“I have my own tales to tell from my week in Berkeley. I was walking gingerly through a crosswalk (I have bad knees) when an impatient driver shot me the bird. His car was graced with a Coexist bumper sticker.”
Wow ! How many examples of this type of behavior could anyone of us come up with? Why can’t we practice what we preach? I’m sure there’s some clinical name for this “disorder”, but whatever they want to call it – – There’s an epidemic!
Where do we draw the line between my rights and yours? We rely on the law to be that decisive line between your rights and those of your fellow citizen. In the above example- Robin was in a cross walk, an area typically designated for pedestrians. The driver felt he had a “right” to hurry along with his busy life. Robin felt she had the “right” to safely cross the intersection.
There is no question in the above example, as to which “right” was in the right. Yet, this driver stole Robin’s legal rights. He felt his rights trumped hers. He was, seen by his bumper sticker, a believer of “co-exsistence”; He carried the banner without practice.
Everyone feels their way is the best way… well of course they do… That’s why they hold the opinions they hold. No one adheres to values, opinions, “rights”, – unless THEY feels it’s the best course – at least for themselves. But does that mean everyone should be able to DO anything they want, whenever they want? Of course not!
But often the worse offenders of ‘civility’ are those that tout themselves “smarter”, “more highly educated”, “worldly” These are busy people, their time is valuable and their mission unquestionable….. The perpensity to expect a “higher” standard from society, while giving the finger to the practice of that standard. These are the Enlightened ones…..
For those pushing 60 about now – we have a unique perspective – We were swept up in the turbulent years of the 1960s… Some directly involved in protests, But at my age, it was more likely we personally knew someone that was. The young, now bursting out at the seams, – absorbed and mimicked the call of a “revolution”. But did we go too far?
The 1970s – Organizations, like NOW, demanded “equal pay for equal work”! Okay, as a young adult, that sounded perfectly rational to me. The meme being -Equality cried “if a woman can dig that ditch just as well, and worked just as hard, she deserved to get just as much pay” – Right? A no-brainer ! I was all for it… I finished school in 1975 and shucked my bra, boldly stepping into the future.
The 80s – “Super Mom” ! The insanity of “bring home the bacon, and fry it up in the pan”… A woman wasn’t equal.. She now needed to be Superior in Endurance – Superior in Time Managment – Make superior strides at the office (or at least be top-dog at the diner )! There was nothing stopping all us NOW-women now, now by’golly! But somehow, the message evolved from “just as” (equal) to a “I can’t do it as well, it’s not my fault I was born a woman” (entitled). NOW, then demanded equal pay for LESS work and quotas on the number of women entitled to a position in almost every career/job field, regardless of their ability to be “just as” !
What? Whoa… Back up the bus…. That’s not the same message I bought into…. But …….Now, a wife, mother, worker – I was too busy to call them out on this – I just pushed on trying to be that SuperMom… and MTV opened a world of “global sound” and the celebrities of the world…. I stopped watching local community events and was glued to the glitz.
Marriage was on the decline – We began to just “live together”. This was great! No committment, no “vows” to have to break when things got rough… Nothing that cemented us together as a team. We were smarter now – enlightened – independent individuals who happen to be at the same point in our lives – it was convenient and disposable. Sadly, abortion rates soared… as it was also convenient. After all, we were too busy to be bothered with anything inconvenient. We were busy, enlightened people!
By the 90s, – Therapy was the rage… Everyone was in therapy… Everyone was getting “enlightened”…..Fighting to establish ourselves, – our ‘rights’ in our famlies, in a career -We were anxious to make our mark – And often not caring who we stepped-on to do it or even which responsibilities we shirked. “Liberated” magazines showed us how to get it ALL… There, we have proof: Super-Woman was alive and well. But at a cost.
Families began to erode and crumble; “Latch-key Kids” were a growing concern. Our children often unsupervised, essentially abandoned to learn civility (street-savy) among a group of peers. Peers who often were similarly “abandoned” children… “Gangs” became a part of our nightly news broadcasts, painted as “the exception rather than the rule”. But weren’t these just kids with nothing better to do, our young with no guidance? Weren’t they entitled to something better ? Their tactics and behaviors becoming all the more violent. Their street-smarts often finding their own unique way to trump the “smarts” of others….
My next post well take us all back to the beginning of the new millenium – And the slippery-slope of its first decade.