My local newspaper, the Seattle Times, has a daily mini-column titled, Rant and Rave. I always read that column, but I’m most interested in the Raves because acts of kindness are spotlighted. As you can see in the attached link, one portion of the column is affirming, the other, not so much.
I wrote to the editor of that particular section, asking him to put more focus on the Raves, maybe even excluding the Rants from time to time, because the general public has so many social media venues in which to complain. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but I am hopeful that I eventually will.
I sincerely believe we all have a responsibility to counter balance the negativity that surrounds us, and distributing kindnesses to others is one very easy way of doing so. The yucky things that go on in the world get all the attention; the spotlight shines brightly on those things; the good that occurs barely receives the dying flame from a match.
What can you do to make the world a better place?
Be kind to one another, all day, every day.
What happened to the country into which I was born?
What happened to freedom of thought, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech?
Allow me to go back in history for a brief moment: March 1991 saw astonishing violence exhibited toward an African American, Rodney King, resultant from Mr. King’s decision not to pull over during a high-speed chase when pursued by Los Angeles Police Department officers. Officers were tried in a court of law for their excessive use of violence and three of those officers were acquitted, sparking the historical 1992 Los Angeles riots. Mr. King observed said violence and was upset at what transpired during those riots. What follows is a portion of his response to the ensuing actions and his plea for peace:
“I just want to say – you know – can we all get along? Can we, can we get along? … It’s just not right – it’s not right. And it’s not going to change anything. We’ve got to quit – we’ve got to quit. And uh, I mean please, we can, we can get along here. We all can get along – we just gotta, we gotta. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while, let’s, you know let’s try to work it out, let’s try to beat it, you know, let’s try to work it out.”
There is so much division in our country, division that has polarized families, friends, and neighbors and brought about a renewed and jarring brand of hatred and intolerance. This hatred thrives in both conservative, moderate, and liberal circles. We are all guilty. We are all intolerant.
This growth of intolerance toward those who have an opinion different from our own has got to stop. Even if I am diametrically opposed to the opinions of others, the core of who I am must allow for at least an openness to hear from those whose core speaks differently. Listening doesn’t mean converting; it means allowing others the freedom to believe what they believe but only as long as such beliefs don’t promote actions or words that denigrate and ostracize all of us who are struggling to survive in the very limited time we have on this Earth.
There will never come a time when all individuals on this earth are in 100% agreement, but the need for discourse is emergent.
We all have opinions that lean one way or another, but strong leanings should be just that: a leaning that still allows for flexibility so that jointly we can work toward the betterment – rather than the tearing down – of our fellow man.
“I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while, let’s, you know let’s try to work it out, let’s try to beat it, you know, let’s try to work it out.”
Rejecting hatred and intolerance in all forms begins with you, and it begins with me … every day, for the rest of our lives.
We read a news story that pisses us off either because the story being reported gets our blood boiling or the person about whom that story is written – whether a politician, entertainer, or some other public figure – is someone we’re not exactly enamored with, then we feed and nurture the news story by spreading it on our personal social media accounts. Isn’t doing so drawing attention to someone we don’t like? Giving that someone the attention we deem they should not receive? If we’re perturbed about a public figure, isn’t it more appropriate to just avoid any mention of her or him? We have far more power than we think we do in these matters.
We’re all guilty of this behavior. What is it in us human beings that we read bad news and can’t wait to spread it so that others can get as upset as we were when we were exposed to it?
Isn’t it a better option that collectively, the world decides once and for all, “Not gonna do it. Not gonna go there. I’m gonna kill the story by not feeding it. I’m not gonna ruin someone else’s day, someone who was probably doing just fine up until they read my ill-thought out Facebook Share or Retweet. No, it’s time for an about-face.
As I’ve said several times before, I don’t want to be responsible for ruining someone’s day, or for making them angry or upset. That’s a responsibility I’m not going to place upon my shoulders. Instead, I’m gonna build up, not tear down.
I’ve been authoring this blog, Baby Boomers and More, for five and a half years. Perhaps that’s a record for blog ownership, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that I thoroughly enjoy writing about matters of significance. I guess that’s why my blog has survived as long as it has: there are a heck of a lot of things going on in the world that fall into that category.
My website address remains the same: http://www.babyboomersandmore.com, but with a broader emphasis on life as it unfolds for all of us born within a certain year bracket:
- iGen (after 2000)
- Millennials (1980-2000)
- Gen X (1965-1979)
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and
- The Greatest Generation (before the end of WWII).
Yes, there are many differences between the generations but we have one major characteristic in common: although as individuals we are strong in many ways, we still need each other to get to the finish line.
With that change in overall focus comes a new, primary blog identification:
Living: the ultimate team sport
If we consider all the people with whom we come in contact as being members of the same team, we will do all we can to support them. We’ll bolster rather than compete; we’ll pick them up rather than step over them as a means to an end; we’ll exhibit respect for each other’s talents while nurturing our own; we’ll not take advantage of weaknesses in order to falsely boost our own strengths. In short, we’ll stand by our teammates and want only the very best for them.
Another goal of mine: write more succinctly, at least after this particular post. 🙂 I know you’re all busy and have better things to do than read my oftentimes lengthy magnum opuses. I’m newly committed to being as succinct as possible, somewhere along the lines of an article I wrote on December 27, 2016: Don’t go there. Let’s face it, as a writer, I should be able to use an economy of words to get my point across to those who’ve chosen to follow me.
And one last thing: the header images you’ll see at the top of my blog (which will cycle through randomly) are from photos I took during a few of my hikes around the Pacific Northwest. Hiking is my passion, so I’m pleased to provide snapshots of views I have been privileged to see.
With that, I’ll sign off for now, so very glad to be a member of your team.
If I can’t do anything useful, at least I would like to do as little harm as possible. Wherever You Go, There You Are, by John Kabat-Zihn
Do no harm is a practice found in various aspects of society – including the Hippocratic Oath – and it was the underlying principle of Mahatma Gandhi’s revolution and his personal meditation practice. But what does it mean? Is it really as simple as doing no harm? You tell me.
Do no harm: Don’t do anything while driving that will piss off other drivers.
Do no harm: Don’t speak ill of others behind their back.
Do no harm: Don’t use social media to bully or anger an individual or a group of people.
Do no harm: Don’t ignore the server or courtesy clerk who’s working as hard as he/she can for you. Engage them in conversation; make their day by respecting what they do.
Do no harm: Don’t be unkind to anyone; think of how it felt when someone was unkind to you.
Do no harm: Don’t litter or do anything that harms the environment, regardless of how small.
Do no harm: Don’t put off a kindness such as sending a card to someone for no reason at all – or for every reason you can think of. Your card and message may be just what that person needs that day.
Do no harm: Don’t ignore the impulse to turn around to the person behind you while in line to say, “I’m not in a hurry, why don’t you go before me.” You may not be in a rush and he or she may be; think how your thoughtfulness will impact the remainder of their day.
Do no harm: Don’t keep compliments to yourself. For example, if your spouse or friend looks nice, tell him or her. It doesn’t do the person any good if you keep it to yourself. Your lack of attention may cause harm.
Do no harm: Don’t expect someone else to make a difference; you make a difference in whatever way you can, even if doing so is an inconvenience. Your inconvenience may be just what the world needs at that very moment in time.
Do no harm: What I have provided above barely scratches the surface of how we can do no harm. Please add your input in the comments section below to provide all of us with examples of how we might improve our personal corner of the world.
My wish for you: health, joy, and peace in the New Year.
Don’t go there.
If someone pushes your buttons:
Don’t go there.
When your last nerve has been stepped on and you feel inclined to blow:
Don’t go there.
Rather than stoop to the depths of others, choose instead to go high. Seek the high ground in every situation in which you are tested and teased; ridiculed or bullied.
Show others the true measure of who you are, perhaps giving them something to which they too may aspire.
Two friends with radically different political views are on their way to the polls on election day. One guy turns to the other and says “You know, we’ve argued about this for months, and we’re obviously going to vote for different candidates. Our votes will cancel each other out anyways, so why don’t we just call it a draw and go home instead?” Other guy agrees, they shake hands and part ways.
Another guy who overheard the conversation approaches the dealmaker and says with admiration, “That’s a real sportsmanlike offer you just made!” “Not really,” the guy says, “I’ve made that offer three times already today.”
“Daddy,” a little girl asked her father, “do all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time’? ”
“No, sweetheart,” he answered. “Some begin with ‘If I am elected.'”
1. The problem with political jokes is they get elected. —Henry Cate, VII
2. I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them. —Adlai Stevenson
3. Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you. —Author Unknown
4. George Washington is the only president who didn’t blame the previous administration for his troubles. —Author Unknown
5. If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it. —Mark Twain
6. Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. —George Carlin
7. There are always too many Democratic congressmen, too many Republican congressmen, and never enough US congressmen. —Author Unknown
8. We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice. —Woody Allen
9. If you put your politicians up for sale, as the US does … then someone will buy them — and it won’t be you; you can’t afford them. —Juan Cole
10. When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. —J. O’Rourke
11. In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem. —George Carlin
12. The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. —Winston Churchill
13. Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge. —Isaac Asimov
14. Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. —Gore Vidal
15. A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election. —Bill Vaughan
16. If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side. —Orson Scott Card
17. A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation. —James Freeman Clarke