freedom

Disparage Du Jour

Soooo, I posted an anecdote a while ago entitled, That’s Like So Totally Racist, a critique of pubescent stupidity that happened to reveal itself around the misusage of the descriptor-of-disparage du jour:  racist.  Let me preface this by saying that I write for amusement, the underlying reason why I do and say ninety-nine percent of the things that I do and say.  The story that I am recounting in TLSTR is not about my personal feelings about racism, it is about being both amused by and annoyed with certain vacuous elements of our youth culture, inexplicably promoted and encouraged, as illustrated by the misuse of a word.

SouthernHerf has quite a few followers, but commenters are primarily limited to my mom and a few others.  It is suspicious, then, that the title with the word “racist” in it continues to generate hundreds and hundreds of comments.  It is more than suspicious;  it is revealing.  There is money in racism, in talking about it, writing about it, complaining about it, feeling it, lying about it, inventing and nurturing it.  These comments flooding in daily I’m sure are from bots looking for who knows what, they won’t find anything on my site, but why is that particular word the search word?  What are they seeking, and from whom?

Personally, I don’t believe in racism, I think it’s nonsense if you take the real definition of the word, not the political inferred adulteration of it.  I do not know anyone who believes one race is superior to another solely based upon their race, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it simply means they are foreign to me.  I know a lot of people, of all races, who are prejudiced against different religious, socioeconomic and/or ethnic groups, but usually it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with feeling more comfortable around similar groups of people.  If we distort a natural attraction to common denominators for political gain or in order to impose control over one group or another, we are courting a fractious society that will not survive.  How will we be able to uncover our similarities, to overcome prejudices, to find our underlying common denominators, if we cannot speak honestly and civilly to one another on any stage whatsoever without recrimination?  Once the word racist is thrown into the wind, we cannot.

Our lives are separate, and our perceptions are sculpted by our realities, which are also completely individual.  If a black man is suspicious of white cops because all they seem to do is arrest black people, well, he is entitled to his suspicion of white cops, which may or may not be legitimate.  It doesn’t mean that either the man or the cop is racist.  We are all free to choose whether to discover, or to judge, every moment of every day.  For now.  And  this is true for all variations of individuals, and the decision of one individual is no definitive descriptor of an entire society, nor should it be.

I long for the days before identity politics, rampant race-bating, blame-gaming, and scape-goating.  I long for the days of politicians who didn’t feel so important that they deserved entourages, immunity, and insider trading privileges.  I miss the days of the jokes poking fun at every class and strand of human being that stood apart, and the character it required of all to not be offended.  I miss the days when good was good, and bad was bad, and we all knew which was which, and nihilism was safely ensconsed in the offices of academia, a concept to flirt with, but never to marry.  I miss when people were just people and it was the content of their character that mattered, not the color of their skin…ahem.  Mostly, I miss goodness.  I miss the feeling that we as a nation, as a people, are good and kind and generous, a belief that now would be thought of as jingoist and xenophobic and ignorant.

I wonder whether our duplicitous elected officials are reflections of us, or if we are of them.  I hope it is neither, but it may be a sum of both.  The preoccupation in public education with diversity, division and victimization helps keep us as a society internally and externally separate.  It feeds the fire of hatred by packing it with distortions and stuffing it in the walls where it is insulated from the cool wash of reason.  And, yet, we all sense the heat, we sense that something is about to blow, and the politicians and pundits wave their arms and scream and point their crooked fingers and hold out their palms in expectation, all the while telling us that what they need is a little more money and everything will be fixed, all will be perfect… But I don’t want perfect, I want good.  And I don’t want a politician to buy me so much as a hot dog, mush less insurance, food and shelter.  And I don’t want psycho bots trolling blog posts to prey upon people who may be writing about ideology’s racist unicorn.  Leave us alone, already.  Most of us are inherently good.

If you would like to leave a comment, I’d love to hear some perspectives on this…

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Rabble-Rousing Rule-Breakers

As a kid, I got into a lot of trouble.  Not usually for major offenses, but constantly for stupid little stuff.  Some rules for me were more like benchmarks, or statements to be tested.  It didn’t make sense to me why there were so many rules for so many things, and it seemed like everything was against the rules.  Why could we not run around the pool?  Every kid runs around the pool.  That’s all we think about on a hot day: getting to the pool and running around it, running after our friends, running to the snack bar, running to be the first to greet a latecomer, running to burn off your sugar buzz, running away from your parents when they say it’s time to go home and you are no where near ready to go home.  Who wants to walk around a pool?   They say it’s so you won’t fall and hurt yourself, but not running doesn’t keep you from falling; and running doesn’t always end up in people getting hurt.  Where is the logic behind that rule?

They should leave the runners alone and blow the whistle at the kid who does get hurt.  That’s the kid who should sit out for five minutes, the one who wasn’t paying attention, crashed into the chair and skinned his knee.  The moral becomes, pay attention, or you may get hurt and will be forced to sit by the mean lifeguard and watch all of your friends having fun running around the pool.  Everyone else is perfectly fine, they shouldn’t have to suffer for one person’s misjudgment.  The trick here is to run as fast as you can around the pool, and the second they blow that stupid whistle, jump in the water.

Here’s another one: I cross the street whenever I want.  Any free human being in a free society should be able to make that decision for themselves.  If you cannot decide properly whether or not it is safe to cross a street, you should either be in a stroller, or in a home somewhere safe with padded walls and floors where you can’t hurt yourself, handcuffed to a chair.  Instead, somebody decides that nobody should be allowed to cross a street except where designated, because one person’s potential inability reflects upon an entire community’s competence; i.e., you are now no longer allowed to maybe get hit by a car.  That makes no sense to me.  Why would I wait for a blinking light to tell me what I can determine on my very own, that there are no cars on the road and that it is safe to cross a street?  Why on earth do I have eyeballs?  In part, so that I can make appropriate decisions regarding my personal safety, not just so that I can recognize my children and coordinate my outfits.  Street crossing is something that I have been doing successfully for many, many years, which makes me an expert.  Hence, I cross a street when I see fit, not when a non-expert computer who has never, ever crossed a street before, tells me it is safe to do so.

Which brings me to stop signs.  Why do we need to press the break and hold it for three seconds for it to count as a complete stop?  A rolling stop is fine if nothing is around that would require a full stop.  Either version of a stop could lead to an accident, because accidents happen.   If you’re not paying attention, the chance of an accident increases dramatically, whether you stop or not.  If you feel the need to make an unnecessary law, why not outlaw accidents, or not paying attention, and let us make our own determination as to what requires a big or a mini stop?  If you are the only car for miles and miles and miles and no humans are anywhere around and there is no chance of you hitting anything but the stop sign itself, why must you even stop at all?  I probably wouldn’t.

And what is up with parking meters?  Why do we allow these immoral metal nuisances?  My obsession with the immorality of parking meters begins here, where parking meter rates and taxes rise in order to cover the costs of the stupid parking meters and their overlords.  When meter enforcement is increased in order to collect more fines in order to pay for more meter enforcement, a government hamster wheel has been created that benefits no one, and harms everyone; this is why it is immoral.  It also means that the $500 dress you just bought in the new boutique is really $540, with taxes, and, if you take too long looking at yourself in the mirror, trying to decide whether you look ridiculous or like a fashion goddess trendsetter, you’ve acquired a $25 parking ticket, which in effect raises the cost of the dress to $565.  Or, how about you just paid $5 for a crappy cup of chalky coffee, see an old friend in line whereupon she regales you with her ten-point plan for finding perfect husband number-three, which took longer to tell than the dime you dropped into the meter granted you permission to hear.  Now, your crappy cup of coffee has cost you $30.  Who on earth would pay that for a cup of coffee?  So, we are forced into the protection of malls with “free” parking.  The poor shops and cafes with meters gradually go out of business or migrate to  malls where people can stay for long periods of time buying and perusing goods unmolested by sociopathic meter cadets and spending their money freely, while still contributing to the tax coffers.

In the mean time, the the city gets sued because only people who can walk get to write tickets (which is so much fun, a highly sought after position), and so in order to be an equal opportunity employer, the city has to buy little scooters for the parking ticket personnel, which means they all become obese because they sit all day, and now the health care and disability costs skyrocket for the city and taxes have to be raised, AGAIN.  But the cash cows, the businesses and shoppers, have moved to greener pastures, and so the numbers of parking meter payers and offenders drastically decreases, just as the demand for an increase in said payers and offenders skyrockets.  And why do cities not understand why they go bankrupt?  They are either run by kindergardeners or hamsters.  Dr. Seuss could come up with a system that makes more sense than this.  How about this: ditch the meters, fire the personnel, lower the taxes and let us all own, shop and eat in peace?  If I pass someone’s meter and it is expired, I drop in a quarter, which is against the rules, by the way.

Now, I get the reason why we have rules and laws, and I understand that we need them in order to have an orderly society that can prosper.  But freedom doesn’t mean that you are free from pain or discomfort or loss or injury; it means that we have the opportunity to make choices in our lives, and good ones are usually rewarded, and bad ones are sometimes punished.  If you desire rewards, you have the choice of whether or not you will do the work and make the decisions required in order to achieve those rewards, just as the converse is true, as well.  Buying an overpriced cup of coffee is not a behavior that should be discouraged by the financial punishment of a city government, it is a choice that I have every right to make all by myself.  Because I am a big girl.  Ultimately, laws and rules only effect those who choose to obey them, anyway.  If you desire a peaceful society, why harass good people? At the beginning, middle and end of the day, the choices are ours to make, and if we are all turned into a bunch of rabble-rousing rule-breakers, well, you get what you paid for, you over-achieveing rule-makers, and you are exponentially outnumbered.  Liberum arbitrium.