Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Just a Thought

“The most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing to help others?’ Do not say you will do it someday. Now is the time. Do not say that someone will do it. You are the one.”
--Martin Luther King

I was reading a progressive critique on the success of Rush Limbaugh. One of the main ingredients in his success is his ability to keep things simple. He addresses the events of the world from a simplistic singular point of view. This view put simply is that everyone should listen to him because he has the perfect opinion on everything. He never bothers with an opposing viewpoint or even attempts to create any sort of dialogue on his show whatsoever. That would only complicate matters. The reason this is the key to his success boils down to the fact that people do not want to contemplate their own existence, so they let others do it for them. Others who sound like they know what they are talking about.

Now, those of us who choose to reflect on the impact we have on our own lives, as well as the lives of others, understand that a fulfilling and happy existence can never be handed to us by someone else. Especially not from those who preach from the gospel of hate. But how do we convey this idea to the world in simple terms so that eyes that are clamped shut may begin to open? According to this author many have struggled and failed to give a simplistic opposing viewpoint in an attempt to awake the masses from their conservative coma.

I believe Martin Luther King kept it simple and he was right. History shines brightly on this great man who fought violence with compassion and awoke a nation from its hateful slumber, if at least for a moment. “What are you doing for others?” A simple thought that is more powerful than any smartbomb ever was. The reason this question remains persistent and urgent to this day really boils down to the simple fact of interdependence. Whoa! That sounds complicated but bear with me. In a nutshell it means that the world around us affects our lives. We can’t escape it. If someone in your immediate environment is unhappy, like a father or your spouse, then you are unhappy. This rule always plays out. If someone gives you a giant hug that is filled with joy, then that joy enters your heart and brightens your day. The same goes for our communities, the country we live in as well as the entire world. Those who think that this interdependence doesn’t exists need only to search the products in their home and undoubtedly will find something that was made in China.

With this in mind we can now look at how we make choices in our lives. Who are we thinking about when we make decisions? Are we thinking about how we affect others? Once we begin to understand that we affect the world around us with the choices that we make in the same way that the world around us affects us, then we can begin making intelligent decisions based on the benefit of all humanity. When we make choices with this thought in mind, ‘How is my choice going to affect me, the people around me and all of humanity?’ then we begin to see a definite shift in the purpose of the world.

Let’s be honest for a moment. The world seems like a pretty scary place right now. Terror has become a permanent part of our vocabulary. An unstable global economy permeates people’s lives the world over and has been put in the hands of corrupt individuals who care about little more than what color their private jet is decorated. In a time where instant conversation with those 5000 miles away has become possible we choose not to discuss our differences and fall back on the barbaric act of war to solve everything. Every day we throw away enough food to feed the entire planet, yet millions of human beings go to bed hungry. We know more about the sex life of J-lo than about how our democracy is governed. Oceans are being depleted of all life and species are dying off at an unprecedented rate. The ice caps are melting faster than...than...

Okay, breathe.

Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooooooo. Calmate.

This is the reality of our world today. It is a massive destructive force that exists and it will not go away by ignoring it. This is what you are avoiding when you nod in agreement to loud braggarts who’ve built their bully pulpits with lies. These are truths that you will never hear from Rush Limbaugh. He will never speak about them because he will never take responsibility for any of these problems. Unfortunately if we continue to do nothing we are be responsible and we will always feel the fear that these images invoke.

It is very difficult to create change in the world, but the reality is that the world must change. That change must begin with each and every individual who is alive at this moment. And we must begin now. Change never happens over night. It is a long and arduous path, but it is the path to riches beyond our imagination. We may never see the results of our efforts in this lifetime, but those who remain will witness and understand the miracle of compassion. Our children, their children and all the precious human beings that enter this world seek a magnificent future. We must give them a future of hope and joy and erase the current trend toward fear and destruction.

It all begins with a very simple thought, ‘What am I doing for others?’ When we vote, when we work, when we play, when we consume, when we speak, when we breathe - this thought must be present. It must be embedded in our lives. Otherwise nothing will ever change. The world will remain the way that Rush Limbaugh and all the other simple miserable selfish creatures have made it. That doesn’t fill my heart with joy. That doesn’t bring hope into my life. And THAT is simply unacceptable.

Just a thought for the next time the simple rhetoric of hate enters your lives.

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