shit happens.
People get killed, houses burn, cars get in accidents, but to expect the government to run around and put a band aid on the whole world with ineffective laws is not only futile, but a waste of time and tax payer money. Bad things will still happen and it doesn't matter if our government is primarily Democrat or Republican, things are still going to happen. We scream people are not compassionate but yet hysteria breaks out over cuts to social welfare programs. I remember a time when a disability was the inability to live and function independently. We now hand government checks to anyone who complains enough. Welfare abuse is down due to welfare reform but now we have horrific abuse in a social security disability programs. We continue to elect corrupt politicians and don't complain or remove them from office for frivolous spending. We continue to buy from corporations who have cut jobs and manipulated the system for financial gain.  We continue to lead a life of debt by falling into the trap of consumerism, believing what we own gives us some kind of status quo. We continue to bank and give our money to banks who have thrown our neighbors into the streets and let homes rot away to be condemned. Housing bubble or Big Business land grab? We have created half the messes we have in this country  ourselves and expect an inept government to fix it? Have we gone completely mad?  We throw names and petition for more laws to protect us from everything, but how is that working? We fight each other over everything and judge one another on our age, gender, sexual orientation, familial status, nationality, abilities, finances.. the list goes on and on.. We are so pitted against one another and the only way to fix it, is to come to a mutual agreement on the basic principles of what is right and wrong and work from there. Why is that so difficult? Opinions are great, but since when did the world have to live by the opinions of another? We can't even begin to agree to disagree and that worries me for any hope for the future.

 “How would your life be different if you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free