And The List Goes On

*note: this post was written over the course of several days, so the timing might be a bit off.  

I made a list this morning.  I am good at making lists.  Anytime I feel I need to reevaluate my life, or who I am, or what I need from the supermarket, I make a list.  Sometimes the lists serve their purpose, and other times, not so much.  In fact, I think one of my New Years Resolutions from last year was to stop making so many damn lists.  (One of my resolutions for this year was to stop swearing, but I digress.)  As I sat at my kitchen table, trying to digest the story I had just read along with my scrambled eggs and sausage links, I felt I once again needed to make a list.  If you were so inclined to read my previous post, you will see how indigestible some of the recent news stories can be.  Again and again I find myself sickened by what I read, questioning if stories like this have existed all throughout our history and I am just now becoming conscious of them, or if in fact the world is truly becoming a hell on earth and there are others just as sickened as I am to read them? I should back track just a little bit.  I am fairly certain my social awakening came sometime prior to the presidential election last fall.  I am not sure of the exact moment my eyes were opened to some of the absurdities of our society, but I think I can pin it to the “legitimate rape” comments made on a random news program.  Certainly I knew, at least ostensibly, that there existed people so ill informed or perhaps just ignorant that they could make such outlandish statements and stand by them, but to hear a supposed leader of our society make such an abhorrently stupid comment that he actually believed in his mind to be accurate just blew my mind away.  Suddenly, I found myself in a position of questioning quite a few of those we entrust with leading our country and what that says about those of us who select these clowns. Over the next few months, I began formulating my own thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of issues.  I knew more or less where I stood on a lot of issues, but I made it a point to solidify my stance and be firm in what I believe.  So what do I believe?  Well, I made a list of all the issues pertaining to our society today.  (Ok, maybe not all the issues, let’s not be ridiculous, but at least a compilation of things I find important today.)  Now, I should say I have never been well informed on politics (although I am paying a lot more attention these days) and I have never had political aspirations of any kind, however, given the current state of affairs regarding so many issues of importance today, I have started to wonder if, aside from running for political office, there is anything dramatic I could do to bring about change in a good way for our society? (I suppose blogging about it and then linking people to my posts all over the internet is one way.  We’ll see how that works for me.) So, the list went something like this:

  • Gun violence
  • poverty and health care
  • immigration
  • education
  • states rights
  • big government
  • fair wages
  • recession
  • bullying

Now, I am not going to hit on all of these, so if you’ve gotten this far, don’t worry, I’ll try to be brief with the rest.  I suppose I should start with the gun issue.  I am from Connecticut, so if you think the Sandy Hook massacre affected you, imagine living less than 50 miles from where it happened.  I do not own a gun, nor do I ever plan on owning a gun.  The fact that I am constitutionally guaranteed the right to own a gun does not change the fact that I do not want one.  I remember as a child hearing jokes made about Charlton Heston about how guns don’t kill people, he kills people.  Today, I don’t find those jokes to be funny.  Look, I don’t understand the appeal of guns, nor do I see the need to keep one in your house, but until recently, I didn’t care if any other sane adult wanted to own one.  The thing is, until all the lunatics started going on killing sprees, it never occurred to me that things like this could even be conceived of in someones mind.  I can not fathom plotting something like that in my mind, let alone have the ability to carry it out.  So what are my feelings on all his gun violence and gun control?  Unfortunately, like so many other issues in our society, things have gotten so far out of control, simply trying to change the law is not going to have the desired effect.  The right to bear arms discussed in our constitution never could have foreseen the types of killing machines we have in our society today.  I am not going to get into a debate over the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment as I don’t think there really is much of a debate, however, I feel that without having to change that amendment we can still enact stricter laws that will serve to protect us just a little bit better than we have been protected.  Now, no one has to tell me that simply writing a law will not change the world.  If a psychopath wants to go on a killing spree, he or she will go on a killing spree, but we don’t have to allow ease of access to weapons that tear holes in innocent children.  I am proud to say I side with the majority of Americans who do not want to see more guns as a solution to curbing gun violence, but I fear a group with such a strangle hold on our government like the NRA will find a way to keep us from seeing the changes we want to see.

When it comes to issues of poverty, health care, and fair wages, while I am certainly no expert, I can simply speak from experience.  I am not poor nor have I ever been considered to be living in poverty, but I have never had “extra money” if such a thing even exists and I don’t even know if I could tell you what a vacation is, as I have never taken one.  I have food on my plate, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back, but not much else.  I am not complaining, as many people have it much worse than I do, but that’s where the trouble begins.  Too many good people in our society are struggling to make ends meet, and while I am fortunate enough to make ends meet on most occasions, the same can not be said for everyone.  I work an average of 45 hours a week to earn a paycheck to paycheck living.  I have enough to buy my groceries and pay my bills, but in the end, there’s not much left over.  I see others who work as many, if not more hours than I do and still can not get by, at least not with assistance from the government.  No one should have to live like this.  We are a modern society, one that claims to be educated and advanced and yet there are still children living in our country who go to bed hungry at night.  Their parents work two or more jobs just to provide for them, which often means not having the opportunity to see their parents much at all.  So many of the problems we face in our society can be attributed to children basically raising themselves or being raised in single parent households.  I was fortunate enough to succeed despite having a mother who was forced to work too many hours just so she could provide for her family.  This type of situation needs to be changed.  I don’t have the solutions to these problems.  I wish I did.  I do, however see what isn’t working and can offer a few ideas in the hopes maybe if we all come together with our ideas, solutions can be formed.

Too many of these issues are debated head on, and I have come to see that this only has disastrous effects, or no effect at all.  Two opposing forces moving in against one another will get you nowhere.  While I don’t have the answers to the problems, I at least feel that the way to get things moving in the right direction is for all involved to be moving in the same direction.  Look, no one wants to see more tragedies like what happened in Newtown, but bickering back and forth will not bring about an answer.  We need to work together to see all points of view and develop a solution that accommodates all.  I am no particularly fond of the NRA or their stance on the issues, but fighting with them will get us nowhere.  Staging walkouts from our jobs will not bring us higher wages, it will probably just get us fired.  Expecting the government to simply remove all illegal immigrants from the country, or in reverse, expecting the borders to just be dropped entirely is in no way realistic.  It is a problem that needs to be addressed, but in such a way that a true and fair solution is achieved for all.  Like I said, I don’t have the answers, but if my idea of moving in the same direction can be spread to others who may have ideas of their own, slowly we can see progress being made.

I feel our society focuses too much on punishments or consequences versus prevention.  I feel education as a means of preventing these situations is key.  Identifying those with problems before they can amass an arsenal will prevent these killing sprees from occurring.  Teaching kids the pain caused by bullying and other such actions against one another can hopefully prevent teen suicide and other acts of violence against one another.  Not allowing corporations to grow so far out of control in the first place would have prevented the wealth disparity in this country, but it’s too late for that now.  Now, we need to adjust the rules, fix the problem, and then find means to prevent it from happening again.  I know, none of this is a quick fix, and certainly it would take years to turn around this ship that is so out of control.  My hopes are not to change the world overnight, but to just get the process started.

I think without going on and on about every item on my list, my point can still be made.  We all know where the problems are.  We just need to find a way to satisfactorily work them out.  I guess that’s about all I can say about this.  Thoughts are always welcome.

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~ by James on January 12, 2013.

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