Random, interrelated thoughts

I spent some time yesterday with some folks that reinforced in my mind a few things. One is that a lot of people never even bother to try to put themselves in the shoes of another. While failing to acknowledge that their perspective is shaped by who they are and their own life’s experiences, they presume no other perspective exists and, worse, that even if it does, their own perspective is superior. I think that’s the literal definition of arrogance, and along with stupidity, it is a trait I least admire in people.

From arrogance stems the idea two things that I witnessed yesterday: the tendency to exaggerate – or tell outright lies – and the tendency to speak about things with which the speaker has no knowledge. In one of my favorite quotes, Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”  The problem is that a lot of folks don’t have the knowledge themselves to determine the veracity of a statement. When someone makes a claim that is patently false, it is accepted as truth.  A little knowledge – by the speaker or the hearer – is truly a dangerous thing.

Another thing reinforced in my mind yesterday is that sexism is alive and well. And the sexism of some black men is more than alive and well – it’s over the top. You would think that black men – of all people – would get the discrimination thing. Far too many don’t.

Finally, I don’t know when, exactly, America lost its sense of community – that we’re all in this together – and replaced it with an “I’ve got mine, you’ve on your own to get yours” attitude.  What I do know is that it is no longer a part of the way that many of us think. And, as Carter G. Woodson wrote back in 1933, it has penetrated the consciousness of the so-called “educated” black folk.


6 thoughts on “Random, interrelated thoughts

  1. The sense of community you mourn is alive and well, it has just been smothered by government.

    I think there is a tendency, once government is seen as the solution to a problem, for people to then absolve themselves of a responsibility to act directly on that problem. Churches used to take care of young women who became pregnant without benefit of marriage. That care came with strings attached, but it was effective. Your father probably was active in that effort.

    But now, even churches have taken the attitude that such care is the responsibility of government and the direct care, which came with guidance toward a better way of life, has been replaced with a government check with no strings of moral guidance attached. No one feels an obligation to help, or mentor, because they paid their taxes and voted for “progressive” candidates.

    We saw that sense of community spring back to life after Hurricane Katrina, as churches and civic groups across the nation took up collections and even packed up buses and hurried down there to help. But that wave of community solidarity only rose up AFTER it was perceived that the government response would be inadequate or incompetent.

    So, don’t worry about that sense of community. It is still there beneath the surface, its just sleeping under the delusion of government adequacy.

  2. “I don’t know when, exactly, America lost its sense of community”

    Air conditioning. No-one sits out on the porch in the evening talking to the neighbors ’cause it’s too damned hot to sit inside.

  3. Vivian,
    A thought occured to me the other night concerning the I got mine, you get yours attitude. I suppose they would mean money and materialistic stuff. On that note I pulled out my money as in bills and it occured to me our system of currency is set up and ran by the government. So in reality all they have with that way of thinking is more government notes in their pocket than others. Signed by the Secretary of the treasurer and printed by the government. so much for those who holler about wanting less government but in reality want more, more, more. Kinda neat how hypocritical people can be.

    1. That has got to be one of the silliest things I have ever heard. Most people do not keep their money in cash, or even cash equivalents, but in stocks, bond, and commodities. Since going off the gold standard, money is nothing more than history — as Napoleon said, “a myth agreed upon.”

      That is why it is foolish to keep cash. If our government decides to print it’s way out of debt, then your cash will be worth nothing.

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