The Inner Bottom Line ®
A Column on Personal Choices & Ethical Dilemmas by Olive Gallagher
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” God bless, Howard Beale. And Paddy Chayefsky. And this morning, Maureen Dowd in the Sunday NY Times. is.gd/4QPTYX I couldn’t say it any better.
The thing is, I’m so far beyond mad. I’m exhausted. Exhausted from buoying up everyone else, along with myself, with words of encouragement, optimism, hope, determination, and surety. It takes every ounce of conscious will and energy to keep that fatigue from dissolving into defeat and depression. Which, of course, is what makes me a cock-eyed optimist than a dark soul certain the world will end tomorrow.
However. Let’s stay with that thought for a moment and be objective about our current reality.
The world around us is blowing up in earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, floods and droughts. Millions are starving, multiple civil wars rage on and on over the same old, same old issues: religion and territory. And of course, that translates into gold, money, and power. Apparently, after centuries of killing and enslaving one another, we’ve learned absolutely nothing from our history of mayhem, seizure and violence except how to build smaller, deadlier weapons to accomplish our goals of domination and termination. Hell, if mere innocent mortals get in the way, they’re unimportant and expendable. Can’t let a few victims get in the way of our goals.
Who are we, anyway? What kind of species does that to itself?
And as if war and mutilation and terror aren’t enough, unspeakable, idiotic power plays and choices are being enacted, at home and abroad. One percent of the world’s population holds ninety percent of the wealth. More people die from gun violence in America than anywhere else. Our Congress continues to choose arrogance and negativity over possibility and action as more and more millions of hard-working, well-intended Americans struggle to stay afloat. But hey, why work together and get something done when it’s easier to blame the president? After all, what’s the big deal? He’ll be done soon and then we can take over and really run this country into the ground while we line our pockets with more and more and more.
As if that isn’t enough destruction and stupidity, there’s the Winter Olympics, beamed around the globe from a futuristic studio reminiscent of Superman’s kryptonite lair. Despite the efforts of a few, highly-qualified journalists to put on a happy face and appear as if it’s business as usual, the telecasts, streaming over countless cable outlets featuring far-too-many unqualified, entertainment talking heads, seem buttered over and broadcast with brittle smiles and a thin, non-credible veneer of hope while underneath, the infrastructure of Olympic Heaven is as paper thin as the walls of the barely finished buildings.
Even more horrendous, outside in newly-constructed Putin City, the countless stray dogs in Sochi, already abandoned once in their lives by careless, irresponsible owners, are being systematically rounded up and shot because their mere presence apparently interfered with and besmirched Putin’s determined vision of the perfect sea-side paradise he spent more than 50 billion to present to the world as the “real and future face of Russia.”
Have we lost our collective minds? Are we so determined to forge ahead on paths long carved that we’re unable and unwilling to step back and question if we’ve completely gone off track with our values and ethics in order to follow a road we foolishly constructed long ago when things were so very different?
Do we no longer have the ability to take stock, re-evaluate, and tell the truth? Have we lost the integrity it takes to amend, change, redirect or cancel out plans that clearly have run amok because we’re now so controlled and dictated to by the minority in power? A very, very small group, by the way, who continues to profit handsomely from each and every horrible, misguided choice or mistake we make.
Perhaps since the beginning of time, it’s been this way, with a few, clever manipulators controlling the destinies of the rest. Maybe. But in the collective American soul, we were determined to rewrite that text. Establish equality for all. Offer a haven for freedom of thought and belief. Provide a land of plenty and opportunity for anyone willing to work hard and live a responsible, honorable life. It seemed so simple, so possible, and so hopeful on the page.
But then life happened. And greed and prejudice and false superiority, yielding fear and power and control, gained an upper hand. Perhaps our inability to share, to compromise, or to honor the values that birthed us have caused us to veer off in a very dangerous, scary direction. One that doesn’t make us clever or smart anymore. It makes us merely predictable. Boring. And, I sadly suspect, doomed by our own arrogance.
You can submit your questions, book consulting appointments or private phone coaching sessions with Olive at www.theinnerbottomline.com, and call into her blogtalkradio.com show, “The Inner Bottom Line” at 661-449-1425 with your questions. All letters and calls can be anonymous and confidential.
Kindle and audio versions along with the hard cover of Olive’s book, The Nude Ethicist: A Simple Path to The Good Life™, are now available on amazon.com.