Saturday, July 3, 2010

Every Man For Himself

Much to my dismay, it is now July of 2010.  I am sure that many of you are with me when I describe time in this way.  Time is flying by and is simply flying so fast that it ultimately sneaks up on you with an updraft that makes your legs flip out from under you, causing you to land straight on your butt. 

As time flies so fast, so it seems people, things, places and current events change in a blink of an eye.  It seems like just yesterday when neighbors were kind to one another, and cities looked after their own citizens.  It seems like I was just reading about law enforcement looking after the wellbeing of citizens in their precinct like they were they were their own family and obeying the letter of the law in their own lives, because they knew it also applied to them. 

I know that I am not possibly alone when I say that it seems like it was just yesterday when neighbors would wave and say “Hi” to one another, even striking up conversations of small talk, should there be a moment.  It also seems like just yesterday when you didn’t have to worry about having to pull off to the side of the road with a flat tire or an empty gas tank because there would be a friendly face offering to help take care of you, genuinely meaning it in the most honest and kind way. 

I remember a time when people meant what they said and didn’t talk in cryptic language so as to mean something completely different than what they were actually saying.  I remember a time when people who were church going individuals actually lived a life that was fairly close to the life they portrayed by attending their church sessions and socials.  There used to be a time when people were proud of saying that they were from the United States of America, not apologizing for their country, not attempting to shade the truth from others, that they are really ashamed of their country and are working from within to tear it down, to shatter the constitution into a jigsaw puzzle of a million pieces.

What has happened that has made neighbors so leery of making eye contact with one another, much less waving and saying “hello”?  People are afraid of intentions.  Will my neighbor be suing me for stepping on their lawn?  Does my neighbor have a meth lab in their basement?  Is my neighbor one of the Most Wanted?  A sad day indeed!

Tell me why law enforcement takes the law into their own hands, doing under-the-table deals with their buddies, doing things that are against the law because they feel superior to those who don’t wear a badge that sets them apart from the ordinary citizen.  Why do they define laws themselves, instead of looking for a judge and/or jury to decipher the law, as is their job?  When did law enforcement decide that their job was a money-making one, in which the individual needs of the population didn’t matter, but the money and/or budget was the bottom-line?    What about the city, county and state governments, not to mention the country?  What drives them and equals success?  It sure isn’t the ordinary citizen who pays their taxes and lives a normal and decent life!  Money is the bottom-line in our culture now.  No matter where you have your profession, greed has seeped into the system and is now a permanent part of societal relations that is growing at a steady clip.  Law enforcement is told by their city councils, mayors, and other city officials that they need to bring in revenue for their city.  This is drilled into them so much that it becomes a job-keeping decision.  Which officials are good at bringing in the revenue?  Those are the ones that win.  When a decision like this affects the citizens in a negative way, the ultimate decision is made exclusively according to the dollar value.  Who is actually there to look after us?  Another sad thing regarding decisions made by governing officials is that, if you attend one of their meetings, decisions are being made without the input of the citizens.  If cities wanted to save money, they should rent out the large spaces that they have that never get used.  “What large spaces?”  You ask.  For one, the huge spaces they have for their council meetings in which citizens are allowed to give input.  It is silly!  You can usually count the number of citizens that attend those meetings on one hand.  This only emboldens the decision makers.  They can make these decisions and no one will argue or give an opposing view for the government groups to discuss, possibly a better alternative to the original decision.

When people speak, can you trust anything they say?  Making plans with anyone, it becomes so confusing when they never follow through, whether because of alternative plans to which you were not privy, or a sense that follow-through is just highly over rated.  Impressions are so important anymore that there is not a thought given before someone “one-ups” another in conversation, or does the same in buying a new car, or other material possession that they cannot afford.  The image of success is material, instead of a feeling of accomplishment.  There is no questioning that this is a main culprit in the crashing of our worldwide economic security! 

Some neighbors are church-going folk and some are less-likely to do so.  However, just because you have a neighbor that attends church once-a-week without missing it, doesn’t mean that their home life or life in general is up-to-par with that image.  Many of these God-fearing people are only so when in their meetings.  When they get home, they kick the dog, beat their spouse, and tell their children that they are no good.  Some of these folks can quote bible scripture in an instant, but know nothing about honoring their own parents, cleaving to their own spouse instead of another’s, or being charitable with their possessions and/or time.  Don’t people feel that they are being hypocritical when they say one thing and then proceed to do another?  Spirituality is much more than image!  When it is actually a way of life, the rewards are fantastic!  It seems that there is a large gray area that seems to apply to this growing group.  This includes the churches that are built upon money making, non-charitable systems.  Where is the sacredness in God?

From immigration reform to hurricane and oil spill clean-up, our country’s officials play the blame game, worrying more about their image and whether-or-not they will be re-elected, or whether a bill will get passed that will include their raise than worrying about the best interest of those they represent.  States are arguing against states regarding a hot-button issue that has been a priority of our nation for decades, referred to as “Immigration Reform”.  Gay rights are trumping those rights of heterosexuals.  Reverse racism is becoming a huge issue, blocking many of our children from the experience of attending a University or of being hired by an employer.  Natural catastrophes happen and governments worry more about their photo-ops than they do about those citizens that are suffering due to events beyond their control. 

Man-assisting-man is no longer the mantra.  Instead, we live in a world where the beautiful is covered up by the crisis of the day, where celebrity news covers front page instead of humanitarian need.  We live in a world where media defines our thoughts and actions, where our thoughts are not our own but, instead are drown out by video games and satellite TV.  Vitamin D is a deficiency epidemic because we no longer leave our homes to take a walk, or to sit on a neighbor’s porch for a chat.  We are plugged in, slouching next to on the worn sofa with our latest, disposable cell phone, enjoying a conversation through texting, opening our mouths only for a bite of our newest snack food.

Look outside your window.  Do the clouds make fun shapes?  Is the wind just right to fly a kite or play a game of hoops with your kids?  Is it a pleasant temperature for you to take a walk with your spouse, saying “Hello” to your neighbors along the way?  Is there an agenda that can be emailed to you by your government officials that tells you the details of the agenda for upcoming meetings so that you can attend for 15 minutes to help by giving your input?  Do you even know your neighbor? 

It is time to open our eyes to the beauty that is in this world, as well as what we can contribute to create a better place for ourselves and future generations.  What do you feel about the things that are currently changing?  Do you believe that your neighborhood, law enforcement officials and government officials are creating an every-man-for-himself environment, or do you have hope that things are good and that we can make a difference through even little changes?  Are you proud of the country in which you live, or do you feel like apologizing about what your government officials say and/or do?