- Politics and Social Issues
Right of Way: Must We Defer to Those in the Wrong?
The right of way does not lie with the sane and the just. Too often, the right of way goes toward accomodating the crazy and the stupid. It is an unfair system that does not do what it promises or protect who it's supposed to protect. Just like in grade school, instead of the rule-breakers being punished, the rule-followers were forced to accomodate and adapt to this backwards institution. This goes beyond hypocrisy and stretches to the realm of Opposite Day. Should we meekly surrender to this fact of life or should we rise to challenge it on occasion?
On a rainy day, I waited at a crosswalk after pushing the button. The light lit up, giving me the right of way, but the traffic did not stop. I yelled at them to stop but when I tried to cross they honked and yelled at me like I was the crazy one. It wasn't a fluke either because months later I saw the same thing happen to other people trying to cross. That time, however, it was a clear day and a cop was on duty. He couldn't do anything about it though, but I was too far away to see if he even noticed. According to the driver's manual, the smaller you are, the more leeway you get, especially when you have the right of way. However, some motorists do not care and just keep driving. I've always had a distaste for motor vehicles and still do, but cars don't hit people - careless people hit people with their big old heavy machinery. When behind the wheel, man has become the machine, as the car serves as an extension of the self and personal space; the determination to keep going on one's way precludes all other impulses, including that of public safety and road sharing.
On the other hand, careless pedestrians can also cause problems for innocent motorists. There have been times where they'll push the button, wait until no one is coming, and cross anyway. The light will go off later after they're long gone, and people will be stuck sitting in traffic while waiting for no one. More galling are the people who cross the street and just expect people to stop for them even though they aren't using a crosswalk. That is one instance of jaywalking that should be punished but isn't, just like the cars that continue to turn into a lit crosswalk with a person or two in it. More accidents happen this way no matter who is in the right, but there is often no justice. Even when these stories make the news, it is often debatable which party was at fault. Perhaps cameras should be in place for that purpose instead of whatever it is that has people so mad in places like Texas and other states.
A few weeks ago, that rude old man was back at the library. He had trouble using the computer and whistled to get a nearby librarian's attention. Though the rule of silence is pretty much void by now, the sign still says "Silence," not "Whistle for Service." It's bad enough when people treat waiters and waitresses like that, but librarians deserve more respect than that as well. People who work in public service positions are not lower life forms and should be addressed with more courtesy and respect rather than being summoned like dogs. To make matters more ridiculous, Jimmy Fallon made a crack at how librarians complain about their budgets being cut (by whispering in exasperation instead of shouting, but then he must not know that you don't have to be quiet anymore by today's standards). People laughed, but that doesn't make it universally funny. Everyone has their berserk button, and this happens to be mine. Sorry, Jimmy, but you're "on notice." Budget cuts are never funny to the people it's happening to.
In conclusion, I will not defer to these people anymore and neither should you. While drastic measures should be seriously considered before acting upon them, you should at least speak out on the issues that really concern you. Those that break the rules by needlessly putting themselves or others in harm's way should be made to eat crow instead of the rest of us being made to eat dirt.