Sunday, April 26, 2015

UNFAIRNESS OF LIFE

This is a difficult subject that has been  in and out of my brain many times and causes me confusion.  I think we all can agree that life is not fair.  In one way or another, one situation or another life just does not seem to play out fairly.

Life is unfair sometimes when it comes to wealth.  Life can be unfair when it comes to being able to be mentally healthy.  Life can be unfair with just about any situation you can think of.  The part of life that I want to address is the unfairness of life when it comes to health and unfair with the issue of life and death.

To begin with I think I need to state a few things.  I do believe in God.  I believe that we can be saved by God through belief in His Son and that eternal life through this salvation is true.  I am not sure how it all works, however, but I am sure it does.  For example, does God really decides when your time has come?  If He does does this make him a terribly unfair God?  Is there a reason for things that happen, or do we, our human selves, find a reason for things that happen and attribute it to Providence.  I simply have not come to a conclusive realization as to what really happens.  I realize that many of the readers of my blog do not believe the same way I do and so they may look at this subject from a different perspective.

There are so many different starting points on this subject, it is difficult to know where to start.  I suppose the one place to start is to look at a few people who have passed through no fault of their own or others for that matter.  Death visited and took them when they had so much more to give to the world.  I have written about a few of these.  I have written about Alesia Dawn who died in her mid teens of heart failure after being declared healthy and set for a normal life two weeks prior by her doctor.  I have written about Rachel, a young lady in her early twenties who had a tumor in her brain steal her from a world that needs more people as she was.  Both of these young ladies had so much to give, were so loved by families, friends and communities that the logic of losing them seems totally unfair.  I read about teenagers who kill younger children and yet they are allowed to live out a normal life, albeit under capture and in prison, but they are still living while Alesia and Rachel are gone.Is this really fair?  For it to even come close to being fair, there must be a message, a reason for Alesia and Rachel passing and a message or reason for the killer kids to be allowed to live a full life.  While I can look and see a few good things to come about after Alesia and Rachel died, it is difficult for me to see that these things outweigh the impact they would have had on people if they had lived.  Both of them were so special and loving and just plain good.

Another friend I wrote about was Laurie.  She was coming up on middle age when while on a business trip, she died during the night by herself in a hotel room in a strange city.  It was a natural death and made no sense at all.  Laurie was a person who had a great sense of humor and could put a smile on anyone's face.  She loved people and she loved life, yet it was taken from her for reasons that no one knows.  She was just gone.  Meanwhile so many people her same age that cause pain and hurt on humanity continue to go from day to day, out on the streets spreading hate and hurt wherever they go.  It was not fair to Laurie, or the rest of the world to lose her.

I have watched as two of my co-workers lost battles with cancer over the years.  Both of them were my age.  Both of them were very good responsible people who were liked, if not loved, by most people in the office and in their lives.  Why?  They each left a spouse and children behind.

Now I hear of another friend who is apparently entering her final battle with a cancer that she has fought for years.  She spreads love and kindness wherever she goes.  She is an inspiration to those that know her.  She is a helper to members of her family that need her.  She guides nieces and nephews as they try to make their way through life.  And now it looks as though the battle is coming to an end. Someone who has worked so hard to help is rewarded by taking the life they love away.

Stopping a moment to make it clear, I do believe all of these people have been given eternal life by He who promised it to them.  It doesn't ease the pain or the feeling of loss or what they meant to the world to make any sense though,  Not to me.  It is hard for me to understand.

Even when elderly people die, there seems to be an unfairness to it.  We can look at someone who has lived a long life and be thankful that we had them for so long.  The pain and loss is still there but we can look at their lives as a whole and see a whole library of things that they had accomplished and the differences they made.  Then my mind shifts to one man.  One man who is still alive in California and living off of the government and shows no sign of dying.  Charles Manson.  Is it fair that my Uncles have died while Manson continues to thrive and be taken care of and not making any contribution to society or to humankind whatsoever?  There are lots of Mansons out there who continue to make their way through life while others have passed and I am sorry but I would much rather have my aunts and uncles alive and teaching me rather than see a news report on Manson every six months.  Fairness is not present even when an elderly person passes.

Finally, what about the fairness to those who are left behind after the death of a loved one?  I am not sure how I would be able to see others complain about kids or friends or family members when I have lost mine.  I am pretty sure I would feel frustrated, hurt, angry ... all kinds of emotions.

What about a mother who loses her father, has her son take his own life because of bullying, and loses her husband when they have only had thirty years or so together?  Then her daughter and another son fall ill while she tries to continue on and keep the family together?  It isn't her fault to have all these things befall her and it certainly isn't fair when looking at other families around who cause trouble and are what some would describe as pure evil.

Life is not fair when it comes to matters of life and death.  I am not sure why I felt compelled to write this other than to express my own confusion at the seemingly randomness of it all, and the random feeling makes it feel so unfair.

This is a confusing writing I know.  It is just thoughts flying off the top of my head and going down to the keys.  More or less, I think this is to serve me as a starting point in which to be able to think about these things and try to come to an understanding.  I am not sure if understanding it is possible though.

I don't care so much for my life.  It is something in my head that makes me feel that I would be happy to trade places with Alesia or Rachel or Laurie or anybody I know that is being taken unfairly.  Each time I hear of someone and my head says "that is SO unfair" the next thought is immediately "Let me take their place".  Let the world receive all that they have to give.  It is much more than I have to give.

This is just a starting off point, I think, in my quest to make sense of things.  To understand.  I know it doesn't make sense, but then again, you all get a first hand look into my mind and the way it thinks.

Maybe this will help me.  Maybe it will help you.  Maybe it will make us all just stop and think a little.  I don't know.

Monday, March 30, 2015

AMERICAN FLAG OUTLAWED IN SCHOOL?

When I first saw the headline my first thought was "surprise surprise, proud to be an American is not acceptable."  Then I started reading the article and what I read absolutely stunned me.  The article came from the Los Angelas Times (not known for conservative viewpoints at all) and seemed to lay out the facts in a straight forward manner.

The problem arose on May 5, 2010.  The Latino community celebrates this day as Cinco de Mayo.  As part of the teaching of diversity in our world, Cinco de Mayo has become a day that I would wager almost every public school "celebrates".  On the surface this seems like a fairly good idea, at least an idea that I have tried not to slap down except when it gets out of control.  I approve of teaching diversity of ALL cultures.  I think if we are going to teach diversity, it should not be limited to only black culture or latino culture.  I think Irish culture should be taught in March.  St. Patricks Day is as big of an event for the Irish as Cinco de Mayo is for latinos.  Canadian culture should be taught on the second Monday in October to teach Canadian Thanksgiving, or whatever Canadians consider to be their big holiday is.  May Day for Russian Culture, whatever culture has a big day that celebrates the culture in and of itself.  Cinco de Mayo certainly attains that status.

Here is what happened as far as I can understand.  This little school in Northern California decided to hold it's annual Cinco de Mayo parade and celebration in 2009.  The Latino students unfurled a Mexican flag and paraded proudly around the school with it high in the air celebrating what they consider their culture.  In a display that exhibited the need for the teaching of diversity, some non-latino students took offense at the waving of the Mexican flag in their faces and began to shout who knows what at the parading students.  This wasn't right and this would have been a prime time to actually TEACH diversity to some of these kids who took offense at others pride in their heritage.  That may have happened, I am not sure.

Move ahead one year to May 5, 2010.  Once again Cinco de Mayo was on the calender to be celebrated as a tool for showing and teaching the diversity that is the United States.  Some students that weren't Latino decided it would only be fair to display their own pride in the face of a foreign flag being paraded about the school campus and so they donned white t-shirts with the American flag displayed across the chest.  These shirts did not have any racists remarks, American slogans, as a matter of fact they carried no words at all.  Just a simple American flag across the chest.

The latino students were outraged.  They shouted at the kids with the flag shirts calling them racists among other unsavory things.  The school administration anticipating feelings growing to a point of where it could be out of control and possibly bring on some physical confrontations called the kids with the American Flag shirts up to the office and told them to turn their shirts inside out or go home.  Two students decided to stand on principle and go home instead of giving in to crowd that felt this apparently was not a day that being American should be celebrated.

Has anyone heard of the First Amendment?  The Supreme Court has upheld all kinds of cases involving the displaying of the American flag as a First Amendment right.  From hair scarfs displaying the Stars and Stripes to underwear.  It is a right to wear shoes or to make a work of art that displays the American flag with either a positive or a negative message.  When I read this story this morning I was stunned, although I suppose I shouldn't have been.

SCOTUS has allowed the Confederate flag to be displayed freely as a first amendment right although there is an exception.  They would prefer that states do not use the Stars and Bars as part of their state flag in an official manner, which I can understand.  Mississippi got around this ruling by designing a new state flag that included the display, in miniature of all the previous state flag of the state, which happened to include a couple of stars and bars renditions.  The Confederate flag can be argued as being a part of southern heritage, but it is so offensive to a great deal of the American population that it was decided not to allow it as part of State Seals, flags and the sort.  I get that.  I actually agree with it.  However, the average American citizen can display the Confederate flag in any way he wants as often as he wants.

The Nazi flag which displays a swastika can be paraded through the streets by groups of White supremacists through Skokie, Illinois, a highly populated Jewish town outside of Chicago.  Any national flag of any country may be displayed as part of a private display by a citizen of the United States.  Some of these flags do offend certain people and it is understandable that they do.  However part of living and being a citizen in this great country is the fact that you have the right to do so.

When I was young and just a little dimmer than I am now, I came across a basketball jersey that had USSR emblazoned across the front of it.  No surprise it was on sale and so I bought it and wore it to several pick up games that I played in with a church related activity.  I could be told that it wasn't cool and that I should not be proud of it, but it was an Olympic year after Nixon had reach accords with the USSR and I more or less felt it was okay.  No one could tell me NOT to wear it though.  I eventually set it aside and haven't worn it for years.  It sits in the bottom of one of my drawers, just another reminder of my rebellious youth.  In other countries I may have been turned in to the authorities and prosecuted, but not in this country.  This country is special.

The purpose in me writing this is simply to say it is an affront to American history, American culture and The Constitution to strip those kids of their first amendment rights by not allowing them to wear a shirt that simply displayed the flag of their own country because it may offend some kids who are waving a foreign flag around the campus.  If they do not want violence on that school campus, then do away with the parade celebrating the holiday.  Instead focus on teaching the diversity within the classroom forum.  The Latino kids should be able to wear shirts with the Mexican flag on it just as other kids should be able to wear a shirt with the American flag on it.  In my opinion, if you are going to stomp on someones first amendment rights, it should not be the kids who display the American flag.

Right now, SCOTUS is reviewing the case to decide whether to hear oral arguments later in the term or to let the 9th circuits ruling stand and not hear arguments.  I sincerely hope the Supreme Court does decide to hear the case.  It needs to be heard.  It needs to send out a message that the first amendment covers everyone, those who are proud of their foreign history and heritage and those that are simply proud to be an American.