Happy 239th Birthday America
Wow, you’re 239 today. In the grand scope of countries, I guess that makes you an adolescent. Sure, you were prodigious as a youngster, taking that “know no better” attitude into battle with the Brits and defeating them. As a toddler, you were comfortable serving your selfish status quo, and there were those big tantrums like the Civil War and then Civil Rights, in which the process for neither was Civil. Now, you’re pubescent and growing. You think you know everything and also have a belief that you know what’s best for everyone, but that’s to be expected. In this democratic rearing of a republic, it is we who support and guide you, who are reflected in your current state, pimples and all. Whatever we love and loathe about you, we love and loathe in our collective selves. We are all like a family. We get along with some. With avoid others. We stick together when attacked. That’s how families, no matter their level of dysfunction, are designed to operate.
As you enter the final decade of your first quarter-century, I propose that “the village” present gifts that are suited for your growth. This has nothing to do with politics and certainly nothing to do with the destructive partisan wars we are experiencing. On your birthday, I look to our many subset collections of community that make up the mass and I ask participant citizenry, in the collections to affect that which surrounds them. Take care of the people and things that you have influence over. If a reasonable representation from the collective many, can do this, then the mass…the country…YOU, will grow into young adulthood, as an ever powerful nation.
I see the contributions that people can make, all the time. On Facebook, I promote various #FaithInHumanity actions. Most of the time, those stories are of people who have made extreme sacrifices or jumped into heroic or humanitarian efforts by doing something for someone else. We don’t all have the circumstance or that inner “it” to be heroic, but we can do things in our everyday lives to support community and enhance humanity. Like what? Here are some suggestions:
- Say hello to strangers or even just give that look and a smile to show people that they are noticed. It is my theory that people who feel noticed are less likely to do harm to themselves or others. We often hear that the characters of our news cycle tragedies are “loners”…well, your “hello” or smile to a stranger, might save lives, and it costs you nothing.
- Give up that spare change. Sure the rote response is to mutter that you don’t have any and to keep moving along. I’ve seen enough stories to realize that we have no idea how a person came to be in the situation where your change can positively impact their lives. Even IF it’s their own fault, are we so unforgiving that can’t put aside our judgment and just allow someone to get a meal, or even a drink? Honestly, if I was living on the streets, I’d want a drink…or twelve. I have no judgment about that.
- Reach out to people. We have more ways to connect than ever before. There are people sitting in your Facebook friends list for whom a day would be made if you sent them a message. They could be having a rough week, going through a divorce, battling an illness, or just overcooked something for a dinner party. The point is that a connection can be a salve. PLUS, you might spark a great new/old friendship.
- Participate. This could mean volunteering or getting on a community board or running for local office or reporting things that need attention. Take OWNERSHIP of your community and the RESPONSIBILITY that it needs pride of ownership to thrive. Buy the cookies the kids are selling, even if you’re on a diet. Maybe challenge the scout to donate them or to give them to someone who can’t pay for them. Participate in things going on and you will affect positivity by supporting positivity with your…you know…your freakin positivity!
I’m leaving the bullet list for this last one, because it is so important to me.
CHANGE THE TONE
It’s shocking how far discourse has fallen and how friends can become enemies because they disagree about something. You’ve seen what I’m talking about and most of us have fallen for the trap and contributed to the nonsense. The “outrage” about anything and everything is exhausting to listen to and I’m not sure those who spew it can claim any semblance of sanity, while constantly complaining on an insane level. Please, change the tone.
When people are discussing an issue, I’m never certain of the goal. If it is just to piss people off to the point of tuning out, then it seems to be working. If the goal is to share one’s perspective, then it’s failing. Stating the opposite of what you believe with accusations, cursing, hyperbole, exaggeration, misrepresentation, insults, etc., does nothing to persuade anyone. Sure your ego will be boosted with the loyal choir cheers your caustic ramblings, but they were already of your mindset. All you’ve done now is ensure that your perspective will not be considered by others, thus you’ve effectively shut down lines of communication. Please, change the tone.
When others do things in ways that we wouldn’t do them, it appears that shaming is the weapon of choice. Shaming isn’t changing anyone else’s parenting techniques. Shaming doesn’t alter what someone eats. Shaming doesn’t make someone throw out what they own to buy from people that you approve of. Shaming just offends and injures people in a way that’s hard to heal. Please, change the tone.
I don’t know where this notion of being an a-hole, got to be a virtue. If you say things like people don’t get your “sarcasm” or they can’t handle how “real” you are, then you’re likely just being a jerk. You don’t have to break down a person to their core, in order to be honest. You can be honest and still have some compassion. Oh and that “sarcastic sense of humor”, that no one seems to get; We get it. It’s just not funny. It’s a mean spirited way of bringing others down in an attempted camouflage of some sort of “artistic integrity”. No, you aren’t a professional entertainer. You aren’t standing there at open mic night. You’re dealing with people who just think you’re rude. If you aren’t 100% jerk-tastic, take a moment to consider how people receive your words. Please, change the tone.
My biggest thing is that I appreciate and respect people who are FOR things and not always AGAINST them. Those who are against are always negative. The world is always ending and our lives have no meaning because (insert any issue). Those who are FOR things, aren’t naïve. They see solvency and have some forward thinking. If you are FOR things, you radiate charisma that makes people want to consider what you are saying. You seem smarter and more connected vs. a crazy, cursing, lunatic who screams the sky is falling, about anything. Do me a huge favor and be more FOR things than against them. When you do, you’ll rewire your way of thinking. You’ll find that your perspective is more palatable to others. You’ll realize that you can start returning civil discourse to the conversation. Please, change the tone.
To you, these United States of America, I offer these gifts. I will do whatever I can within my sphere of influence to give these gifts and I will try to encourage others to do so, as well. It is my wish that you experience civility among your citizens who have humanity as the virtue they are most proud of.
Happy 239th…you don’t look a day over 200. Seriously.
Here are some more of my blog entries that you might like! 🙂
Posted on July 4, 2015, in Just Life and tagged 4th of July, America, DalyDose, Faith In Humanity, Fourth of July, Happy Birthday, Independance Day, Jeff Daly, United States. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.