The Crumbling of Decency & The Road Back
I’ve spent quite a bit of time musing~should I write this article? Should I be as authentically honest as I usually am? Will I hurt anyone unintended with the information revealed, will I come across as a downer, instead of the eternally optimistic believer in positivity?
Eventually, as with any major decision, it comes down to whether or not you can manage your everyday without the subject invading your thoughts, upsetting your actions, & leaving you with the feeling that the subject pervades everything, & needs to be addressed in order to move ahead. “Stuck in my craw” is a colloquial expression I love that suits perfectly.
In an effort to understand the current American climate, I’ve surfed a plethora of subjects, & found a dearth, for now, of information helping us to identify & correlate the elements needed to resist. That’s what I want to identify. How very much of it involves who we are, how we react, who we blame, who we champion, what we see, what we choose not to see…& how important it all is.
Albeit the fact that the United States was never white, nor ever without a division between church & state, many in the country are searching for a catch-all to carry their woes & resentment, remembering a time through rose-colored lenses that never really was. I get it. I’m angry & confused too. I was raised in a 28-room mansion on Philadelphia’s Main Line, spent summers on the Riviera, was educated privately, & eventually made a 6-figure salary. Suffice it to say, my life today, like many thousands of people, is nothing at all like it was. But the distortion that occurs when people feel ripped off shouldn’t result in aggressive hatred toward anyone or anything, & certainly not align itself with liars & phony bullies promising pipe dreams that will never materialize in our lifetime. They are using our collective disillusion & desperate need for hope, to fuel the centuries-old robber baron syndrome. The more they promise we will be delivered to our glory days, the more they rob us of not only our few dollars left, but so much more importantly, of our belief that tomorrow will be better, & our hope that life is an ever-evolving, glorious gift, that we do indeed, have a hand in.
Case-in-point: Today’s reality shows are akin to the gladiator games in ancient Rome. When people are unhappy, they sometimes look for distractions, & people who might be in a rougher situation than they are. We’ve seen this occur in ancient Rome, in Nazi Germany…& now, in the United States. It gives credence to the idea that the United States is in its’ death throes by allowing these ugly trends to take root in our society. In addition, although we have always been a consumer-based country, with free enterprise & such, never have there been so many people who strive only to have the latest I-phone, or who revere people who made their fortunes by conning everyone who crossed their paths.
The stories I will mention here have either happened directly to me, or have been retold to me first-hand.* It’s easiest to bullet point the damages, & facilitates open discussions that can only clarify & ultimately help.
~How can anyone in any community believe in justice…when a little girl is abused, & the local state’s attorney’s office, in its’ entirety, not only ignores pleas for any sort of assistance, but, adding insult to injury, provides information & a legal referral to the accuser-who has admitted, in a sealed court document, that he did indeed abuse the child? Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize the admitted abuser was an ex-business partner of the state’s attorney. As I pen this, I exhale delightedly in knowing Alabama has cleared its throat & moved forward, despite similar entanglements.
~How can anyone cherish their faith when hypocrites,liars & violent abusers abound…even still teaching bible classes to children after being confirmed a predator, or just after tyrannizing their family, & their female neighbors, don robes & preached phony civility & ephemeral charity from a clay-footed pulpit where there is always an appreciative audience who hasn’t spoken to anyone intimately involved in these monsters’ lives? Christianity has taken such a hit, because Christians do not cull the rot from their ranks in fear of causing too much fuss.
~#MeToo~ As most women know, there is no one among us who hasn’t been blacklisted for opening her mouth to protect & defend herself, her children or her co-workers. And yet, all over America, we continue to pay the most exorbitant prices for what the good ‘ole boys take as their right. It doesn’t matter whose life is derailed or destroyed. It only matters that the old guard takes & keeps what they want, no matter what. I hope that women will keep coming forward, & know that the price we pay is worth it, & that society will help alleviate the damages. It is clear that many men who enjoy a bullied-into-glory status are actually terrified of women who simply know better, & spend their time & efforts on more inclusive & productive endeavors. It is high time their self-absorbed reign is ended.
~Why has bullying become an openly accepted practice? Apart from the bully-in-chief, why do we seem to revere bullies, share videos of abusive behavior, promote teasing & torturing of any creature, & accept that when someone doesn’t get what they want, when they want it, allow lashing out to become commonplace, & no longer shocking or punishable?
~Why do women acquiesce? I know they do not have physical or financial parity, definitely part of the problem. But still, when you see a woman or child or puppy suffering, how do you, as a women, lower your head & finally sink into sleep knowing you did nothing to stop the assaults you yourself have suffered?
I know that both times I was physically attacked, the perpetrators picked me because I was simply the smallest woman in the room. I was able, thank God, to defend myself, sending both men to the hospital. But I severely injured my neck, spine & both my feet in doing so. A lifetime of painful reminders of what was considered an everyday, just deal with it occurrence. I also know I was far more hurt by women who lowered their heads & pretended nothing had happened, than I ever was by the defendants. I would have to say that watching people pretend that nothing has occurred when so much damage has, is akin to watching people dragged from their homes during Kristallnacht.. …as in the neighbor who said, in a drunken stupor, that it’s just how it is, or the policeman who asked if one of the attackers was my husband. I assume he thought trying to strangle me would be okay if we were married.
~Lawyers…where do I begin? The power trip that enables them to threaten witnesses & defendants to do what they want? The condescension & contempt they display openly in assuming no one can do what they do? The forced advantage they try to take to profit from someone’s worst moments in life? The utter delusion that they can abuse the justice system because it is now too complicated for most people to navigate?I have represented myself, successfully, in multiple lawsuits against thieving employers, bullying construction & landscaping companies, aggressive landlords, phony foreclosure suits, & a chapter 7 bankruptcy.* How I absolutely delight in the amazed expressions of lawyers who tried to wrest what they could from me & others by telling scary stories, threatening legal retribution,falsifying documentation & suborning perjury…I have personally witnessed it all. There is truly a special place in hell for lawyers. Here’s a link to the awful reviews, including mine, of a “Christian” lawyer who alluded to various historical & literary examples as to why I’d be better off killing myself, rather than face him in court!
In my Lifestyle consultancy, I am regularly asked how I have coped with everything, & still remain healthy, happy, productive & appreciative of what I have in life. Quite simply, I cherish my well-being above all else, even when that includes fighting back. I cherish my friends, my pets, my travels, & so much more on my thank-you list each day. I revel in writing, singing, dancing as the gifts I am still able to enjoy whenever the spirit moves me. I make it a daily activity to hit my checklist, so as to temper & frame what I want to glean from my experiences.
What have I lost? Yikes, everything materialistic you could possible name! It was the collective price I willingly paid to protect & defend myself & others. It enabled me to remain strong & healthy, albeit definitively poorer as per ways & means. It enabled me to create a wealth of creative ideas & projects that inspired me. It keeps me hopeful & dreaming. I can’t honestly say that I don’t miss my financial security…but the people who were instrumental in aggressively pursuing me for blowing the whistle, or insisting they pay what was legally owed, are in dire physical & emotional states. I do not envy them, or want their closeted & destructive lives. Instead, I am revved & ready to reinvent my own again, with a clarity & freedom I haven’t felt in years!
We are better than what is passing for everyday American life. We have so much more to gain by acknowledging all of it. We have our future to reclaim from the narcissistic, nihilistic forces at play trying to put Pandora back in the box. I hope that dreams replace fear, & hope replaces anger .If we are to triumph again as the United States, these distinctions must be recognized & contextualized, so we can move forward as the United States has in the past, & must again to safeguard our future. And, it is up to each of us, individually & collectively, to be honest about everything that comes our way; personally, professionally, politically & socially. If not, we are doomed to be continually mired in something that will not produce any life worth living or any legacy worth leaving.
Wishing Everyone The Best New Year Ever, Concierge Jo-Anna
*I have copious documentation supporting the stories in this post: attestations & affidavits, police reports,court records available for public review, etc…