Monday, April 16, 2007

The "Do not press that easy button" challenge.

Staples features an "easy" button in their ads, and I have noticed that society is more than happy to press their own personal "easy" button all too quickly.

Today at work, a woman put down her dog because it bit her kid. The dog was old, and sick, which caused its temperament to turn sour. She cried and apologized to the dog, saying "I wish I didn't have to do this". And then she turned to the kid, and told him that the dog was going to live with the vet from now on. After she left, the vet took the dog in the back room and before the injection was given, he said "Serves you right for biting that kid". The whole incident made me sick.

Two people... two "mature" adults refusing to take responsibility for their actions and blaming it all on a old, helpless, sick dog. Shame on you.

Now the issue here isn't about the dog biting the kid. I have no idea how bad the bite was. And undoubtedly parents are going to disagree with me here. I don't have kids yet and I can't see it from that viewpoint. Maybe one day I will.

But we have one woman who signs a form for her dog to be put down. Easy Button. The vet injects a poison into the dog. Easy button.
Both easy, thoughtless actions. And I hope you are okay with your choices because you are the ones who have to live with them. But most likely, they are both water off a duck's back by now... Shrug it off like it never happened.

Sure I'm mad about what occurred here, but the main issue is that everyone is all too ready to take the easy way out. I see it everyday, all around me. And it sickens me. Give that dog to someone how is able to care for it, teach your kids how to properly handle an animal, explore other options with your vet. Atleast a dozen other options, and you chose to sing a release form and wash your hands of it instead.

"I hate how high gas prices are. It's all Bush's/the Government's fault", says the person driving the SUV, who doesn't bother to carpool or consolidate trips. Easy Button. Couldn't possibly be our fault - must be the Government's.

"It's going to take $800 to fix my car, and I don't have that kind of money. I'll think I'll junk it and buy a new one."
or "My car is due for an oil change, new brakes and some other things. I don't feel like doing that and I'll feel like a change. I think I'll buy a new one." Easy button.
A car is a committment. If you don't have the time, the money or the guts for that kind of committment, take the bus.

A man who preaches about Global Warming, who doesn't practice what he preaches. Easy Button. Lead by example - more people will follow that than you squaking from your soapbox.

Calling someone names because you don't agree with what they say. Easy Button. Articulate WHY you disagree with them and try not to use name calling or bringing the other person's appearance/intelect into the arguement.

"My cat is a curtain climber..." or "That dog doesn't get along with the other one..."
" I'll get rid of them and make them someone else's problem." Easy Button. Easy Button. Stop and take the time to teach them how to behave. WARNING: It will take an enormous amount of time and patience. If you don't have either, then you probably don't deserve to have animals in the first place. Nor children for that matter.

And this list could go on and on for years. And I'm not saying I'm innocent of this either. Its something we all need to work on. I challenge everyone reading this to go a day without pressing their "Easy" button. If you take the time to explore other options, you will become stronger as a person. If you have animals that have behavioral problems, taking the time to train them will form a bond between you that you could never imagine. If you attacked issues in a debate rather than the other person, you just might learn something or see something from another viewpoint that never crossed your mind. If you believe in something strongly like global warming or religion, live your life to reflect that. Do it for yourself and the rewards will be much greater. Take care of your things, like a car, and your sense of ownership will increase. And in turn, you will be proud of the things you own because you took care of them, you took the time to make sure they worked properly.

Sure, it's not going to be easy. If it was, then we would have been born with a physical "easy" button when we were born. Instead, we were sent with free-will. The ability to choose between taking responsibility or not, and that's the beauty about being human - we have the ability to choose. Either way, you are the one who has to live with your choices.

As for me, I accept the challenge. I will take one day at a time, not resorting to pressing that "Easy" button. And I start that today.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Can't we all just get along?

In dealing with the new puppy, Serendipity, lately... I have experienced a new type of discrimination - breed discrimination. "Dippy" is a pitbull/boxer mix. She's sweeter than my dog. She hasn't snapped, growled or bitten. The worst she's done is nip, and that's because she is a puppy. She loves other dogs, but we aren't allowed to go to the dog park because of what she is. She needs obiedence classes, but if I were to enroll her, we'd have to pay more money to get private lessons. During walks, people give us dirty looks and hide their children.

And now with the release of Harry Potter book and movie this summer, the Anti-HP crowd is getting rabid. People who claim to be open-minded, state that others in same-sex relationships are going to hell. A good number of my friends are more liberal than I am, and they won't even listen to other viewpoints. They even stop talking to me when I express my own views.

You know why we have wars, un-neccessary stress, discrimination, etc? Because we refuse to open ourselves to learn about others. We need to stop dividing ourselves and start coming together. No more titles, no more barriers. We all have to be stuck here together. Why don't we make the most of it? Step out of your comfort zone and spend a day doing something that you may not agree with, but will open up your mind to others.

Don't like organized religion? Go spend a few Sundays or volunteer at your local Church. Get to know THEM as people and stop grouping them together by their religion. Upset at illegal aliens? Take a few classes in Spanish or volunteer as an ESL teacher. Think Harry Potter is the root of all evil? Pick up a book and read it. Think all pitbulls need to be put down? Spend a Saturday volunteering at a PitBull rescue society.

Take time to learn about these people,animals, etc on a personable level instead of a generalized, distant one... Get to know the individual instead of pretending to "know" a group. We don't know anything unless we take the time to discover something ourselves.

We have enough bounderies in our lives, such as languages and geographical distances. We don't need to be making more. The best way to learn about yourself and to become more confident in your own stances is to learn first hand about other viewpoints you may not agree with. I'm not saying change your mind about the issue, just open yourself up to learn about the other side too.

Open your mind and you will open your world.