Trying To Wake Up
"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
-Edith Wharton, novelist (1862-1937)
What Am I Missing Here?
It becomes clearer and clearer to me that disagreement is at the core of much that distresses the world. I can understand this, there is much angst among us. But, is it an indication that we are thinking too small? Is our looking out for #1,to the exclusion of everything else the source of this smallness? All I can think is that it must be. Otherwise, what some of us are saying is that it really is okay to let children starve to death. Who are we that this could be true of any one of us?
Yesterday, I was called to jury duty. I was not interviewed or selected, but I was present to the selection of a jury for a criminal trial, all day. We were given instructions to pay close attention to all questions asked by the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Early in the proceedings I thought about how a criminal trial epitomized disagreement. One of the questions the defense attorney asked potential jurors was whether they understood that the burden of proof of guilt was on the prosecutor. They pointed out that they were not obligated to defend the defendant's innocence. At least 20 people answered this question about the responsibiltiy of proof, and this gave me the opportunity to just listen to what they said without my own opinion engaged.
The charges in this trial characterized sexual misconduct. After the charges were read against the defendant, I looked within myself and tried to wipe the slate clean of my opinions about someone who would even be accused of these things. He was innocent until the prosecution had proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was guilty. I thought about this idea of a reasonable doubt. What is a reasonable doubt? Dictionary.com defines reasonable as, "Agreeable to sound judgment." "Doubt is defined as, "To hesitate to believe." So, what they were reminding us of over and over was that even though we might 'think' the defendant is guilty, if the evidence has not proven it, he is not guilty. I listened to the jury candidates answer whether they understood this concept thoroughly.
The prosecutor then asked if there were no forensics, ie: DNA, blood, tissue, etc, entered into evidence would that keep the juror from convicting. So now I am beginning to picture the situation where all the evidence was going to consist of statements made by witnesses. The jury candidates were being prepared to discern from what they heard, from those called to the stand, whether they were believable or not, and whether what they said constituted only bad moral judgment or a criminal act.
I started to think back on some of the articles I have read on HubPages and I thought about the comments left by myself and others. I wondered if there was anything we could all agree upon. The only thing I could think that we might agree on is that children should be taken care of at all cost. Then I remembered that the Tea Party and GOP congressional leaders are in favor of cutting subsidies for school lunches to public schools, even though it is known this might be the only meal some of those children would have that day. I thought about all the opposing opinions I read in the comments and hubs and again pondered whether there was anything on which we could all agree. If we could not agree to this most basic responsibility, caring for children, what could we possibly have in common?
When I was a very small child, I only had to hear once that there were children starving in some other part of the world to finish everything on my plate. Even at a very early age, the thought that someone my age might not have enough to eat, that day, was heart breaking. I saw the news reels and National Geographic specials showing children with their stomachs distended from the effects of starvation. I wondered then why no one was willing to help them and I am still wondering why no one is helping them, now. Seeing these things as a child made the world seem so out of balance that I could not imagine bringing another person into this world. It seemed obvious, to me, that there were enough people in the world, so quantity was not the issue, quality of life was the issue. I decided I would not have children, but would work to help change the attitudes among us that it is okay to have children that might die from starvation.
To me, having children is a privilege, not a right. Worldwide, child bearing is taken somewhat for granted, from what I can see, though. People have used many excuses for having children, which are not sound reasons, in my opinion, but this brings me back to my earlier question. Are we thinking too small, here on planet earth? People around the globe have children they cannot afford. They have children they know will someday be sent off to fight the battles of greed, oppression and hate for some despot already too long in control. They have children because their religion wants more followers. The list just goes on and on. But, why are so few people looking at the long term effects of this decision? Parenting is a lifetime job. And it really should be considered the directive of the community at large. Making sure that children are born into a nurturing environment is a huge responsibility and should never be taken lightly. Once children are born, however, making sure they have the opportunity to have a sound upbringing belongs to the whole community.
I read a story on AOL news, recently, that told of the illiteracy rate in Detroit, Michigan. The story said that over 50% of Detroit's population was unable to speak in complete sentences, read, write or do even simple math. The most startling fact, given in this story, was that most of the people they were referring to were high school graduates. Yet, in order to balance budgets both nationally and statewide, education is being cut further. I understand that you cannot make someone learn who does not care, but this brings me back to the issue of having children for whom no one is going to take responsibility. So, there really are two parts to my concerns. One is the lack of education surrounding bringing children into the world, and two is the lack of a structure, once children are born, to assure the quality of their lives, including education. So I have to ask all of us, here, is ignoring these issues bad moral judgement or is it criminal negligence?
Who, here, on HubPages does not see a problem with statistics like those in Detroit? Who does not recognize the threat to civilization caused by starving, uneducated masses whose futures are in jeopardy? Do we really believe that increasing the roles of the uneducated and poor will make this a better, safer world? If someone accumulating massive amounts of wealth thinks the money will keep them safe, just remember their security guards will likely come from this pool of the uneducated masses. If you continue to dangle the carrot of wealth in front of people whose choices for their lives are few, you cannot seriously believe that they will be satisfied to help you guard your own wealth and privilege indefinitely. If the population of the underprivileged becomes significant enough, we will eventually have anarchy. If you don't believe this, just look at the recent history of the Middle East and Africa. When will the quality of life on planet earth become important enough to wake up? Will it happen only after our own lives are placed in Jeopardy? Each one of us must answer this question for ourselves, because transformation, planet wide, will likely occur one person at a time.
International Love and Awareness Day
April 15, 2012
If you can offer your hand to one person in need today, by April 15, 2012 the transformation of the quality of life on planet Earth will be well under way.
Teach only love...