Monday, August 3, 2015

Who Gets to Say?

At some point several years ago I noticed something: the only people I saw speaking against abortion were men. I thought it rather interesting, as the one most affected by the pregnancy concern is most likely the woman, for what I would think were obvious reasons. I suppose there may be those who would disagree with me, but it is how I saw it.

I share this now because I got to thinking about the "Entitlement Issues." I have never seen someone who would be eligible for an Entitlement speak against it. Instead, those who do speak against it are often those who are so far away from ever having that need.

It got me thinking about who is "entitled" to speak out against or for an issue. Those it doesn't affect personally may most likely be on one side with those it does affect, on the other. One might suggest that the unaffected are also likely to be less biased, but I think it is more that their bias "just" runs in a different direction, as there are beliefs held about the people on the other side of the issue that in some way can have an influence what they think of the issue.

One of the most sadly humorous things I have heard people say about entitlements is that people will just kick back, given everything is paid. They, apparently, are not motivated to do anything. The fact is, I am fairly sure that most who live off of entitlements are barely living, at all. 

I suspect it is rare that someone gets enough to truly live on. There are going to be cases of fraud and misuse of the system, but that is only a part of the story. If people have issues with that, then there should be a better system to prevent things like that from happening, rather than trying to minimalize getting help to those who truly need it.

I am a bit hesitant to raise these topics, as it is all too easy to get off track. I raise them as examples of a bigger picture and issue. We have a really hard time when it comes to these things because we are unable, and often unwilling, to admit where we truly don't know what we think we do. We often think ourselves qualified to make decisions for those whose situations we know very little, or nothing, about. 

We make these decisions, and we call it all kinds of positive things, while demeaning the other side of the issue, as well as those who are on it. And those people are the very ones who likely need the understanding and compassion their side of the issue speaks to. If they didn't need it, I am fairly sure you wouldn't even hear about it. 

Many people are uncomfortable asking for help. Many people don't like others knowing they are having issues. Many people will further hurt themselves out of pride before ever seeking someone beyond themselves. To say that people are different than that I think is all too easy of an argument to fall back on. 

We try to control people through our judgments. Just judge something, or someone, as bad, as you can affect them and their life. You can also affect how others perceive, and interact, with them.

It works all too well - as long as you are "fortunate" enough to all on the "right" side of the issue.

It is one of the tougher issues we face as human beings. How do we live together with such disparate experiences that can give us very different frameworks to work from? Some may not even care to know the "other side," especially if they are not affected by it. But then, if they are affected by it - especially if it is adverse to them somehow - the human inclination is likely to preserve status quo, rather than try to understand what the other person is dealing with.

Things like this happen all of the time, and even in ways that aren't as politically hot, or anywhere near as public. We do it in terms of our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. Any time we judge someone we are likely on a different side of the issue. 

I tend to think that if we do not know where exactly the person stands, or why s/he stands there, we really probably should say very little, if anything at all - especially if what we'd say would be at odds with the other person. Perhaps you'll argue it's for the person's "own good." Well. You can believe that, and justify what you think you should do by that argument, but if someone else did that to you, you might feel otherwise.

If you really want to help another, you could try to understand their perspective, their side, their experience, instead of trying to control, modify, or change it. If you did that, you might be able to be the ally they need instead of the potentially annoying gnat in their ear, or hurdle they need to overcome along with everything else they need to deal with.

More times than not I have been on the "wrong" side of things - according to others. I guess you could say that makes me quite biased in terms of this conversation. But, the interesting thing is, if I hadn't been, we might not be having this "conversation" at all, as I might not even think there was an issue, or if I did, I might be trying very hard to stomp it out, instead of trying to open the door of compassion and understanding. 

The sad thing is I almost think compassion and understanding are things that many people are more likely to talk about in theory, than actually act upon. And, even worse, they mistake their words for some sort of action.

You aren't caring about someone when you have to have things your way. You aren't caring about someone you manipulate, or try to control. To care about someone, what you want may be compromised in the process. Caring about someone may mean being willing to support something that is more supportive of another than it is of yourself.

It may mean a lot of things..many of which seem all too sparse these days. I wonder if we had more of it, if we'd have less of a need for actual money. I realize it might be quite a stretch to think that, but imagine the kind of world that could make that possible. It'd be pretty incredible.

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