Dave Richards for June 27th…………
--I was doing some writing for a trade paper this past weekend and while I was developing a point, I realized what the problem is with the world today. Armed with this knowledge, I thought I’d share it with you.
Selfishness. That is the root of the problem. I believe it is selfishness which is encouraged from several different directions and for selfish reasons which is slowing the progress of society as a whole and America in specific today.
Look around you, my friend, and you see it every day. MYVerizon, My Pillow, My Yahoo, My Cloud, even My UCSC (University of California at Santa Cruz). Together with personal media devices which play everyone’s personal music preferences, it seems to me that people growing up today are actually pushed toward selfishness.
It goes further. Playing organized sports where there is no score kept and everyone is a “winner”, and all get trophies just for showing up. These are not the lessons which need to be taught for people to learn how to survive and conquer adversity. These are the lessons we need to teach people to make them self-entitled coveters of anything new and shiny. I think teaching THAT lesson is a big mistake for the future of humanity.
Everybody would like to stand out, be a leader, and be admired. The hard truth is, unfortunately, that everybody cannot be those things. Everybody has their own gifts and talents, and they should make the most of them through their lives, but only a few have that magnetic ‘stand-out’ personality, the ability to lead wisely, and the maturity to handle admiration without being affected by it.
And here’s where it all goes wrong, I think. If you have a whole society trying to be leaders, unique individuals who don’t need to care what others think, then nobody is truly leading because nobody is following. Does the term “Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians” ring a bell?
That is what I see happening now in our society, and I don’t think it is a healthy trend. History has taught us what any society can do if they come together and pull in the same direction toward a common goal. The United States during World War Two comes to mind immediately in this regard. The people who remember the situation our country was in when that war started are mostly gone now, but history books remind us we were ill-prepared for even entering a war, let alone the idea of winning it. However, in the face of true adversity, people, working together and bringing all their unique and incalculably valuable gifts to the same well-focused purpose made that happen.
Today, without leadership focusing us to work on any one purpose, we are free to work on any purpose which pleases us. This is okay for a short time, but when we do this to the exclusion of helping (or even caring about) others, the fabric of society begins to weaken. Over time it begins to tear and become useless. I think that’s where we are today and we should do something about it. Some are trying. We need more people to try.
The more I live, the more I see the truth in the idea that humans need adversity. And when they don’t have it from natural causes like war, disease, or pestilence, then they must manufacture adversity. This is why there is so much public hatred and hostility being displayed today. A time-proven leadership technique is, if there isn’t enough adversity to galvanize the followers, invent some. Sometimes a leader will make unpopular decisions to get the followers all united in their dislike of the leader. But more often these days, the leader will demonize the opposition and get their followers hating the opposition to solidify their purpose. This is what we see happening in partisan politics these days.
The more I see this happening, the more I comfort myself with the knowledge that they wouldn’t be doing this if there were any true adversity in the world. But then I reflect on the world situation and I question the validity of that idea.
You see, there really is a tiny minority of militant Muslims who mean to harm the United States. They know all they need to do is to do nothing for a while and let Americans start arguing amongst themselves again, taking the focus of most Americans away from a real danger and making themselves easy targets for the people who really do want to kill them. I believe this is happening now, and instead of arguing amongst ourselves we should be making preparations for our defense. Some people are trying to do this, but not enough of them.
One example of the few who are trying is President Trump and his so-called “Travel Ban”. Look, I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, several subordinate courts of learned people have said it is not. But regardless of if that particular idea of addressing the situation is a good method or a bad one, SOMETHING should be done to remind Americans that there are many thousands of people in this world whose deeply-held beliefs are that Americans and our way of life must be erased from the planet. Some way must be found to defend ourselves because those people are just waiting for their chance to act on their beliefs.
Just reading what I wrote there, I realize my words could be construed as “demonizing the opposition”. But you know that’s not true. You are not paranoid if they really ARE out to get you. There should be a clear difference in the mind of any thinking person between focusing attention on members of an opposition political party who are “trying to eat your babies and kill your grandparents” and people who really are trying to kill YOU.
Resist the urge to fall into the ‘Selfish Trap’, friend. Teach your young ones that caring for others and working together are what humans are better at than any species on the planet. Be civil in your discourse with others and tolerant in the exercise of your beliefs. That’s not being selfish, that’s being a great person, worthy of being followed and admired.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!