Above image from newsone.com
Like most people, I have my political views which I share with my friends. I am normally low key about politics but this year has been an exception, with polarizing language used in this election pulling me into a more active involvement. But now it is all over and time to get back to work. No matter who you voted for, it is time to roll up our sleeves and attend to business.
It is no secret that my political leanings are liberal, being married to an immigrant certainly shifted me that way if I wasn’t already there. But, in many ways I consider myself conservative in what, is to me, the true sense of the word. I am fiscally conservative in that I don’t want money spent needlessly and I also don’t want government deciding how I live my life. These two elements of conservatism used to be a pillar of Republican values. Of course I diverge in what I think is needless (tax breaks for oil companies and military buildup) or how I think government is invasive (regulating reproductive choice for women) but that is another matter…
My point is this. The voters made a clear choice, a referendum, on what they want but there still are all the other voters that didn’t get their choice left behind. Unfortunately, instead of uniting and trying to progress together, many people have resorted to the blame game.
Americans love to lay blame for all sorts of things: why they are in a bad mood, why their team lost the game, why their marriage is failing, why their job sucks, why their candidate didn’t win. Of course blame is not just an American quality, rather a human one, but we Americans seem to revel in blame far too much. We complain a lot about everything and it seems that the more one has, the more one complains. If you don’t believe me, go to a Third World country for a while. Daily living there is so so much harder than anything we face on a daily basis yet you will see more people happy and smiling.
India has a particularly interesting approach to the concept of blame within the Hindu faith. They believe that the fate you are born into is determined by God. They call this your caste. Western culture has vilified the caste system as horribly oppressive and to be sure, by American standards the caste system makes it very difficult to advance beyond your caste. The caste system, however, does have its positive aspects and that is because Indians see their fate as predetermined by God, they don’t complain about it, in fact they strive to do their best because that is their way of honoring God. A street sweeper works diligently to be the best street sweeper and so on.
I am not an advocate of the caste system, just illustrating a point. Even in miserable conditions, the choice is ours how we perceive our situation what action we take. The reality is laying blame on others for our misfortune is a cop out, an easy way not to take responsibility for our life and change it for the better.
I speak from direct experience. I have led a challenged life, one which could have easily caused me to feel sorry for myself and blame others. At the tender age of 3 months I was hospitalized for an overdose of vitamin A, given to me by my mother in an attempt to cure the flu I suffered from while my father ignored us both. The result nearly killed me. I was given a complete blood transfusion, predicted to die in childhood and had over 18 operations on my legs that still left me with a limp. I could blame my parents, the doctors who operated unnecessarily, the woman who wrote the book which said vitamin A could help with the flu but no warning on dosage. I could blame all of them and more but I choose not to.
I decided early on that I was not going to be a victim of any kind and that what had happened to me did not define me, did not limit me, did not take away my power. Have I forgiven those who hurt me? No, not necessarily. I personally don’t feel that is necessary. What they did was wrong, some of it intentional, some not, but it is not my role to forgive. Instead I just see it as what it is: something that happened, something to deal with, something to overcome, something to move beyond.
I have met so many people who have experienced challenges in their lives. Some have lost loved ones, suffered diseases and much more. Everyone has reason to blame something, someone, but it does us no good.
As a country we need to move beyond this dialogue of blame. Women are not to blame for rape, immigrants are not to blame for our debt, gays did not steal the election, Obama is not to blame for our problems. One man, one president, can not do it all. He is not to blame for all the problems nor can he take credit for all the successes. As individuals, working together for what we believe in, we have far more power to change than any one president can but first we have to stop the blame, stop the hate, on both sides.
Blame does not solve anything. The United States of American is slipping behind on a global level. We need to be smarter and more productive. We need to unite and use the ingenuity we were so known for in the past to make us a leader again. And on a family level, let’s get involved in the education of our children, both on an academic and social level. Teach them the skills so they can have a bright economic future no matter what and show by example, that by having compassion to all races, creeds and lifestyles, one becomes a better person.