A speaker at an event I attended last fall gave advice that when we want to be a part of solution or change, we should try to have that impact on a local level. I completely agree. It is very easy to feel helpless or powerless when we start thinking on a global or national scale. It is easy to direct anger at local officials when the issues that frustrate us are a result of a systemic breakdown of basic human values and political and financial leadership on a national level riddled with corruption and polarization.
Blaming either party, specific groups or someone else is the convenient way out. We no longer dialogue; we just accuse, shout and hope to convince someone else of our view. Civil conversation and results do not occur in a monologue.
Humboldt County has compassionate people. Some, though, are enablers.
Homelessness, drugs, crimes, lack of jobs and housing -- take your pick -- come from encouraging a victim mode and not holding someone personally responsible for any action. It is also a result of unadulterated greed. Statements such as all rich people, all corporations, all government, all growers, all developers, are made by people who ass-u-me and inflame.
Such statements solve nothing. Each situation, each individual, each circumstance is different. Today we live in a self-absorbed, narcissistic society that places more value on con men and those who give lip service. We don't reward talent, skill, hard work and those who don't play the game.
When we pay stars, sports players and reality TV wannabes more money than teachers and nurses, we need to look at our values. Many people don't speak up because to speak up is to suffer financially. I learned that lesson well in 50 years. Imagine if I had a spouse and family to support. I have no regrets.
Not once have I used any excuse or perceived characteristic as a reason for my struggles. There are days I feel discouraged and cranky and want to give up. I remember the words of someone I respect very much. He told me, “Never give up.” He also said, “You will be successful at whatever you do.” This is a man I respect who is self-made, I respect him and his financial success, but more than that, I respect him as a family man.
When you just value your life, your space, your needs, you see how the world needs to work only for you. We would make more progress if we looked at another human being, another stranger, another person also as our family.