Between Ignorance and Selfishness: Personal Accountability

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How many times do I have to see someone trying to give away or sell a pet they no longer want? It seems everyday someone in the paper or on the internet has evicted their once beloved pet from their lives, and for what? Some of the most idiotic reasons surface, but it’s usually the fact they have a small child, they’re moving, the landlord is making them get rid of it, or they don’t have the time to invest in a pet. I’m well aware life happens—things can and do pop up, circumstances can be beyond one’s control. Usually, though, people know they’re taking a risk when taking on a pet. Do I need to think about the responsibility I’m taking on with a pet? Of course not. I’ll just rehome it later.

Being a bad pet parent is not the only thing that hits the top of my list of irresponsible acts by people this week.

As August rolled in and kids went back to school, my newsfeed was clogged with people looking for help with school clothes and supplies for their children. Again, I realize life happens, but some of these people act as if they had no clue what was going to happen as fall approaches. They acted as if parenting slipped their minds whilst they were posting all their summer-fun shenanigans on social media. Do I need to put back a little for school clothes? Nah. I’ll beg for those.

We often call people like the ones I’ve mentioned “stupid,” but I need to argue about that term a second.

Truthfully, none of these people I know are ignorant. We like to label them as that, and they like it, too, somewhere deep down inside because if they are “stupid” or “ignorant,” that serves as justification for their actions. They can just “dumb” it away.

“Look, I know I was stupid, but I’ll do better next time,” you might hear when calling them out for their irresponsibility.

I expect better than a lame excuse, though. I expect the truth.

Honestly, people who act in this manner are not stupid. They are not ignorant of the way life works. Instead, they are selfish.

To say someone is stupid or ignorant there must be some understanding that they were not privy to the information that might have helped them make better decisions.

For instance, someone might buy a car with underlying mechanical issues no one found before the purchase. A mechanic might not even know. These people are ignorant to the fact this issue will impact their future with the car, and therefore, they purchase the faulty vehicle. It is not their fault. They simply had no knowledge.

People who knowingly and willingly take on a pet or child are not ignorant to things like a landlord not allowing pets, or children needing school supplies. Ignorance never enters the arena. They make decisions based on their own selfish wants, without regard for the responsibilities they’ve  embarked upon.

I cannot and will not explain this away for them by calling them “stupid” or “ignorant” because I believe in personal accountability—something these folks clearly do not want.

Children and pets are not something to be cast aside when times get tough. Being a pet parent or parent of a child requires good, strong decision making skills. When someone adopts a pet  with the knowledge that they are not allowed to have said pet, or has a child they knowingly cannot afford, they reach a pinnacle or self-indulgence I cannot understand.

We do not live in the dark ages when educational material was hard to find. Nope. We live in the age of the internet. Most everyone, at least in the US, has access to the information they need to make it through life. This includes details about pet ownership and parenting.

People who do not educate themselves are at fault for their blaring mistakes, and what’s infinitely worse are those who have been educated, but simply choose not to take heed.

Knowing the pet you loved enough to bring into your home or the child you willing created has needs, but choosing to ignore those needs, or breaking rules that will make it impossible to properly care for them, makes you a supreme narcissist—nothing more and nothing less.

So, no. I won’t call those folks ignorant. I will give them the ugly crown they deserve to wear as those who depend on them suffer. Then I’ll hope those they’ve completely let down survive the fall to be happy and healthy despite the self-centered jerks who hurt them.

(image source:http://day-with-kt.com/self-absorbed/)

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For Those Who Oppose #TakeItDown

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Anyone who believes the Confederate flag should remain intact flying proudly on government owned property needs a lesson.

Yes. This is part of our American history, albeit a disgusting part. Flags flying are meant to represent something we are proud of—something that serves as a true representation of who we are as a collective people.

I’m sorry to those who squabble about “to each his own,” no. Not to each his own. You are dead wrong. What that flag represents is not a proud representation of who we are 155 years after the Civil War. It’s a sad depiction of who those in the South once were, but there is nothing to be proud of. Letting it remain is no different than saying a Nazi flag should be outside the gates of Auschwitz because it’s part of that history. Would you “proud southerners” agree to that? Of course not.

Flags were invented to create a sense of nationalism. They are meant to bind one people, yet distinguish them from others. Our American flag does that job quite well. We do not need something else to divide us amongst ourselves.

We are a diverse country, built of every nationality imaginable. Some of them immigrated here by choice. Others were brought here in chains. It is not right to continue to celebrate that part of our history that saw men, women, and children enslaved, abused, and murdered. It is not right to continue to celebrate a portion of our country so hell-bent on building a superior economic system that they did so by pillage and plunder. I’d rather hoped by 2015, we could leave our past to only reflect upon so we would not be doomed to make the same mistakes.

What Alabama did today was right. #TakeItDown. Remove that horrible symbol from serving as a representation of American culture. We are no longer those people.

One last thing—for anyone who purports to support LGBTQ rights, but can somehow say this flag is a good thing, there is a level of mass confusion going on in your brain you should probably sort out sooner than later. Because I’m here to tell you, that “southern pride” good ol’boy system you show support for by raising your confederate rag is the same system that, by and large, would harm the very people you say you support.

(image source:http://article.wn.com/view/2015/06/20/Take_down_Confederate_flag_o/)

My noncelebrity/nonexpert ranty rants:

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  • On Rachel Dolezal:

It is not my place, nor is it my expertise, to micro analyze the inner workings of why this woman identifies as a different ethnicity. “Passing” is not new concept, but to be honest, I haven’t hashed this one around long enough with enough people to decide if Ms. Dolezal’s decision to tell the world she believes herself to be a woman of color is horribly offensive, or just something we all need to calm our collective tits about.

What I do know is that I’m white—chalky, pasty W.A.S.P white. 75% of my lineage comes from across the pond. The other 25% is Native American. (The percentages are off. I’m talking long lines of ancestry, not immediate. So, no, I’m not ¼ Native American.) Thing is, I don’t have an issue with my ethnicity. I’m not proud. I’m not ashamed. The way I figure it, it’s all just happenstance. Some genetic dice were rolled, and here I am. I identify with what my eyes see in the mirror. No blue/black-gold/white dress debate going on for me. I’m lucky in that respect because I don’t have to struggle with my identity.

My white skin has also afforded me many privileges. I’m not routinely detained by police. I don’t have to worry about my sons being brutalized by police. No one questions my choices to have children, or how I was accepted to university. One of the other privileges is my being able to observe and listen to ethnic voices who tell me what life is like for them, so I can see outside the W.A.S.P nest in which I was born.

Having said that, I never felt the need to appropriate a culture, serve as president of one of their largest institutions, and even sue for racial discrimination. If I want to know what it feels like to be a woman of color, I ask one. I have that conversation because I can also accept that anecdotal data is just as valuable to me as if I’d lived it myself. Why? Because I know that I can trust those voices. I don’t question their credibility simply because their skin tone is different from mine.

I’m not calling Ms. Dolezal to task for that, but I will say, if this is what she’s doing, appropriating a culture for her own benefit and 15 minutes of fame, then shame on her. She deserves all the repercussions she will suffer, because you don’t need to fraudulently claim an ethnicity to help others understand that ethnicity. All you have to do is stand beside them, and let their voices be heard.

  • Police Brutality:

Don’t get me wrong. This is a real issue worth much discussion. Our discourse isn’t very deep about this subject, most because we’ve been taught to respect police, and the suspect is always wrong. We are finding these old standards to be false increasingly with time. However, what I’ve also seen an explosion of are lots of false claims of police mistreatment. With increasing frequency, I’ve seen some schmuck decrying being brutalized by the police, when this person was the one antagonizing and escalating the situation.

As a citizen, it is your duty to abide the law. If you find that law to be insufficient, there are ways to change that. Breaking that law, and then causing problems for law enforcement when you’re arrested is not the way to do that. And mind you, I’m not talking some civil disobedience, here. That’s a different story. Instead, I’m talking about people breaking commonly accepted laws, only to be indignant when they are arrested.

Many times these vigilantes will poke the bunny, so to speak, by refusing to show an ID, disclose their identity, or even inciting officers by becoming belligerent and physically aggressive. They, then, expect officers to show them courtesy. Nope. Sorry. Not the way it works. You’ll later see their video, which only shows an edited portion, on some social media outlet.

Look, I know there are bad cops. Cops are human. Of course there will be bad ones. Honestly though, there are more good than bad, and these jokers, who just want a little face time from the media, make their lives difficult.

You want media coverage? Do something good. Help an old lady, or save a cat. Do something positive, for gawd’s sake, and leave the cops alone to take care of real issues.

  • Being Altruistic

I want the world to be full of rainbows and fluffy clouds. I want every human being to experience the goodness of life instead of the shit paved roads so many have to walk. I also want people to learn the definition of this word: Accountability.

Ask anyone who knows me personally, and they will tell you I am a giving person. I help where I can. Don’t be mistaken, though. My kindness and understanding have limits.

It’s not hard for me to understand that substance abuse and addiction are terrible, but the people caught up in that life are still human. I get this. I know these are the children, siblings, parents, and loved ones of someone. I would help anyone who really wanted to turn their lives around. What is also clear to me is while addiction is a disease, at some point it was chosen. It is not cancer. At some point, someone picked up a substance, and for whatever reason, consumed it. I’m not here to place blame or state the obvious, but I think it needs to be said that addiction is 100% preventable.

I say this because while I will help someone who wants to be clean, I will not…NOT…let anyone drag me or my family along with them on the fucking dirty spiral that is addiction. So, if this person is not accountable and making very distinct steps towards being clean, I’m done. Stab-me-with-a-fork, Put-me-on-a-platter DONE!  There is no way I will sacrifice myself, my life, my family to help someone who doesn’t care enough to be accountable for their own actions and help themselves a little.

Some might call that selfishness. I call it self-preservation.

(Image Source: http://theaviso.org/2012/03/13/blog-controversial-opinion-piece-shows-editorial-process-at-work/)

Graphic Racism: Why We Say BLACK LIVES MATTER

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I guess one might say I’m a little tired of having this circular argument with people who will not accept that racism plays an integral part in what has happened to Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner. Paired with police brutality, we have major problems in our system that have been brought to light. I don’t want to debate innocence or guilt of those victims, because that is not clear. In fact, it’s not only not clear, but barely relevant given the fact none of their alleged crimes carry a death penalty sentence.  What I do want to point out is this:

During the 1960s, Charles Manson led a group of people know as the Manson Family on a crime spree, culminating with the brutal murders of several innocent people in order to spark a race war so that Manson could, effectively, take over the world. When he was captured by police, he was not only kept alive, but protected so he could stand trial for his heinous crimes that shook not only California, but the entire United States.

Ted Bundy kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered at least 30 women across the US, and participated in mutilation and necrophilia during the 1970s. Even after his escape and murder of a young girl in Florida, Bundy was taken back to prison and kept in protective custody. He received a fair trial, and was allowed to gain publicity by helping solve the Green River Murders. This man, who committed atrocities against more women than we may ever know, was more often described as “charismatic” than monstrous.

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. It was an act of domestic terrorism against the US Government. 168 people died, and countless more were injured. McVeigh was held in custody, received a fair trial, and was not assaulted in any way by law enforcement officers.

I can continue to list names and cases of white individuals who killed, maimed, and committed crimes far more heinous than petty theft, carrying a toy gun, or selling bootleg tobacco. Jeffery Dahmer lured young men into his apartment, drugged, murdered, and ate them. I repeat-ATE THEM, yet police let him live to face trial. We must question then, why men like Michael Brown are described as “demons” and murdered in the street, while men like Dahmer are treated with respect?

And I know, sometimes police pull guns on white people. It’s happened to myself and my son at a sobriety checkpoint when the officers thought a piece of a cellophane wrapper from a CD in my back floorboard was drugs. Point is, no one thought my 6’2” son looked like a “demon”. We were not shot, roughed up, or even talked to impolitely. They were new, green, and overzealous, but we lived to tell the tale. The three men in the bottom portion of the graphic above were not. They were not treated with the same dignity afforded to serial killers and terrorists. That speaks legions.

So, deny racial bias all you want—looking straight at you white folks! It’s your white privilege that allows you to do so. If you thought you or your child could essentially be lynched in the streets, you might think differently.  And that is why we are standing in the streets screaming BLACK LIVES MATTER. All lives matter, but as you can see, some lives are given more importance than others, and that needs to end.

For all of you fixated on “riots” and “looting,” you need to remember that is what the media allows you to see. They are worried about sensationalism and big ratings, not truth. Those aren’t all Black faces out there. Most of the protests are peaceful. If all you believe is what you see on your television–if you believe the only truth is what the media is feeding you, then you need to wake up and smell the bullshit. You’re being lied to. Search for what’s real. Stand up for justice. End the atrocity.
#ICantBreathe #BlackLivesMatter #EqualityandJusticeForAll