Thursday, January 31, 2013

I am not tired. I am hopeful.

This is my response to a rant by Robert A. Hall, former Massachusetts State Senator. The article is titled, "I'm Tired" and it came to me written as a chain letter by Bill Cosby. Sorry folks, Cosby did not write it

My response is written in almost the same format as the original article but with my own personal twist on the viewpoints. -Jerrod 

I am not tired. I am hopeful.

I'm 28. Except for a brief period when I was breast feeding from my mother, I have worked hard since I was 14. I have had no serious health challenges except for the day I was born. I was premature, and probably would have died if not for modern medical technology. I have had various forms of employment throughout my working career from hanging drywall and sweeping up construction sites to flipping burgers and serving drinks to rich old tourists in South Florida. I have never made a "reasonable" salary. For the most part, I have made minimum wage, or slightly more, working in service industry jobs and trying to get an education. This has been the reality for most people my age that I know. I didn't inherit any income, and every thing I have, I have worked for. Given the economy, it looks as though I will never retire. But that's OK. Why? Because retirement is a strange concept to begin with: this idea that one day you cease to be productive because you feel like you've paid enough dues and now it's time to collect back. 

I have never asked for money from a wealthy person or the government that I didn't intend to earn and work hard to pay back in full. I feel that I contribute to my community more than most people do, but I'd be willing to give more if I could. I know that there are people in need, and I could always do a little more. 

I know that not all suffering in the world is self-imposed.

I am not tired of believing that Islam is just as peaceful as any other generic religious label intended to encompass over 1 billion people. Every day I could read dozens of stories about men, of all different types of religion, killing or maiming each other in the name of whatever word they use for God, but I rarely believe what I'm told when it comes to politically motivated narratives. 

And I certainly don't see clear lines being drawn as to who is killing who for the best reasons these days. 

Sample sentence: [Generic religious label] murders [other generic religious label] over [justifiable cause 1] or [unjustifiable cause 2]. 

Every day somewhere in the world people are burning schools for girls, or protesting at homosexual funerals; stoning or raping women; beating and murdering people for being gay; dropping bombs on cities full of civilians with unmanned aircraft or crashing cars full of explosives into buildings full of innocents. 

It's always in the name of God or Allah or Democracy or Freedom or some other abstract concept that no one completely understands - especially not those wielding the weapons. We use these labels to justify murdering each other. But it's all the same. Killing is killing. Justify it with Sha'ria law or the Constitution. 

You get the same result: perpetual war as a result of intolerant dogmas.

I'm not tired of believing that tolerance is the true pathway to peace and not intimidation. "Peace through Strength" is a policy of intimidation and therefore, terrorism by definition. Terrorism will not bring peace. 

I will never know enough to understand all the vast cultures of the world, and I would not be so ignorant or arrogant to proclaim that I am superior simply due to my American nationality - a trait I acquired by birth. Again, I believe that people should earn respect - not gain it through some arbitrary birthright. 

I find it strange that our government spends more money trying to destroy other people and dangerous radical cultures rather than trying to understand them and reach out to establish mutually beneficial relationships. 

I do not find it strange that people chant "Death to America" in other parts of the world. I am well aware that we as Americans have been responsible for more death and destruction on the global scale than any other nation the world has ever seen. War is our biggest export.

We dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And now we have introduced the world to "drones." Automated killing at the push of a button has been our most successful industry for the past century, and we will reap what we have sown. 

Yet, I remain optimistic at the prospect of peace through education and understanding; trade and prosperity.

I do not believe that living more sustainably has anything to do with lowering my "standard of living." I see it quite the opposite actually. I believe that closing the loop on waste streams and developing more renewable sources of energy will increase efficiency and productivity, while helping the economy and increasing my chances of working hard to make a better living for myself and my family. I have seen thick clouds of coal smog over cities and billowing oil spills in the ocean. I have personally read the research about climate change. 

It is no longer a debate when 9 out of 10 of the most respected authorities, in any given field of study, independently come to the same conclusion. The debate is not whether or not it is happening and our behavior is contributing to it, but what should we do about it now?

I'm not tired of fighting to end the "war on drugs." People should get what they deserve, but I don't understand why we spend so much money incarcerating people for non-malicious offenses. We condemn them to a life branded as a miscreant, forever unable, from that point on, to obtain a college education or viable employment. Then we wonder why they are repeat offenders who resort to theft and violence after they are drawn deeper into a vortex of misfortune. 

I have empathy for people with addiction problems because I have seen it first hand in my own family. Drug addicts are not just strangers on the street. They are sisters and mothers and brothers and fathers. They are veterans. Most of all, they are people.

I'm not tired of giving even though I know I have been taken advantage of before. I will learn from it and try to improve upon my actions to give in such a way that has the most positive impact. Everyone makes mistakes, and I will make a few more before I am finished. I am still young and very much alive. 

I will take responsibility for my life and actions. I always have. But I see a difference in acting to bring about positive change as opposed to only offering negative criticism to a conversation. 

I also don't really give a damn if people want to pierce or tattoo themselves. What the hell does that have to do with whether or not people are intelligent and capable of doing a job? Hire them! You're not the damn fashion police!

Yes, I am not tired. I am hopeful. I'm glad to be 28. Mostly, because I am excited to be a part of the world that I am helping to shape. I intend to leave my children with something better. Thank God, I have the rest of my life to make it happen. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the inspiration, Jerrod. I feel the same way on all of the topics you covered. Let's move to make this world better for the next generation. "Let there be peace on Earth, let it begin with me."