I was browsing through some old music yesterday and came across a recording of Gil-Scott Heron doing a cover of the classic Marvin Gaye song, Inner City Blues. While I listened, smile fixed firmly, I started thinking of the general feel of the world back then.
I have a young cousin whom I believe thinks that his generation has invented social outrage. I think that a lot of his generation think that, just as my generation thought that we invented it. What struck me was the fact that whenever we speak, I find myself sounding more like “the establishment” than the revolutionary I was way back when.
So what happened?
When did I go from screaming “off the pigs!” to becoming a supporter of the police even in these troubling times. When did I change my views on social programs to being the guy yelling for mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients? When did I change my thoughts on the way the penal system is run? More importantly, why did everything change?
Why was I suddenly on the same side as my parents? I have to admit, I was really confused at that point. Then it hit me. The world just got really stupid. Really, really stupid. I’ll show you an example.
In the 60s and 70s, racism was at a peak. Blacks trying to get to be accepted and whites fighting it tooth and nail. But my generation knew how to fix that. We simply accepted each other and figured that when we were older, things would be different. Change from within right?
When we got older, we suddenly became overly sensitive. We suddenly became politically respectable. Keep that word in mind…it’s another way of saying douchebag. So now, we’re not content with just living and treating each other according to the golden rule of treat others as you wish to be treated. Now, we have a whole set of rules. We can’t say this word, we can’t talk about that subject, we can’t, we can’t, we just can’t.
So instead of fixing the situation by making everybody equal, we have succeeded in putting people back on islands. And this is where it gets really stupid. Now, if I say I expect welfare recipients to be drug tested, I’m a racist. Notice, I didn’t say Black welfare recipients or Asian recipients…it just stands to reason that white people don’t use welfare. Which anybody can tell you, is complete and utter bullshit.
Within the penal system, again it goes to the use of my tax dollars. Why do I have to keep paying for murderers and rapists…of any color…to be incarcerated for life? Or career criminals for that matter. I’m sorry, but if they pull your file and it looks like a copy of War and Peace, I don’t think you need to be around in any society. My ideals changed due to economics. My economics to be more precise. Now that I needed to make money to keep a family alive, I was all to aware of taxes. Taxes that we as a whole, let get ridiculously out of hand. Stupid.
I have a saying I’m fond of. When asked how I feel about other races, I tell people that I’ve been screwed over, hurt and maligned quite a few times in my life. About 99% of the time, it was a white guy doing it. So, if I’m going to make generalizations based on isolated incidents, I’ll have to go with being prejudiced against whites.
But now that I’m on the working side of the payroll, I’m not so inclined to give my already taxed to death money away. I’m not against welfare, I’m against people using it to keep a drug users life going. I’m not against curbing police violence, I’m against you being stupid enough to antagonize them into being violent. I’ve been stopped by the cops a lot…I’m no angel so it wasn’t a Mr. Squeaky-Clean white man stop. I’ve been thrown against cars and walls but never lost my composure. If they say put both hands on your head, guess where my hands are? I’m not stupid enough to argue with an armed man or woman.
So, I’m blaming stupidity for the changes in my stand. Politicians get greedier and people just blindly follow them. Stupid. Racism is stronger than ever but people accept it as political correctness. Stupid. For all we fought for, nothing has changed except the outward appearances. If anything, things have gotten worse. Sure, we have a few good victories…women’s rights have improved, abortion issues have improved, religious issues are better…but there’s a good chance all those small victories will be gone tomorrow.
Because of stupidity.
So here’s the deal. You can’t change things with peaceful protest. You can’t change things with lawful assembly. You can’t change things with petitions, town hall meetings, letters to your congressman…you can’t change things. All you can change is yourself. Look at the world differently and hope that you’ll find enough people that see what you see. Keep true to your ideals and maybe someday they’ll be a reality for more than just you.
You don’t need rules and regulations to tell you how to behave with other people. What you need is morals. There are no differences among races other than the ones we allow to mark us. Same goes for religion, sex or sexual orientation.
Don’t sweat it if your ideals seem to have shifted. They might have, but mostly you’ve just had enough of the dumbed-down world around us.