I’ve noticed something…in a world where the word “tolerance” is thrown around in most any situation or discussion, there is very little tolerance in the world. How does that work? I keep mulling this over and trying to come up with some valid explanation for this phenomenon, but….ummmmmmmmmm…hmmmmmmmmm…nope, I’ve got nothing. Tolerance is quickly becoming a thing of the past, like cassettes, and good television.
Maybe I’m wired a bit differently than some people. Maybe that’s how I’ve lived in DC for over 25 years, and never gotten sucked into so much of the drama and politics that lives not only Capitol Hill, but every PTA, homeowners’ association, or other organization in this town. Politics has always been backyard discussion around here, at least since I moved here. People in DC tend to be full of themselves, all with an over-inflated value of self-importance and a need for power of any kind. I thought this character trait was unique to Washington, and indeed, I think a decade or two ago, that may have been the case. Now? It has spread across the country, the world in fact, like some sort of virus, and everybody seems to have caught it. Every day I pray for the vaccine to become available… again…I’ve got nothing.
Seriously, I can’t drive to work on any given day and not see a bunch of people parading in front of some office or business with signs protesting one thing or the other, and this is a DAILY occurrence. Do people have the right to free speech? Absolutely, it’s a constitutional right, and I applaud it. What I can’t understand is how so many people in the world came to the conclusion that everyone else in the world really cares about what they think or believe, or what causes they support. Does everything have to be aired in such a public forum? (Thank you Facebook, I hold you accountable for that one.) Does everyone have to beat the rest of the world about the head with a picket sign or pen their editorial comments in bright lights so they can sway everyone else to their way of thinking? Don’t get me wrong, debate is healthy, and necessary in order to affect change. But so many people are doing nothing short of harassing or bullying anyone who will give them half a second so that they can get on their soapbox and beat their drum. And if they can’t sway a particular individual into their way of thinking? Well, then those people who can’t “see the truth” are subject to nothing short of a smear campaign replete with words such as “mentally unstable”, and “stupid.” For the record, I think I fall into the stupid category a lot with a lot of these drum beaters. That’s cool, I never said I was rocket scientist.
Maybe it’s just me. I am not motivated by politics, or agendas, or the need for my 15 minutes. The closest I come to my “15 minutes” is this blog, and really, writing is more for my own sanity. I get a lot of satisfaction from emptying my brain periodically of all the thoughts and observations that build up – some annoying,some sad, some reflective, some just plain freakin'funny. I just live my life the best I can every day. I recycle, I turn off lights, I try to make a difference. I abhor most politicians because they appear to me to be individuals who derive great pleasure from tearing down someone else so they can make themselves look like the savior of all mankind, or at least their district. Personally, if I know you, I don’t care if you are democrat, republican, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, a fan of NASCAR, or the WWE. If you’re a vegan, good for you. Personally, I think pigs are adorable, the problem is they taste so damn good. What I am concerned about is that you care for others, and you are a true friend to me. I don’t care if you’ve made mistakes (who hasn’t), and I’m not concerned about your religious or political affiliations. I’m not a fan of organized religion, but if you are, then I’m happy that trips your trigger. If you’re an alcoholic, I probably won’t be your first choice as your best friend, because I like to drink on occasion (ok, often), and I’m not giving that up until someone tells me I’ll die from red wine. But I respect anyone’s choice not to drink, as long as you respect my choice to be a wino. It’s all good in my book. Some people would say I’m not “in the know” or “in tune with today’s society.” Truth? I don’t care. I like the bubble I live in and I’m not leaving it. Do I pay attention to what’s going on in the world? Of course I do – with the 24 hour news cycle, it’s hard to miss most things. The point is I try not to let it consume my life. To do that would be taking time away from the people and things in my life that are truly important, and what a tragedy that would be. I don’t want to be on my deathbed thinking “Gee, I really should have spent more time getting to know those candidates in the last election.” or “Wow, I could have really made a difference if I had gone to more homeowners’ association meetings.” And for the record, I absolutely will not be the woman on her deathbed thinking “I really should have ordered the cheesecake after dinner.” Trust me, cheesecake and I are buddies, and always will be.
When I think of how I live my life day to day, I like to think of my relationship with someone I consider a very close friend, whom I won’t name, but she’ll know I’m talking about her. While we have a lot of commonalities, we are mostly on polar opposite ends of the political and social spectrum. She tends to lean WAY left, and I am a professed fiscal conservative and social liberal. We disagree on a lot of things ideologically, but not once has it colored my feelings for her. I love her like my sister, and truly, she is one person I wished lived closer. As it is, she is in Astoria, and I am here in Manassas. I don’t care what she thinks about politics, or religion, or the state of the country as a whole. What I care about is that I know I can call her anytime and we just pick up where we left off. I hope she feels the same about me. I hope she knows how important she is to me.
Like someone once told me, opinions are like a$$holes, everybody has one. I have opinions, lots of them. If someone asks for my opinion, I’ll gladly give it, and I encourage most people to chalk it up in the “for what it’s worth” column. I don’t profess to know everything. I don’t even pretend to know a whole lot about anything. I do have a certain amount of knowledge about certain things that is mostly based on my past experiences – both good and bad. Should someone ask me to pass along my knowledge from these experiences, I will gladly do so. I like to help folks in any way I can, also part of my wiring.
I just enjoy living my life the best I can every single day. I’m not perfect, and I wouldn’t want to be…that would be a hell of a thing to keep up on a daily basis. All I know is I find myself wishing for a kinder, more compassionate time, before the advent of the Internet and Facebook, before everyone became SO important in their own minds, when people picked up the phone to chat about the weather, or stopped by someone’s house just to have a cup of coffee. Maybe I’ll put that one on my list to Santa.
Peace to you all, every day, without exception.