The obligation that may be required of some is waived for others and expectations frequently depend on such arbitrary factors as your skin color, family status, sexuality, size, sex and most insidiously, one's economic status. These make-believe obligations created and perpetrated by human beings pale in comparison to what I wish to write about in this post. I have always understood that there are obligations that are far more important than those imposed by law or social expectation. Some claim that their "moral code" flows from the importance that they place on their religion, but I have found many of the prohibitions and encouragements or admonitions regarding behavior, made by holy texts are willfully denied or ignored willfully by the very same people who want to quote said books chapter and verse. The human mind is malleable and making a rigid system of laws only assures that some people will operate outside the law. What we do and how we go about it will always be a function of personal choice, however, we are often obliged to behave in ways that are sanctioned by laws, or at least in ways that do not run afoul of the law.
When I signed the social contract, decades ago, working to get and keep a good credit score, paying my taxes, voting, etc. there was some expectation of the system being obliged to offer me services. another very important aspect of obligation. Our nation still has on the books many laws that we are obliged to enforce, but that go overlooked. The revolving door between board rooms of major, regulated industries and so-called "government service". In these relationships the only people who are obliged to be served are the very corporations that government seeks to regulate. Obligation.
Some relatively easy ways to remember the laws that are most important require getting back to basics. Most people will determine the big three to be "First, do no harm.", "Always clean up your mess" and "Treat others as you would like to be treated." Medical doctors have helped to popularize the first one, yet in my country, more people die each year from iatrogenic (doctor caused) disease and illness than die in automobile accidents. If I were to walk around my property, I would find many items that constitute other folks' mess and chances are that when I go forth into the world, I will find several people who will treat me in ways that they would detest if the same were done to them. If we truly were obliged to follow even these three relatively well-established rules, conditions world wide would be improved instantly.
Remember, even a tiny gesture of goodwill multiplied by 7.3 billion souls can create miraculous beneficial change. Surrounded by an aura of recent deaths of family, friends and iconic figures, I can only say this about obligation. We are obliged to learn from the dead, to shape our world upon what they had learned, their compassion and humanity is what gives us all of our opportunities. As I tell myself and others that have lost dear ones, when death stalks close, it reminds us how important every moment truly is. We are obliged to use them wisely and treat them as the gifts they are.
It would seem that we have some obligation to teaching and learning the truth about issues that we face daily, however this is not currently the case. Trumped up charges and hearsay seem to win the day more often than not in our current system. The media certainly feels no obligation to speak truthfully or plainly about the issues they "cover". When I studied journalism, we learned the maxim: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Now, it is possible to read, hear or see news that has two and sometimes three things from that list missing. It gets even more terrible when you realize that some of those elements of the story are fiction. One of the great lies that are being told to gullible people now is that human-rights protesters that are rallying around our nation are being paid to stand up for human rights. I'm not sure who benefits from the "Hands-up, Don't Shoot" rallies or the "I Can't Breathe" protests that are sweeping the nation, Water protectors or Occupy! protesters, but this is not a follow the money issue. These protesters are poor! It is more of a follow the long trail of dead bodies leading to the local police department sort of issue. Many "organizers" of these protests are being jailed, so if they were paying people to rally, a simple look into the finances of these "masterminds" would be enough to prove the allegations. However, that would make sense, but just leveling the charge is enough to prove to the ignorant that they know enough already.
Over fifty percent of black males (20-30 years old) in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin are serving jail time, "on paper" (serving probation or parole) or they are in prison, most for non-violent drug crimes. In federal prison, only 3.5% are for violent crimes and that includes not only murder, but robbery, assault, kidnapping and threats against the President. More on this in a minute. That means that the youth, especially black young people are living without fathers, brothers, uncles and mentors. What they have to base their ideas upon is the reality that they are surrounded by, I'm pretty sure that in their situation, you would not have to pay me to get me to put my life on the line for a chance to simply be heard. Now that rich white guys in suits have found ways to make tons of cash from legal pot, the competition has been taken out of the equation. The entrepreneurial folks who were relatively small-time dealers are put away for decades, in some cases, life. Now, the exact same activity is now sanctioned because the ruling class has found a way to make sure that the profits flow to folks who look just like them. Who is obliged to pry equity from this distorted extortion? Money is truly thicker than blood or water. My obligation is to ask the right questions about, why? Show where the facts lead.
These and other facts need to be repeated, sometimes to those who are uncomfortable hearing them. I feel obliged to tell my friends in Russia that the ongoing tensions in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea and the shooting down of the airliner last summer are perfect examples of how the leadership of your nation flagrantly violates human rights of innocent human beings. Don't think that I am trying to make any other nation out to be without fault, on the contrary, our nation continues to jail blacks at disproportionate rates and the killings of innocent people happen here routinely, that is why we protest. I can point out that there have been waves of protests in Russia, but understanding that the police have different tools there than ours do here is an important first step to understanding some of the differences between protesters here and protesters there. Human rights violations know no political boundary, they are based on an old view that some of us are better than others and that the thugs all look, or act a certain way. Peaceful protests are the face of real change, we are not going away. Sometimes the only way to "win" is to outlive your opposition.
What is beginning to become clear to everyone is that the oligarchs have hired the best security staff on the planet and outfitted them with weaponry capable of subduing even the largest crowds. Whatever means necessary are routinely utilized to terrorize our own people, whether the final result is that the young child or fetus is made ill by industrial emissions, or the young mother drinking nitrates from her well, the result is the same. It is an attack on those incapable of fighting back. We routinely see human rights violations, whether they are the result of directly being killed by police who may have mistakenly felt threatened or extra burden placed on the rape victim who has to travel to another state for an abortion. The child who is deemed "in need of drugs" by their teachers is just as much a victim of terrorism as the child waved into adult court so the powers that be can revoke any sense of obligation to rehabilitate them. One is made to be afraid of themselves, the other is made to fear others. We are all complicit for not making this a national issue. when it takes many times the amount to incarcerate young men, than to educate them, are we not obliged to educate them? Perhaps that is the only true rehabilitation.
If we intend to improve conditions on the ground for our fellow human beings, we must all take a stand for truth, justice and democratic principles. Not capitalistic ideas, not communistic ideas, not even socialist approaches will work if we focus on them exclusively. What we need is a good dose of humanity. An ethic that reflects the idea that human rights are non-negotiable. We are obliged to understand whom it is that we serve and to withdraw our support from those who would wantonly gun us down for standing up for the rights of others to live free and unmolested, even if that means standing up and speaking out against our own inhumane leaders.
|This has been my status since the Presidential election again. Not felt since the Eighties when this was put to paper!|
Remember, I initially wrote this in 2015, long before the current slew of idiots had gone rogue on Capital Hill and at the White House. In my book, they are traitors to our system of government. Lying cheating crooks need to be called out at every opportunity. We could not have a better object lesson for criminals in the White House, illegal activities throughout the campaign for the Presidency and right through to today, as systematic attempt to crash our system of government.