According to the Golden Rule: If you don’t have anything good to say; Then don’t say anything at all.
During the past few months, there’s not been a lot of good to talk about on a mass scale for a column, and within my own little corner of the world the flu has made it hard to keep not only my food down, but also my thoughts straight.
However, paying attention to the events of the day, week and month haven’t been all that palatable either.
Let’s just face it: The world -- as in the big picture -- has gone completely stark raving mad.
Notice I didn’t use the term humanity. My reason: I’m not exactly sure the human species deserves that classification anymore.
I’d say we need a reality check: But there’s people out there trying to remove words from our language that include “man,” including the word human! Think we have slipped the bounds of reality, and common sense?
See, I was taught that a major part of being “humanity” is the fact that humans are humane. We’re supposed to be anyway. Isn’t that what distinguishes people from animals? The intellectual ability to learn, create ideas and language while having abstract thoughts and be able to self-reflect rationally upon our actions/behaviors in a way that allows us to treat each other in humane, civil and compassionate ways is what being human is all about.
That’s a mouthful, but it’s the way it was supposed to be.
Well, looking around today, quote me as saying this: “Individually, and in small groups, people capable of amazing, heroic and inspiring deeds. Sure, there are those few bad apples who ultimately spoil the barrel of a community from time to time. Used to be that was where our problems stopped - with the few bad apples. Now we have orchards of them running amok, causing chaos everywhere."
Who is patient zero in this problem? Mankind has slumped into the depths of its beastly nature on so many levels, it’s really hard to pick the point of origin for the disease plaguing us all.
Yet, I believe there was a moment, unsure exactly when it occurred, where it became OK to use an excuse to be a victim instead of being responsible for someone’s own actions. That is when the insanity began.
There are valid reasons for why things go wrong, you might want to argue. I do too.
We are humans, capable of mistakes almost every second of our lives. Doing something wrong and then making it right is a chance for personal growth.
But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to let the reasons make us victims, and then absolve us of responsibility for the harm caused by our actions.
Take the “Me Too” movement that started in the fall of 2017; where women who had suffered some type of sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace took a stand. Harvey Weinstein was the catalyst, but soon many more alleged abusers were outed into the public forum.
I don’t have a problem with the movement, because no one should ever have to endure sexual, physical or mental abuse in any way, no matter of age, sex, color or creed. That is a no brainer.
However, if a single person has damaged people for 10, 20, 30 years or longer and no one has stood up to say something, to stop it from happening to others until now? Well, the problem is bigger than on the surface. Also, if someone who was a victim so long ago is allowed to raise their hand and say “Me Too” now with those of courage who are fighting back, and then to be hailed a hero, there’s even a bigger problem.
A lot of the Hollywood “ME Too”-ers said if they had stood up back then, they’d never worked again.
Excuse me, but I can’t wrap my head around the fact that a job -- basically where you play pretend for lots of cash and public admiration -- is worth more than another person’s life. Maybe if that person had banged the drum then, there wouldn’t be such a long line of victims of these heinous acts now. What happened to intestinal fortitude?
Then again, maybe Hollywood is a teachable moment for us all.
The “casting couch” has been around probably since the beginning of the motion picture era. (Actually, its been around in some form since the first human interaction, but I digress.) It’s been featured in movies and in books, both fiction and autobiographies: Yet, so many people “in the know” overlooked when it happened to women, men and probably to child actors as well. A blind eye was turned to what, to many, was considered “a rite of passage” into the movie industry.
I forget what star said it, but to paraphrase what I remember: “You’re not a star until you’ve endured the casting couch.”
The cost of enduring atrocities for the sake of being popular, wealthy or for a job -- then throwing the next person under the bus to do the same -- is despicable to me. But maybe not as gut retching and putrid of a thought as someone who raises their hand to claim absolution as a victim and then be praised for the simple fact they did nothing when they had the chance to stop it themselves. Sickening.
For decades society has supposedly been trying to help victims of crime, saying we should support them, make tougher laws. All the while, many have turned a blind eye to the problems because to really do something involves real action by humanity.
We’d have to really look inside ourselves and come up with a solution. That wouldn’t be easy. Sometimes it’s easier to jump on the bandwagon of a popular movement than to stand in the pit of despair and fight the evil of the world.
If our society is going to “out” abusers for their crimes, we need to also take responsibility for our own sloth in letting it go on for as long as it has, and doing nothing when we knew better.
Then again, the bandwagon does have a parade, and they’re on television.