I love every ethnicity we have in this world/country, but prejudice is never going away. It will remain as long as humans are capable of having/creating seriously misguided ideas and beliefs, and then perpetuating those ideas/beliefs through subsequent generations. But, pouring gasoline onto a fire that has already cost the world millions of lives is pointless and ignorant. Prejudice comes in so many forms including, but not limited to, race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, mental illness, how much you weigh, what you look like, and etc. The only way to change any of this is to change yourself, and the way you view the world.
It is tough to be any kind of person in this world, but the toughest kind of person to be is an unconditionally loving, forgiving, and non-prejudice person. I'm tired of people complaining about other people being prejudice. Just because your form of prejudice isn't widespread, or mainstream, doesn't mean you aren't prejudiced. It just means you've found some less controversial subject to be prejudiced about. All that anger people are hanging onto doesn't only hurt them, but also serves to continue this vicious cycle of hatred and violence. If you buy into that cycle for one second, you are part of the problem, and not the solution.
People are starving to death in third world countries across the globe. They are dying from terrible diseases people in this country don't even have to bat a damn eyelash over, but you want to be pissed over some pointless, antiquated ideology? Corporations are quietly buying up natural resources from people not educated enough to tell them to get lost, then sucking every last ounce of ground water from the land and reselling it to the people they just stole it from for a 53 million percent mark up. Where is all the outrage over that? I hope you enjoy that bottled water Nestlé’s is selling you, but just maybe you should be paying more attention to how they are procuring their product.
Maybe we should spend more time worrying about these giant corporations destroying our environment. Maybe you should pay attention to the fact that we aren't even considered a democracy anymore; we are now considered an oligarchy because guess who has the most influence over political policy? It isn't the average American.
If you think the worse thing to happen in the last month was the shooting of an 18 year old in Ferguson, who, as it may turn out, isn’t as saintly as originally portrayed by the media, then you need a wake up call. The media lies hourly. Almost 300 innocent people died when their passenger plane was shot out of the sky. But, I’ve heard that it doesn’t concern us, because it didn’t happen here. And isn't that just another form of prejudice? If it doesn't directly affect me, it doesn't matter. Yeah, I think it is, but it is also the worst form of prejudice, because that means atrocities all over the world, and in your backyard, are being quietly swept under the rug. It is the easy way out. We are all guilty of seeing what we want to see, so am I. Every single one of us is an important piece of this potentially great and amazing puzzle that is the human species, our problem comes when we place more value on certain pieces than on the whole puzzle.
For those who try to argue that we can’t make a difference…that is a bullshit lie some of us like to tell ourselves so we don’t feel as guilty for not taking action or helping. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a perfect example of how we can help make the world a better place for other people if we unite in a cause. Social media is making it extraordinarily easy for us to do these kinds of things for the world, but most of the time is it used for pointless nonsense and celebrity gossip. Why does something have to entertain us in order for us to take action to solve a problem? What is wrong with us? How long are we going to let the bystander effect prevent us from helping someone other than ourselves? Do you really think the world is going to get better if you just stand by watching and waiting for someone else to fix the problem? I don’t.
Here is what our society currently believes to be the right and normal course of action for one's life. An individual must attend a college or university to obtain a degree, which will subsequently provide you with the necessary experience to procure a job that pays you enough to live comfortably and debt free. What they are very careful not to inform you of is the very high cost of getting said education. They also fail to mention that if your family can not afford to provide you with the funding necessary to pay for the degree or degrees, then you will have to apply for grants, which are not always granted or sufficient enough to cover all of your expenses. At which point, you have to apply for student loans and here is where things become beyond absurd. You apply for the loans, and they give them to you, because it is in their best interest to loan you money that they know you cannot pay back within a short period. This allows them to charge you interest on what you owe until you can pay it off, so you end up paying more for an education than it is actually worth at the time you received it. After you finish your degree, you enter the job market to find that not only is your degree useless, unless it is highly specialized, but also that there aren’t any jobs to be had, because your predecessors are unscrupulous businessmen and politicians who would very much like to keep you in debt for the remainder of your life. So, I wonder how exactly one can reasonably be expected to pay off a student loan debt, without any prospects for a job that will scarcely afford them the income to pay for day-to-day living expenses.
I am really trying to understand why society thinks it is perfectly acceptable for us to ask future generations to saddle themselves with mountains of debt that they will spend the first half of their adult lives trying to pay off.
While we are on education, I must address the complete mess that is the public school system. I fully understand and respect the need for a well-rounded education, but from my perspective, there have not been any progressive changes in what schools teach for a while. We have requirements for math, science, history, language, and the humanities. All of these subjects are still very relevant for the betterment of society, but I believe that a firm understanding of financial management, current political policy, and cultural diversity will go much farther in helping develop fully functioning, well-educated members of society. We do not currently provide our kids with the tools they need to live productive and happy lives, and inevitably, they will suffer for it as will their children.
That said; let me turn my attention toward the unmitigated disaster that is the American healthcare system. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself with a chronic or potentially terminal illness and simultaneously without health insurance, you can safely bet that you will either not be treated or end up in medical debt substantial enough for you to lose everything. I really hope you have the aforementioned student loan debts paid off in this case, otherwise your best bet would be filing for bankruptcy. Just be cognizant of the fact that your credit rating is garbage for 7 to 10 years following that decision. Am I the only one wondering why one of the wealthiest countries in the world is incapable of providing its citizens with affordable healthcare? Take note I said affordable, not free. I think we can agree that many, not all, health problems present themselves through no fault of the patient. Yet hospitals seem to have no issues with charging people more money then they can make in a lifetime for some treatments and more than they can make in a month for lesser ones. It is rather convenient of them to forget the part of the Hippocratic Oath that states, “I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.” I could be wrong in my interpretation, but if your responsibility includes these related problems I am fairly certain that means you should not rob your patients blind if you want your treatments to be effective. There is plenty of research indicating that high stress levels can negatively affect the course of treatment of a patient. Would it not be wiser to lessen the financial stress of patients if successful treatment is the ultimate goal? Perhaps I am mistaken.
Finally, I will address the issue of banks; they are, after all, the ones loaning you all of this money. I think some people forget that the money these people are playing games with is yours. We opened the accounts with these people; it is our money, or interest off that money, that they are using to get rich. They would not exist without us, but what should make you angry is that the government used taxpayer money to bailout corporations that destroyed the world economy. You should be angry that the avarice of a few went unpunished and unquestioned, while the lives of many fell to pieces. There was no bailout for the majority, but you can be sure that the government took care of the ones funding their campaigns. I think it is time that politicians start earning their campaign funds through hard work and integrity, instead of false promises and corporate contributions. Our leaders are bought and sold by the same people that brought about a global recession. The only question now is do we continue to let a few slowly destroy what the Founding Fathers set out to build? Or, do we show them that we refuse to be pawns in their horribly corrupted chess game?
Despite the fact that Pericles’ Funeral Oration is believed to have been written by his wife, there is no doubt that his delivery of the speech likely had the desired effect on the people. It is unfortunate though that the Athenians, and all Greeks, of the time so deprived themselves of the wisdom of women leaders, when clearly there were brilliant women living and thinking. Athens became only half of what it could have been and likely their unwillingness to allow the democracy to evolve, as all institutions should, to a point where none are excluded from participation contributed to their eventual downfall. Every person, educated and uneducated, has something to contribute to the world, whether it be a small deed or significant enough to touch many.
Society seems to still be struggling with this concept in everything from religion to business to education and politics. There is a severe lack of diversity in the United States government, though we are slowly improving. Many prominent churches don’t allow women to preach to congregations. Why is that? We are no less capable of communion with the divine. The business world seems to be evolving at a decent pace, but it still has its shortcomings. Education, while it appears to have made the most advances, still is not sufficient.
Pericles’ mentioned in his speech that, “our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance; our love of things of the mind does not make us soft.” Art seems to be fading from our public school systems and philosophy is nonexistent. It is strange that a society built on the foundations of a culture such as Athens would so neglect these aspects in the building and rebuilding of their own society. Why is it not important? Our imaginations and dreams are what we use to construct a better future for the next generation; we should be fostering our youth in their imaginations not robbing them of their childhood. Art should be a requirement in all education from the start, because it allows for personal reflection and expression. It allows us to see the world differently from each other and to reinvent old and tired concepts. The study of philosophy is still held in high esteem by our society, yet most students won’t have ready access to it until college. There are young people alive today more brilliant than their predecessors, but we do not give them due credit because they lack experience. Wisdom does not necessarily come with age, for there are many old fools who still refuse to give up worn out ideals.
We are all ignorant to some degree, but ignorance is its most dangerous when in the company of arrogance. This is when a person or society can do the most damage to themselves and others. To be so convinced that only your perception of things is correct to the extent that no fresh ideas are allowed to enter the mind is cultural suicide. In the Athenian dialogue with the Melians this is exactly what happens. That idea the Athenians held of “might makes right” had devastating consequences for their neighboring city/states and eventually for themselves. History shows time and again that the stagnation of thought leads only to the destruction of individuals and their countries. So, our society should take heed not to push out the new or radical ideas, because those concepts may end up being what preserves our culture.
There are many great aspects to the Greek culture, ideas that are timeless and useful in any generation. However, there were also many areas of life they paid little or no attention to, perhaps because they thought them insignificant. No aspect of a society should be ignored; no person or group of people in a society should be ignored. You can not complete a jigsaw puzzle with only half the pieces, just as you can not build a lasting civilization with only half a people.
I have a tendency to sit by windows and stare out at the world; I started doing this at a very young age. It gave me an opportunity to think about why things are the way they are and to sort through my feelings. I was in my first apartment for a few months, and the foot of my bed was against the bedroom window. When I woke up one morning, I looked out my window into the field behind the complex, which had a couple of old cars sitting around rusting. There was bunch of other junk piled back there and a fallen tree across the length of the field. On most occasions, I didn't see anyone back there, but on that morning, there was this old man kind of poking around looking at the cars. So, I watched him through the blinds and a few minutes later, an old woman came walking towards him. Well she got up to where the fallen tree was in the field and tried to step over. Unfortunately, she misjudged the distance and landed flat on her face. The old man was oblivious to all of this, until the woman started wailing. He rushed to her side as fast as his old body could carry him and picked her up. She was hysterical, but he stayed calm and brushed all the dirt off her clothes. She motioned to her face; he inspected her injuries, and then promptly hugged her until she was calm. Then they headed out of the field, hand in hand, I imagine toward home to get her cleaned up. I was very concerned for her and almost opened my window to ask if they needed help, but I am glad I didn't interfere, because they helped me learn an important lesson.
What I realized that day is that true love is not about giving your partner everything or fixing all their problems for them; it is about helping pick them up and dust them off when they need it most. I knew that what I wanted wasn’t a perfect person, but merely someone willing to love me enough to take that journey through life and only pick me up when it was truly necessary.
My musings on things I've experienced.