I always like to see what my fearless editor, as well as the other columnists for our fine publication, write for column topics every week. That’s obvious, because I don’t want to duplicate anything in my writing – you know, harrumph, here, here, and all that jib-jive. So, when Dana got on the Trump/Streep feud, that stole some of my thunder, but that’s okay, because I’m going a step further. The evening of that latest verbal debacle, during the Golden Globe Awards, I started checking Facebook and Twitter for responses and threads, and by golly, dad gummit, there were a lot of them. Imagine that! So, I’m reading a long thread of comments, for Meryl, for Trump, against both of them, you get the drill. And I’m thinking, because I know a lot of these people posting stuff, I’m thinking, wow, do these folks ever work, or do anything outside of social media? Of course, there’s more to this story other than the Golden Globes fiasco, because sometimes I dig deep to read what others are posting (hey, I get my best column ideas from these people). I have learned to hold my tongue, even chuckle now, because the literary barrage just goes back and forth, back and forth, on and on, and on, and on, and on...
Is this the best we’ve got to give to the world on a daily basis? Is this all we’ve got? Think about all that time spent on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, posting, and reposting. Yeah, I’ve been guilty of it, but I’ve got a few other jobs I’m responsible for, and some, I think, actually move society forward in a positive way. I’m not bragging, but come on people, I feel like the coach who’s team is down 30 points at halftime, chiding them to shake off the apathy, and get their heads back in the game. Consider this: are you really moving society ahead by holing up on your laptop or tablet, reiterating your position along with your internet buddies, when you could take even one quarter of that time to perhaps help around your community by helping some kid, adult, or organization? There’s a term that my son brought back from basic training that states, to the effect, “respect given as respect is earned.” I believe that. If you’re thinking people should respect you just because of your highly biased political rants, all your wonderful past life accomplishments, your social status because you, your family, your family’s family, and associated folk have grown up in the same area, you get the keys to the kingdom – boy, buddy boy, you better think again. I have to say my respect goes out to several people who I see first hand, work with people they wouldn’t normally work with, just for the betterment of society. Further more, in my mind, they have any opinion they darn well want to have, and I have no problems with that, because I know they are out there as contributors – givers, not just takers.
Hey, I get paid to write, that’s just one job. I get paid to have a couple of after school programs for kids, to help schools out during the day by taking over classrooms, and to work with getting people with disabilities good jobs and a better life. I’m hoping I’m pushing it forward in a positive way. I see others in different capacities doing the same. I also see, and help prove me wrong, people who just hole up, thinking they are helping society out by commenting, ad nauseam, on EVERY thing EVERY hour seemingly, of EVERY day. I’ve got buddies on both sides of the political spectrum who do this. You know what, Republicans, hey, you’ve won – why keep firing slugs into a dead horse? Democrats – what a whiny bunch, holy Moses and the Red Sea. We’ve got the new reality coming up soon, actually already immersed in it, but dang, my brethren, you guys are just as bad. Whiny middle school kid bad. But no, some of you who read this will grumble, say some selected epithets, and go right back to your important stuff that you need to spew online.
Well, no more. I just can’t throw respect there. Yeah, I’m throwing shade, but that comes with the territory in this gig, I guess. But consider this – anyone can change their methods if they truly want to, at any point in their life. An hour out of your internet schedule to head over to Methodist Manor to spend some time with some folks there, volunteering at Goodwill or SOS, hey, Christine Carlson could use your help in the TLC after-school program at Storm Lake Middle School – there are a lot of ways to help move it forward in society.
To wrap, and perhaps throw some guilt your way (I pull that out of my Catholic past). My in-laws are 92 and 90, and still volunteer weekly around town. My 92 year old father-in-law can run circles around me in that respect. You know, we have discussions on politics and life – we don’t always agree, but I respect his position, and of course, I love him. I think “‘respect given, respect earned” applies there. He’s out there, helping, pushing, daily. I respect that. So, if I’m shaming, and you’re mad at me for that – the kind of “why-is-that-dumb-S.O.B.-telling me-this-and-where-does-he-get-off” type of feeling, yep, that’s the kind of reaction to think about. As we enter a new, almost unprecedented era in America politics, and opinions, consider doing something that actually helps someone else, even if in a small fashion. If not, head back to your computer, and keep posting. I’ll be doing my best Big Brother, and watching, because I can always use the story ideas.