I’m Part of the Problem

I’m part of the problem, and you probably are too.

There are an increasing amount of forums available for people to express their opinions.  I stopped using Facebook at the end of 2016 because these opinions became a bit unbearable, but that’s a story for another day.  I’ve been using Twitter, which is much more informative and less pretend-reality, which is nice.  It’s not perfect, but it gets me my info fix for the day and I can move on… without having to see someone’s 15th post about their ambiguous state of mind, or photos from a romantic dinner with two smiling people who can’t actually stand each other.  I don’t miss the “Having a terrible day!” posts, followed by “What’s wrong?”, “Are you ok?”

problem internet

Sharing opinions is good. Sharing opinions is necessary.  How will we ever evolve if we don’t have a diverse input of thoughts and information?  We express our opinions.  We mean it.  We truly mean it.  But then what?  What happens after we express our opinions?  I would argue that we can do better at what comes next… but will we?

Let’s start with some of my basic opinions and then we’ll move to why I’m part of the problem:

  • All human beings have equal value.
  • Basic healthcare is a human right.
  • Red is the best color in the spectrum, hands down!
  • Judge not lest ye be judged.
  • “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” –Madeleine Albright
  • No child should ever go hungry.
  • King crab legs are the best meal on earth.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover.
  • The government has no business making decisions regarding reproduction.  Period. (no pun intended)
  • Six Feet Under had the best series finale I’ve ever seen, or ever will see.
  • No earthly human has the right to sentence someone to death.
  • Police Body Cameras should be mandatory.
  • Corporations should pay a lower tax rate. (Wait, aren’t you a democrat? Yep)
  • Common Core works, whether you understand why or not.
  • Gold is from Aliens (obviously)
  • Brock Turner is not a person, he’s an epidemic.  Parents: don’t raise Brock Turner.
  • The “bailouts” in 2008 were necessary and pretty much saved our economy (Yes, still a democrat).
  • Charter Schools and School Choice represent a gentrification of the public school system, creating an unequal and biased system for public education.
  • If you’re sitting on a bus and there’s an elderly person standing in front of you, give them your seat. (this falls into the “Don’t be an a$$hole” category)   

So, now that I’ve catalogued and declared these opinions as mine…  What do I do?  I FEEL like I do a lot.  I’m a teacher.  I’m a mentor.  I’m an activist.  I’m a parent.  I’m a strategist. I help others. I make sacrifices.  I listen.  I often put others’ needs before my own.  I volunteer.  I treat others as I would like to be treated.  I’m respectful.  I compromise.  I think before I speak. I think before I act. I consider the consequences of my actions.  Wow… I’m pretty amazing! …Or am I?

problem victor medal

This is me and Paralympic Gold Medalist Stefani Victor.  I’m an advocate for people with disabilities.  See!  Here’s sort-of proof that I’m a good person!!!! And yes, that’s totally her gold medal she’s holding and it’s really heavy and shiny (and from Aliens obviously).

I’m still part of the problem.  I write this blog not to punish myself or to implore anyone to live their lives in a particular way.  I write it to remind myself, and perhaps someone else, that we are all part of the problem.  Before we point the finger at someone else, figure out if we need to point it at ourselves first.

problem italian face

Just a few of ways that I’m part of the problem…

I go to a private hospital.  I live in the city.  I live in a part of the country where medical care is readily available.  I would argue that I live in one of the best places in the world if you’re a sick person.   If I get sick… if my family gets sick… we don’t take our health insurance card and go to the state or public hospital and support them and the community.  Nope.  We pull up to the private hospital, park 3 feet from the door in the expensive parking garage, and we walk into the giant atrium.  The atrium greets us with an array of delicious food options, and a tranquil waterfall.  Legit guys there is an actual, huge, real waterfall in the lobby.  Most days there is also some sort of entertainment… perhaps a young man playing acoustic guitar or someone playing piano.

Why do I do this?  Less crowded.  Cleaner.  Shorter wait.  No people asking me for change.  No riff raff.  Right?  No riff raff. But wait, aren’t all humans equal to all other humans?  Shouldn’t we all be at the same hospital?  You’d think so from my opinion list, but when the rubber meets the road, I pay more to avoid things that I don’t want to deal with when I’m sick.  I’m part of the problem.

Problem text and drive

What makes a “bad” person, a “bad” person? Who decides which indiscretion is worse? Who decides what an indiscretion is? (insert flask reminder here)

I go the gym several times a week.  My kids often come with me and use the indoor and outdoor pools.  The gym is also a Tennis center, but we don’t really take advantage of it.  How is this part of the problem?

The gym I go to is expensive.  It’s right outside the city in a fancy-pants suburb. There are at least 5 gyms within 10 minutes of my house. I live in a very populated area.  I pay about double for MY gym even though I don’t play tennis… which is basically what this gym is all about.

Why do I do this?  Less crowded.  Cleaner.  Shorter wait.  No people asking me for change. No riff raff.  Seeing a trend here?  I can tell myself it’s because I have two jobs and very little time, and this is more convenient… or I like the pool, or the family that owns it. All of those things are actually quite true… but at the end of the day… I pay more to avoid things I don’t want to deal with because I’m part of the problem.

problem paxton fitness

See, at least I can watch Tennis while I run. Note the lack of people around. 

IRONY ALERT: If I’m being honest, the people at the gym are super nice, and at the beginning of a class, or when I first step on a treadmill, they smile and make small talk.  We laugh and share stories about past classes or complain about how out of shape we are.  Then, inevitably… and because I absolutely hate sweating, I take off my long sleeved gym shirt and am wearing a fitness tank top… exposing a very pretty, but very gigantic half sleeve tattoo.  At this point, I become the riff raff.   The longer I go to this gym, the more they get used to me… if you will.  But it’s always fun to see their look of confusion.  Wait, isn’t this gym expensive enough to weed out the half-sleeves?  Nope. I thought this half-sleeve was one of us… I’ve been duped! I can only assume that I’m not “that nice lady from the gym”, but rather “That lady with the half sleeve” or “She must be from Worcester”…But I digress.

problem half sleeve

As I mentioned, I live in the city.  I love my city.  We have amazing restaurants and so much to do in the way of entertainment.  We also have a rich history, beautiful architecture and very cool people that I feel I belong with.  It’s one of my favorite places on earth.  I have two daughters.  One is 14 and one is 9.  My 14 year old goes to school in an affluent suburb outside of the city where her father lives.  My 9 year old goes to another suburban public school in a different town, under the city’s school choice program.

Problem diner

Wait, didn’t I just say that school choice is basically the anti-christ of the public school system? Yes, yes I did, and I honestly believe that.  I can tell myself that the suburb she goes to is NOT affluent (it’s most definitely not… working class, diverse, all that), and that she’s a sensitive kid who struggles with being too hard on herself who would not thrive in a school with gang violence.  These are true statements.  That said, what makes HER so special that she should get a pass and contribute to the demise of public schools?  I do, I suppose. Anyone can apply for school choice, but does everyone know they can? Does everyone know how? …This makes me a hypocrite and an opportunist, does it not?  I’m part of the problem.

What to do now that we know we are part of the problem?  Try to be better people?  We like to say that we do “the best we can”.  Do we?  Does anyone really do the BEST they can?

Problem better person

36 thoughts on “I’m Part of the Problem”

  1. Good read, riff raff! We are all a part of the problem (especially the Republicans–kidding, not kidding!) I think we’ll make ourselves sick if we think too hard about it. I just try to be the best person I can be, and keep myself in check every so often. FB- personally I find the benefits far outweigh to cons. I haven’t found enjoyment in twitter quite yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you. The trend of “buying access” is ever expanding and getting out of hand. In the Virginia suburbs of DC, you can now buy your way into the carpool lanes. No more having to deal with those pesky other humans in your passenger seat. I, too, am one of those incongruously tattooed people, but because I live in a small town there’s no surprising anyone. People discriminate against me right from the start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so wild that you mention this. I’ve often thought about how the public roadways are equal for everyone regardless of social status or resources, and how cool of a concept that is. It sounds like that’s not even true anymore! Wow!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty tattoo, MC. I’ve never been able to commit to a permanent decoration on my skin. Lower corporate tax rate? Sure, as long as there are no loopholes to weasel out of their fair share. Oh, and their fair share CANNOT be lower than my fair share. That’s fair.

    I do believe we do our best. Our best is quite elastic and adjusts to the moment in which we’re offering it.

    Carry on! 😉 xoM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Margarita! ❤ Mine is covering up a tragic tattoo mistake from my misguided youth… hence the size. As for Corp tax, it's always a hot debate. The more they get charged, the less we get paid, and the more things cost. Everything is connected but so cloudy. I love the word "elastic" as you used it! I'm going to use that! <3, M

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here’s the thing, the correlation between the corporate tax rate and depressed wages is a canard. Corporations never pay whatever the rate is, or even close. Paying lower wages so they can afford to make a profit is another red herring. As they are finding out. Doesn’t matter how cheap their stuff is or which country’s citizenry they’re ripping off. If people don’t have decent wages they can’t afford discretionary spending. 😉 xoM

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s ok to be part of the problem if you know you’re part of the problem. It’s like a double negative making a positive. So give yourself a break and carry on judging those who have no idea that they’re part of the problem. And also judge those who aren’t part of the problem for making the rest of us feel bad.

    Like

  5. As your near opposite (Midwestern conservative Catholic male with no tattoos) I resisted the urge to comment immediately. I get your becoming tired of political rants on FB – my life is so much calmer after taking a temporary break from it.

    But I keep coming back to the school thing. How can you be part of a problem by making the best choices you can for your kids’ education? I can only assume that if your neighborhood public school were a place where a top-quality education was dispensed to well-behaved children who eagerly sopped up knowledge in a melting pot of cultural diversity that you would be all over it.

    If, however, this is not what your neighborhood school is because of an ossified administration that keeps doing things that do not work or if too many students there are products of a society that does not value what you value (and in ways that could be harmful), is it a bad thing that you find a way to avoid that environment for your children?

    Perhaps what you see as an action that contradicts one of your values is actually an invitation to re-examine that value in the light of actual experience. Not enough of us take that opportunity.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I LOVE your tattoo. It’s like a mini painting.
    I always find it strange that some folks assume tattooed people are riff raff. Tattoos are really pricey aren’t they!?

    I also always found it strange how tattoos are so, so frowned upon in Japan, whereas in the UK Japanese tattoos are so prised. That is totally off your topic, but it is pretty mad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…. I invested in a great artist and it cost more than my last family vacation. Worth it! I agree that it’s interesting how something can be viewed as good in one area and bad in another. Even just a few miles apart!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s already out there. One less weekend in Mar-a-lago would handle a country for a year I would imagine 😉 I’m certainly not a socialist, capitalism suits me well. But “let them eat cake” is bull$hit too. There has to be an in between. If we can’t all agree on no starving children and/or no children without basic first aid… what in the heck CAN we agree on? Honest question. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Omg I can so relate. And I love the sarcasm. This is me! I work with kids and young women in the inner city and I am a black woman from the hood. I raise my children in the burbs. They went to suburban schools. My son has been to France twice. My kids all now go to PWI. When they moved out we bought a smaller home in a Texas suburb and now we drive a BMW. I still go into the inner city daily. I am there now. But I feel like I am going against everything I believe in. Everyday I help the least and the lost and I am becoming more disconnected from that life. I haven’t live in the hood in 15 yrs. I go to fancy hospitals doctors and even therapist. Am I part of the problem? Can I still relate to the people I serve daily?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can totally relate on abandoning Facebook. Especially with this tumultuous political climate, I am VERY glad I don’t have to see people’s opinions. (But I do like to get on and hate read them sometimes!)

    Side note – I love your sleeve! I want to get a tattoo but I’m such a chicken!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow. This is an brutally-honest post—love it. Great question; “What makes bad person a bad person?” I think when someone is consciously trying to make other people’s lives more difficult, it does not make them a good person. However, you are certainly not a bad person if you are a hypocrite, because, let’s face it—we’re all hypocrites on a large scale, whether we admit it or not. Thank you for writing this post.

    Like

  10. Good post, Marie. We’re talking idealism versus realism here. When it comes to our own family members we want the best. It’s a shame, not all public schools are the same but it’s true. Also, you’re more in danger of bodily harm in some neighborhoods. That’s realism. It takes a joint effort. None of us can do it alone. Good writing. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The objective here is that you (and all the rest of us) are blessed with the ability to speak/write these opinions. We have the rights to choose what schools we send our kids, where we get health care, and drive whatever car we want wherever we want. We have the option, but many in our nation are limited in their means to make these same choices.

    You are so right in asking, “What to do now that we know we are part of the problem?”

    Socialism has its merits with regards to providing for all, but we are a first-world, capitalist, democracy. It is up to us, the citizens, to decide how we should protect and propagate the nation as whole. It is up to us to provide adequate healthcare, roads, and schools. Taxes are necessary to pay for those things, unless private individuals/corporations wish to step up. Kindness, charity, and compassion are necessary for the citizens (riff raff and all) to have the means to make safe and healthy choices. I guess the answer to your terrific question is we must put our free speech into actions and make things happen for equality.

    Liked by 1 person

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