Little kids get to say “I hate vanilla” and no one takes issue. We just smile and let them enjoy what they want. Teenagers oscillate between polar opposites with no apparent correlation to anything beyond the direction the wind is blowing. Although frequently annoying, we slough if off to hormones.
Then there are the old farts amongst us. Crotchety old buggers that tell you what they think with nary a filter. Men or women, it doesn’t matter too much. They’re respected because they have been on the planet for so long. Our society gives them the right to say how they feel even if some younger folks might be offended by their unyielding positions.
Those of us located somewhere in the middle are stuck being enlightened and sensitive. We knowingly realize that life is just a bunch of grays – the lines all blurred between right and wrong. God forbid we utter anything that could be hurtful or insensitive. This brings me to two questions that I grapple with:
I know, my critics will say we’re still an intolerant society so of course there are still problems. But with all the media and societal pressures brought on anyone who strays from the bland center, surely we must have become more tolerant than previous generations. So shouldn’t we be seeing some improvements? In the good old USA in the last couple of decades violence has risen, general health has decreased, and new designer drugs keep popping up. Where’s the proof this is the right course?
I’m not advocating hurting others for the sake of some twisted pleasure. In fact, those wild stone throwers are some of the ones I’m just itching to mock. I think of them as media-bullies. They’re amazingly fast at throwing the racist, intolerant, insensitive cards at others while they themselves live lives that have a stench worse than three-year old government cheese. I know well their strategy. The best defense is a good offense. Attack others before they can figure out there’s no substance to your being.
Alas, I’m trapped in my mid-fifties and probably out of line for even suggesting that such people exist. I guess I’m destined to sit quietly for another decade, forced to watch the inequities playing out before me. Bliss will have to wait until the 2020’s. Until then I guess I’ll have to settle for writing strong-willed characters that don’t give a rip about what others think. There’s some fun in that, but don’t think I haven’t marked my calendar for the day when my freedom rings.