I am from the streets of Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States of America, the "great melting pot" of the world. Although Philly is widely regarded as the "city of brotherly love,"the state of affairs in this city, much like every major metropolitan area in this country, is contrary to anything neighborly. This isn't a Philadelphia problem, it's a people problem!
This past weekend a man was shot dead in West Philly, not far from where I was raised, over an argument concerning double parking. So futile...so unnecessary! The night before an older man in that same community was jumped by three senseless thugs for simply trying to explain to one of the young men how his actions were disrespectful to his elders. These are just two examples of the disconnection amongst people that leads to a total disregard for life.
These examples highlight the violence that has resulted from the void of unity, loyalty and respect amongst individuals; however, there are many more less devastating occurrences that lead to people disconnecting from love and respect of each other. It happens everyday. We all see it and we are all, unbeknownst to ourselves, participants. We look down upon the less fortunate as if they have done something wrong. It starts at the top. The highest levels of government egregiously exploit the less fortunate and those in need to further their personal agenda. The most recent example being the shutdown of the government by those we trusted to protect our rights and our interests. The very reason they allowed to shut the government down was mainly based on opposition of the newly enacted Affordable Care Act, better known as "Obamacare."
I don't know what better example to use to showcase the disdain we harbor for each other. Who, in their right mind, would oppose their countrymen and women the inalienable right to healthcare? Wouldn't this country be better off (financially, socially, structurally, etc) if as many Americans as possible are in better health? Healthier people lead to more productive people which directly and positively effect society. I just don't understand why so many "God-fearing" republicans oppose this. The only "logical" reason I can attribute opposition to this is the lost of profit that big business would experience; however, when I consider that, I'm still left with the disbelief that we can continue to value money over human beings.
Okay! Enough of the larger societal issues bore from the lack of unity. How did this happen? What lead us to this point? Amongst African Americans unity has been discouraged since the practice of slavery dominated this country. That is no excuse, but when you consider that families were purposely torn apart and many of the practices of slaveowners were designed to discourage unity (destruction of their history, the outlawing of their beliefs, the unending efforts to scientifically separate Africans from the human race, etc.), then the "excuse" excuse loses validity. This discussion can go on and on forever and I will save that for another, maybe even subsequent article.
I'd much rather discuss the larger picture. We celebrate assholes! We admonish greed! And we worship characters! Let's talk about the "assholes"...those that run around professing their "swag" as an excuse for committing the most selfish acts. We put each other down and highlight the shortcomings of others just to get a laugh. When others experience pain, we mock it and then tell people to get over it. Halloween just passed. I usually don't profess to be politically correct and I definitely think people, as a whole, are a little too sensitive; contrarily, mocking someone's pain, innocently or maliciously, should never be accepted. It hurt my soul that so many white people around this country dressed up as Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman. Although, Zimmerman was acquitted, Trayvon is still dead. And, despite Zimmerman being found innocent, a great tragedy occurred with the life of a young man being cut short. This is nothing to scoff at. What if an Arab man or any man dressed up as victims of 9/11? Or, what if somebody decided to dress up as a kid from Sandy Hook or the Colorado movie theater shooter or a runner from the Boston Marathon?
How about an issue more of us can relate to? How many people reading this have lost friendships for petty nonsense or don't talk to family for whatever reason? I'm willing to believe that many people can relate. Currently, I am caught in the middle of a family dispute that has boiled for many years. I care about this family, so I take it upon myself to try to intervene to keep this family together. I can't help it. That's how I was raised in my dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional as we are, the love is still there and because of that we find a way to set aside our differences in order to reach the best conclusion for all involved or we just forgive and forget, more so forgive (lol). Sadly, that's not the case in this family. For many reasons, the issues have become so detrimental and ingrained that there almost seems to be no hope to restore the love and honor in this family. I've been told as much by a couple of the family members. I can't lie, that sentiment disgusts me! Our families are not perfect, but they are still FAMILY and they are the only ones we get! It seems I care about this family more than some members of the family and it's so discouraging, almost enraging.
We live in a me-me society. Way too many people are walking around proclaiming that they don't need anybody and all they need is money. I mean, we know it's not true, but the effects remain. Friendships have been destroyed this "it's all about me" sentiment. I speak for myself on this one. I've lost girlfriends and friends simply because I cannot tolerate people who are self-centered to a fault. I really don't like people who are all about themselves and only care about other people to the extent that it benefits them. In one example, I would listen to a person tell me everything that's "wrong" with me. Upon discussing this with an unbiased individual, I came to the conclusion that almost every one of their complaints about me revealed their own shortcomings. The more I investigated the more the problem snowballed. It wasn't just me that this friend was losing, they were losing friends across the board. Me being who I am, I took it upon myself to confront the friend only trying to open their eyes. I hate seeing friendships end, especially for stupid petty issues. The more I tried to reach this individual, the more they pushed me away and made me out to be the problem. It was then that I realized you can't help anyone who doesn't see their behavior as a problem.
Let's discuss bullying for a minute. You know, those individuals who make a mockery of the quiet, "weird" kid in the neighborhood because they fear anyone finding out that the "swag" (confidence) they possess in excess is really a mask for their personal self esteem issues. The problem of bullying has gotten so out of hand to the point where people are killing themselves and others and the problem doesn't seem to be coming to an end. In fact, it's getting worst. What is more disconcerting is that we're telling the victims "just ignore them" or close your computer, etc. What kind of nonsense is that? That's like saying the rape victim is at fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who in their right mind would think something like that? Oh yeah, my bad...Republicans (lol just kidding). This is what we come to. We allow Wall Street players to swindle trillions of dollars and property from us, which subsequently thrusted this country into a recession we've yet to recover from. With full knowledge of their wrongdoing, we reward them with hundreds of billions of dollars. It has been five years since we discovered the underhanded actions of these crooks and no one has gone to jail as a result. What has happened is millions of Americans losing their pensions, savings and homes. The bullies are allowed to bully. Can you blame them? We celebrate greed. We admonish those that acquire money no matter what destruction they leave behind.
I understand that it is easier to blame others for your problems. I get it, but when did doing things the easy way become the right way. I dig it. Being in any type of relationship (business, personal, friendly, or intimate) is very difficult for one reason...in order to maintain that healthy relationship, you have to "die" unto oneself. Instead of turning up, you have to turn down that "swag" or else not many people will be able to tolerate you. You have to show people the real you in order to be involved in any relationship with you. I believe it is the fear of this vulnerability that drives people to retreat when they should stand. Most of us just want to be accepted, but how many of us are actually accepting and respectful of individuality? What you put into a relationship is what you get out of it. There is risk in vulnerability, but how else do we achieve the great without taking the risk of failing?
Love is love!