Where’s Our Moral Compass These Days?

moral_compass

Daily now, we’re faced with the divisiveness pervading our country. Politics has really played a number with us over the past couple of years, but this isn’t about politics. At almost 60 years old, I have never in my life seen anything like it. I have seen elections play out through the years while both sides put out political ads insulting the other. I remember a time when people were criticized for doing that and that was nothing compared to how it is now. We are being subjected to behavior that is so offensive and unacceptable that my mouth literally falls open at some of what I see and hear. When did we turn into human beings that allow this type of behavior and what are we going to do about it?

I’m going to leave the actual political debates aside here. I am, however, holding our elected officials, individually, accountable for a large portion of our current problems. They are setting the standards and they are the ones lowering them by accepting things that should not be acceptable. To me, this problem is so much bigger than politics. I think, beyond the political culture, the continuing tolerance for ill behavior by SO MANY people in the recent months is shocking. I have a hard time believing what we now consider acceptable. We have to stop blaming the political parties as a whole and look at the individuals involved and hold them accountable for their behavior. This is not a political problem; it’s a humanity problem.

When did it become tolerable to blatantly admit to sexually assaulting women and think that it’s okay?  In fact, even if the abuse is admitted, the victims are still subject to skepticism, doubt, and disbelief. Often, there aren’t even repercussions for these actions. Why do we find it so hard to believe the victim and find it so easy to find excuses for the accused? Why are there different levels of blame based on who it is, whether it’s your political party or based on the color of the person or the nationality of the person involved? When did it become okay for the KKK and other hate groups to be open about their hatred? In what world is it okay for them to spew hate and violence and not even worry about repercussions? I feel like somebody opened that door that we all knew to keep locked and we’re facing what’s there. We know it’s been there, but have been able to keep it at bay until now. We’ve tried hard to remedy these biases and have worked to do better as human beings. I feel like we’ve just been set back by decades. Why aren’t our elected officials, in all capacities, dealing with these issues as a country and not blindly following along party lines? These issues are defining us as a country, as a people. It’s their responsibility to treat these issues accordingly. These topics, like so many others that are now occurring on a daily basis, need to be addressed swiftly and surely. There really is no other acceptable choice. What kind of world do we want to live in? What kind of world do we want our children and grandchildren to be part of? I think it’s time to make that choice and do something about it before we continue to lower our standards as human beings.

The lies that we’re subjected to daily by some of our elected officials and some of the media are also not acceptable. The fact that these falsehoods roll so easily off of their tongues is a bigger problem to me than the lie itself. Since when is it tolerable to simply make things up and put them out there as truth? Even when caught, they feel no responsibility to correct it. These same government officials that we have elected to preserve our rights, to look out for our interests, are just as culpable as anybody else. The race to put through their own agenda has put our health and welfare at risk. Many of them have admitted to not knowing the details of the plans put before them yet are completely comfortable voting on them. Now millions of us are living in fear daily as to what’s going to happen to us. The fact that we entrusted these people to do their due diligence means nothing. They continue to vote in a manner that critically affects those most vulnerable while enabling those most fortunate to continue to line their pockets.

Most of what I read and hear these days is so hypocritical that it angers me to listen. It seems as if everybody has one set of beliefs and absolutely refuses to listen to anything that differs from it. There appears to no longer be a way of working together, of working in the best interest of the people or of simply acknowledging that there’s a right and wrong. People are put on television to excuse others’ words, actions, and behaviors. It’s as if they can make it okay if they can make enough people believe it is. We’ll make up excuses to support our view. We’ll bend the truth as far as we can to look at things the way we want to see them. When did this become okay?

I know that there is a group of people out there that are perfectly fine with the way things are going. They clearly embrace the violence and the hate and are taking advantage of the direction we’re headed. There’s another group of people that are simply unaware of the changes taking place and may not pay much attention to politics or our changing standards. Their world may not have been affected much. That’s pretty tempting given the amount of coverage and mind-boggling accusations being tossed around. It’s easy to tell ourselves that it will work itself out. There’s another group of people, though, that are working hard to fight this culture, to hold themselves and others to higher standards, to uphold the constitution and morals of our country. These are the people that are trying to keep our country great, to maintain our standing as the best country in the world and to look out for each other. That’s the group that I want to be part of.

I want to go back to the world I grew up in, one where there’s a right and a wrong. Right means behaving in a manner that is moral, that is honest and that is appropriate. Wrong is selfish, hypocritical, and negative. I really don’t understand how these two things can be confused. Lies, violence, and inappropriate behavior or words should not be tolerated or excused by anybody. Our humanity has taken a steep dive and I think we’ve continued to move the bar in a negative way and accepted way more than we should have as normal. I don’t know how much longer we can allow this to continue and still remain the country of people that we want to be. I think it’s time for each one of us to say we’ve had enough. We deserve the honor, the integrity, and the respect that our ancestors worked so hard to create for our country. We cannot and should not give that up. We need to raise the bar again; raise our expectations for those that represent us. Hold people accountable for behavior that is not representative of our country. Women, children, disabled people, people of color, people of different religions…nobody… in this world should have to be afraid daily or treated in a substandard manner. Hatred and violence should not be a daily occurrence where we just shrug our shoulders.  I’m tired of being afraid of what our representatives are doing and being embarrassed and angry. We deserve a country that we’re proud of and a government that supports us and puts our best interests first. I think it starts with each one of us and what we can do to change it. Make a phone call or write a letter. Get involved. Vote for whoever represents your values and vote out those that don’t! Let your voice be heard and let your actions be representative of how you want our world to be. Stand up for what’s right and don’t accept less.

After Charlottesville

broken_heart
broken heart

I feel like I need to say something about all that’s happened over the past few days. I’ve tried extremely hard to be fair in writing about politics, even though I have very strong feelings. However, this has now exceeded my level of patience.

This post, though, is not just about politics, nor just about bigotry, hatred, or prejudice. This post is about my personal take on humanity. I can’t just sit here and not say anything. I’ve felt the words building up in my chest for months, watched the state of our country deteriorate and our faith in our government’s ability to do the right things erode. I’m outraged, embarrassed, and disgusted by where we seem to be headed as a country. There have been many disappointing decisions made over the months, but there seems to be such an underlying negative pervasiveness and tolerance of it with this administration that I’m genuinely worried for us for the first time in my life. I’ve been trying to convince myself that it will all get straightened out and that I’m overreacting, but I cannot let go of this feeling of foreboding.

I am going to say up front that I did not vote for Mr. Trump. He frightened me and disgusted me with his violence, his disdain for principles, and his propensity for lying, even when the truth would have been easier. These things signaled to me that he would not be good for the individual people we are nor as a country as a whole. To me, a president is responsible for standing up for ALL of us, for each one of us, individually, as well as a country. This past weekend demonstrated, beyond all doubt, that he is incapable of representing us as we deserve. Not only did he fail to denounce the actions in Charlottesville as they were happening, nor afterwards, in the harsh words that we deserved, but dug his heels in on the matter. People surrounding the president, people in both parties, people all across the country condemned him for his weak response and he stubbornly refused to say what the people were begging to hear. I believe we deserve better than this, but that’s my opinion and something I address on an individual level.

What I want to say about this weekend is much more important than just one president that won’t represent all people. First of all, I want to apologize to ALL people who have ever felt slighted, denied, treated unfairly or hated based upon their color, race, religion, age, gender, sex, lifestyle, etc. (basically, all of us). Obviously some are far more serious than others, but few of us are unaffected.  We can all say that we have a reason to feel like we have been stereotyped or treated differently just like we can all say that we, in turn, have made judgments against others based on various reasons. There are very few among us that can say, in all honesty, that they are without fault.

I think a lot of our inner beliefs come from various sources: history, family beliefs, environment, community, friends, opportunities, and individual experiences. However, how we behave, what we choose to learn, how we grow and expand our thinking and how we react to each other is completely within our own control. At what point do we accept personal responsibility for ourselves and not blame our behavior on something or someone else. At what point do we stop blaming other people for our own circumstances?

I’m going to qualify myself here so that you can understand my perspective. I’m a white woman, almost 60 years old. My experiences throughout life were both good and bad. Have I experienced things based on my gender, age, and/or race? Yep, although not nearly as significant as some others have. Sadly, most of us have and it is a part of our lives. There are varying levels of significance, but I’m writing from my experience and perspective. I will not let any of the things that I’ve experienced change who I am. Everybody has their own set of circumstances that make up who they are. It is my decision on how I react to incidents of bigotry, unfair treatment, or racism. Each of us has to react in the way that reflects the person that they want to be. Have I always said and done exactly the right thing myself? No, but I will say that I’ve grown, I’ve learned, and I always strive to be the best person that I can be. I’ve learned to be more vocal about the wrongs that I see, to stand up for what’s right. We all make mistakes; mistakes don’t define us. Our intent, our beliefs, our words and our actions make up who we are.

I can unequivocally say that I’m very sorry for all the horrible things that have happened throughout history. We all know the many people that were affected, from the beginning of time, by the hatred and violence of those that inflicted unforgivable acts. The current reality, however, is that we are not in a position to remedy any of these things. We cannot go back in time to set things right. We cannot make up for the injustices of so many acts that have been perpetrated throughout the decades, the centuries, to so many different groups of people. Our ancestors lived a different reality than we do. Our future generations are going to live a different reality than ours is. We cannot change the fact that these things happened, but we can make sure that it never happens again!

As bad as the circumstances surrounding this weekend were, there is hope in the swift and ferocious condemnation against these hate groups. It means that so many of us, across all races and religions, have grown, we’ve learned from the past and will not accept this type of hate. It’s up to ALL of us to continue this vigilance. THIS is our responsibility going forward. We cannot change the past but we can change the present and the future for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren. This is a defining moment and one that is important to every single one of us. We each need to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions every single moment of every single day.

I think it’s very unfortunate that we have a president and his administration that are incapable of leading us in this effort. I’m really sad that he is unable to soothe the American people, to reassure us that these types of things will not be tolerated or to condemn the specific people that were responsible for this. That can’t stop us, though. We cannot allow haters and bigots to win. We are a better people than that.

We, the individual people, are America. We are individually responsible for how our country will evolve. Not one of us can go back in time; we cannot change what’s happened before right this minute. We must, however, do a better job of being human beings. I’m so sad today that anybody in this world is forced to feel “less than” anybody else let alone to endure such hatred and violence as we’ve been witness to. I’m literally nauseous watching the new information coming through on a constant basis. My heart breaks for the people forced to endure hate or prejudice. It makes me ashamed as an American today, but it also makes me hopeful that maybe, just maybe, now will be the time of real change that we’re capable of. I’m hopeful that, even without the leadership that we deserve right now, we will be able to join together to defeat this threat.

Who In The World Are We?

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I don’t even know what to say today.

I’m so confused, disappointed, frightened, and angry at what we’ve allowed our reality to become. When and why did we allow this to happen to us, as a people? It seems to me that it has evolved over time to the point that we are now accepting of the fact that hate is normal and there really is no minimum expectation of behavior anymore. Anybody can say anything they want to with no repercussions. This growing tolerance of unacceptable behavior has evolved into violent action and increasing and overwhelming incidents of hate.

I feel that, during this time of political upheaval and discourse, it’s been easy to blame politics (and politicians). I am embarrassed to admit that I, too, have developed feelings of disappointment, disgust, and yes, even anger, over the past year. I don’t care which side you were on, you had a reason to feel these emotions.  We do NOT, however, have a right to act on them, other than in a positive way.  We should be taking those feelings and looking for positive ways to get involved and effect change. We, as human beings, do not have a right to violence, to hate, to intolerance. Each one of us is a human being entitled to an opinion, a behavior, and a lifestyle of our own choosing. Not one of us is a perfect human. How dare we think we are better than anybody else or that we, alone, are right about everything? Yes, we’re entitled to feelings, but we are not entitled to say or do anything that we want. I don’t care who you are. You can be the guy next door or the president of the United States. We seem to have lost respect for basic human interaction. We need to hold each other accountable again. Continue reading “Who In The World Are We?”

Thought for the Day

Regardless of which political party you are, the fact that we are in such turmoil 24 hours/day, every single day, is a problem.

I sure wish our elected officials would ALL just do their job in the interest of the American people, not their party.  We need to get honest answers, come to a consensus, and move on as a unified country, whether happy with the result or not.  We can’t keep doing this.

 

 

Republicans, Democrats, Americans

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American

I am SO frustrated right now with our politics.  I honestly feel embarrassed as an American today.  Don’t misunderstand me; I’m still very glad to be an American, but I’m not proud of who we are right now and I’m embarrassed as we play out our squabbles on the world stage.

There are obviously so many issues going on right now that we are simply unable to even keep up with the many darts being thrown left and right.  It seems as if every day, every hour in fact on some days, brings new topics of conversation to the table and none of them are clear-cut and very few of them are ever resolved.  They are simply being replaced with a new topic du jour.  There is a sense of intrigue, of conspiracy, and of distrust in all things being conveyed nowadays.  The average person honestly doesn’t know what is true and what is not anymore.  The fact that we have our highest level of politicians calling each other liars and putting out inaccurate information is humiliating to me as a citizen.  There is so much stuff being thrown into the air that people cannot keep up and that’s pretty scary to me.  I like to understand what’s going on with things that are relative to my safety, security, and my human rights (and everybody else’s). Continue reading “Republicans, Democrats, Americans”

I Don’t Want to be Involved in Politics!

politics
politics

You know, I’m just a regular Joe(sephine).  I never had political aspirations.  I’m not particularly religious.  So WHY do I now find myself poring over news stations and articles to find out the latest on what’s going on with our new government?  Why am I now taking extra blood pressure medicine almost daily?  Why am I learning so much more about politics, religion, and government?  Why am I suddenly afraid of our future and where we’re going as a country?  Because we are heading to crazy town right now, with our new president driving the bus. Continue reading “I Don’t Want to be Involved in Politics!”