Prompt 015: What I Would Change
15. What are the top three things you think need to change about the way the world is today? What role will you play in changing them and why?
I think I dealt with some significant topics in a recent, previous entry, so that's why I put off answering this one. Let me see if I can put some fresh thought into this. Apologies in advance if it seems vague or over-generalized. I suspect it will be.
I think there's too much prejudice in the world. I think there's too little education in the world. I think there's an aversion to responsibility in the world. I would like to decrease the first and the third, and increase the second.
In modern society, there's no excuse for causing violence due to your own stupidity and tribal behaviour.
To make this as simple as an analysis as possible: imagine sports teams. Fans adopt the identity of a sports fan for a particular team (usually local). Their opinion is typically one of two things:
- "My team is the best ever, and kicks so much ass. They're gonna win the championships this year! This sport is awesome."
- "Eh, my team kind of sucks but they're getting better. Just a run of bad luck."
These fans could easily adopt any other team, but for some reason they choose to support one specific team out of the assortment. They could even pick a different sport, even. You have manufactured "crosstown rivalries" or rival teams in the same conferences. You have someone who says, "Baseball is stupid! [American] Football is the best thing ever!" Arguments erupt over this type of inconsequential disagreement. In some places, there are riots when a team loses, just as frequently as when a team ends up as the winner. If someone is too identified with their chosen team, then when that team is on the losing side, they feel personally hurt and inadequate. Push them and antagonize them too much, and they'll bite back, like a cornered cat.
Same shit happens with racism, sexism, homophobia, nationalism, and so on. I mean, come on, man. You're just rooting for a different sports team. But we all have to share this planet and we're all just temporary. You really wanna go down like that? You want to be remembered for that? You want your kids to struggle because of your tribal beliefs? You're a dipshit.
Probably the worst thing about life today is that those who are in charge refuse to take responsibility for their wrongs and their mistakes. I think it would be miraculous if politicians, the clergy, and even parents would own up to their mistakes. Too many people just dunk their head in a hole, willfully ignoring what's in front of their face. The worst is when someone in power - gee, like the President of the United States, for example - is deliberately obtuse and obstructionist (the other party in charge isn't any better, by the way). They willingly ignore the facts, push through their own agenda, and ignore the consequences that their behaviour brings about.
Parents are some of the worst. They KEEP HAVING KIDS. This world is a polluted, hot mess, brimming over with abuse and inequity. Why are you bringing more people into this? Why? Because of what -you- want? I can't believe that any parent has looked at this from the child's point of view.
I confessed to my brother - whose wife had her third child last year - that I'll never forget a quote I read from a concerned mother. "Have a boy, and that's one penis you have to worry about. Have a girl, and that's 1,000 penises you have to worry about." Their daughter just turned six months old. I'm wary of her future. Her parents don't even bother to recycle, "Because what's the point? You know they don't recycle half that shit anyway."
Avoiding responsibility for what one does is one of the most destructive forces in the world today, and it needs to be stopped.
In the current world system, the only way anyone can get ahead (anyone, as in including-someone-not-born-into-wealth) is through being educated. If you don't have any property, any savings, any friends in high places, you can still eke out a living. You can still provide for yourself and likely your family. You'll have the faculties to assist you in solving old or current problems, and to avoid repeating mistakes. You become more desirable and marketable. Education can take you far. It's a tool that physical infirmity can hardly ever take away from you.
WHAT DO DO ABOUT IT
One of the things I do on a daily basis is educate. I have a pretty remarkable day job where I help people get hired in jobs that they want, and that pay well. I develop the curriculum for skilled trades and on-the-job-training programs. The team I'm part of and I routinely change lives for the better. If everyone's stuck working for a living, it's best to be paid well and to do something you're not angry about the moment you awaken each morning.
I also do my best to lead by example. I'm physically part of the privileged class (that is, white male), so I think it's important I speak up for those who don't have a voice - without talking over them myself.
Actually, I think that I need to do a lot more in this area of direct advocacy and action. I donate money to a number of different causes each month, but I wonder if directly volunteering is something I can explore more. I did a little research into the nearby Food Not Bombs and local homeless shelter, but never followed-up with it. I wonder if I could become a weekly volunteer in the evenings after the day job is done. I'd like to help at a shelter, or a soup kitchen. I used to do that stuff in the past. While I lived in Nashville ("doing my time in the Buckle of the Bible Belt," I call it) I had a chance to do that as part of my day job, leading volunteers. I wonder if I could do it again, round here.
I feel like a worthwhile educator and financial supporter. I can do more to physically show up at events, and to volunteer as a supporter of causes I want to help.