Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ignorance Isn't Bliss

                I need to stop reading and watching the news, I really do need to stop. It's depressing half the time and infuriating the other half. Rarely do I see a story that's positive and uplifting. There's so much going on in the world that has people up in arms about everything from childhood obesity to immigration laws to our President's birth certificate. There's picketing and protests at funerals and hate crimes of all sorts. It all boils down to one simple problem with no immediate solution...ignorance. Ignorance is defined as being uninformed which most of us are. We only know what we are taught and what we pursue to learn ourselves. Life may teach us some lessons but we will never know everything so we need to stop acting like we do.
               I live in a country of freedom. I was taught that I have a right to, well, everything. Thinking in the way that I was taught I assumed that meant that everyone had a right to, again, everything. I was taught that no one, no matter what race, nationality, religious faith, or gender was excluded from having rights. I still kind of believe that. Doesn't it make sense? Everyone in the world should have the rights and freedoms I have. When I was in elementary school the Gulf War was explained to me (in school) that the U.S. was trying to help people "over there". I thought, why not just bring "them" over here? So now that we have immigration arguments and bills trying to get passed and protests that seem more like not so violent riots, none of it makes sense to me. As an adult I don't understand why people are so angry about people (PEOPLE) needing and wanting a better life. I was taught that that's what America is about.
               Do I think we should just open up all borders and ports and allow anyone to waltz right on in? Of course not. But I do think that asking someone from a third world country to come up with hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of fees is ridiculous and cruel. That's like offering a starving child a sandwich if he can guess my middle name. I just don't understand how people can be so angry at other people for trying to live a decent life. And I've gotta say it, I am sick and tired of hearing the term "anchor babies". It literally makes me sick, I vomit in my mouth a little when I hear some dumb ass referring to a child this way. If I were trying to seek refuge in another country for whatever reason, personally the last thing I'd want to do is run around with a baby. But that's just me. I just don't think making a family is as calculated as anti-immigration people think it is. These are people wanting more in their lives, not criminal masterminds plotting a hostile take over of the country.
             Another one I hate to read about is the picketing and protesting at funerals. Why in the world would someone think that the best time to send a message is at a funeral with signs that say "God Hates Gays"? In my personal opinion I don't think God hates anyone. There is no hate in Him as far as I'm concerned. He may have wrath and fury, but I don't think it would be aimed at someone with a good heart no matter what their orientation. And these bass ackwards people need to get it through their thick heads that being gay is not a choice, it's who they are, period. Saying that someone chooses to be gay is like saying someone chooses to be straight. I also don't like the term straight when it comes to orientation because it implies that if you are not straight, you are crooked or something and that just seems wrong to me. Why don't those fanatics picket at a parole hearing for someone that raped a 4 year old and only spent 2 years in prison? Or someone that got his 37th DUI and finally got arrested after killing a family on the interstate and only spent the night in jail, not to mention he'd most likely still have a license. Picket them! Don't picket the family that's burying their child after he/she lost their life defending our country. Not only is it ignorant and stupid behavior, it's cruel and insensitive.
             Childhood obesity is something that's been plaguing me since my own childhood. First we are taught that 3 square meals is the key to good health, then it's a pyramid, now it's some other pyramid with steps and blocks for individual people's ideal nutrition. Really? Like reading labels isn't hard enough? And there's always a new study. "A new study has found that high fructose corn syrup is actually bad for you" "A new study suggests that genetically altered food may impact your waistline" How about "a new study proves once and for all that we are all idiots" there's a health news headline I'd like to read. I don't understand how the government can overlook this gross atrocity to it's own people. Here's the thing though, it's not totally the government's fault, no, it's our own, because we now better now, yet we refuse to change. Instead of choosing real food, we want something that's been processed and pre-packaged in little 100 calorie packs that tastes like a real BigMac and fries with a Diet Coke. It's unhealthy, it's unreal, and it's killing us. Yet no matter how much coverage there is, no matter how many studies show that we are digging our own graves with fudge smeared sundae spoons, very little is being done to change it. It is a personal decision on whether or not I hit a drive through at the convenient time of 2AM, but it's not my child's choice. Nope, that would be my doing. It's not my child's choice to be ignorant about health and to be morbidly obese at 9 years old and to get bullied into suicide. Nope, that would be my fault wouldn't it? Yes, it most certainly would be.
                Ignorance is the worst thing we can pass on to our children. Because we know what we are taught, but after a certain age, we are no longer victims of society, we are willing participants that stay ignorant by choice. What have I done personally to give my children more than was given to me and to my parents? Well, for one, I don't have cable. I don't want my children to become the overindulgent consumers of tomorrow nor do I want them improperly influenced. I will choose what they watch because that's my responsibility. I feel like my children's education is inadequate, instead of griping about how my government is failing me, I talk to my kids about what I learned at their age about the arts, history, and basic etiquette. My daughters also practice penmanship and must write letters to family instead of emails. I teach my children that tolerance and total acceptance are not the same, they need to accept people for who they are not simply tolerate their existence. My children go to church with me and we have our faith, but they know that there are other religions that are not wrong simply because they are not the same as ours. I am not so arrogant as to believe that my faith is the right one, and I will not teach that to my children. What they do know is that there is something or someone greater than us. I aim to teach my children many many things, ignorance is one lesson I'll leave out.

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