Gratitude, essential and elusive. Something I have tried very hard to instill in my son; that regardless of what we don’t have we are so much luckier than many. I think he gets it.
There is something guilt provoking in being grateful that others’ misfortunes are not yours. But isn’t the essence of gratitude the idea that “it” isn’t or hasn’t happened to you? Yet.
The state of the world often brings tears these days, yes crying again. The Hondurans who have lived here as productive citizens virtually all their lives, now to be sent “back” to their non-home. The violence and deaths in Gaza and Israel. The dreamers who have never known anywhere but here. The national parks being dismantled and made less accessible. The children who go hungry in this wealthy land. The teachers who have to strike for a living wage, knowing they are hurting the children they love. Nazis marching in our streets, openly racist and anti-Semitic; behavior that while existing, was frowned on and mostly repressed for decades. The black men gunned down for no other reason and the women who mourn for them. And on, and on, and on.
[tweetshare tweet=”I remember the intense idealism of the sixties and seventies, I lived it. And I have always held dear the notion that love and good, coupled with action, would win the day. I dedicated my first career to that notion, and to a love of the constitution and the rights of the underdog.” username=”@trienahm”]
I remember the intense idealism of the sixties and seventies, I lived it. And I have always held dear the notion that love and good, coupled with action, would win the day. I dedicated my first career to that notion, and to a love of the constitution and the rights of the underdog.
I fear that love is no longer enough. But as a personal matter, I have to remain positive; about the world, about my life. And the shortest line to positivity is gratitude. So I practice a prayer of gratitude every day on the way to work. Radio off, spoken out loud, thanking the universe for what a good life I have and acknowledging how intensely lucky I am in so many ways. And the antidote to negativity and especially self pity is always gratitude. And then there’s always action, fuel for gratitude.
Hoo Boy. All in one title. So in addition to the environmental debacle of the century, now we have to worry about BP going broke????? Based on their profits this seems laughable but… at least one industry observer has said that at the very least they may have to sell off profitable holdings at fire sale prices in order to meet their obligations.
So let’s talk about their obligations. A few of the earliest stories, before the endless failed attempts to stop the flow of oil took the front and center, were about the people who were hurt or killed in the initial explosion of the rig. And what emerged from those stories was that people who were hurting, exhausted and focused only on contacting their loved ones to let them know they were alive were pressured into signing release forms regarding their ultimate right to recompense from BP for their injuries. At the time they signed these they didn’t even know, many of them, what their injuries were. They were distraught, their families were distraught and BP took advantage of them, pure and simple.
So this is atrocious in and of itself, but what is the lesson? Corporate role modeling in the last few years has been abysmal. Enron, corporate greed, wall street, stock and banking greed, mortgage banking greed and the complete collapse of the economy have all taken a main place in our daily news. The economy is “improving” but true jobs and especially real estate prices are not. They will be a long time coming at least in some parts of the country (like where I live). The lessons apparent are every person for themselves, the hell with the planet, the injured and the working folk; get what you can and screw the rest.
I think we are too litigious in this country by far these days. I think that there is an attorney to take every stupid claim and make it law. But I believe deeply that our judicial system can be an instrument for good, can be an instrument for change. I deeply hope that some “do-gooder” lawyers take up the case of those poor oilmen, tired, hurt and afraid, who signed those disgraceful releases. I wish I could be one of them.
My generation was idealistic, we thought we could change the world and to some degree we did. So what happened? I guess I retain some of that idealism, although I don’t think sometimes that I have adequately passed it on to my son. Isn’t it better to model an idealistic failure than a narcissistic success?