Time to rally the troops for what you believe in…

Over the last few weeks I’ve been having an interesting (which, in some cases, is being fairly nice about it) time of life, trying to accomplish things against insurmountable odds.  Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling a little disappointment, not all of which directly affects me but has an interestingly negative view and a broader outreach on many lives.  I figured I’d share my opinions on a few of these.

Someone needs to shoot the Anti-Christmas Groups: In case anyone needs to be reminded, doesn’t live in America or anyplace else that doesn’t recognize holidays, it’s less than a week before Christmas.  This time of year is usually a happy time of year, with people being cheerful and nice towards each other, decorating homes, trees, and everyplace in between, and pretty much in general celebration of yet another wonderful year.  Although until recently I was non-religious, our family has and will continue to celebrate Christmas, and have never been against any form of religion in the holiday, short of the most extreme.

However, as I get older, I grow increasingly uneasy with the holiday, especially from those who are non-Christian.  This is the same as the uneasiness I have with any nutjob who tells me I can’t celebrate because I am not a Christian, but with a huge difference in vocality.  Much as I dislike the increasingly graphic Anti-Abortion messages, I find it hard to believe that people would not only dislike the cheeriness of the holidays, they’ll go out of their way to make sure people are neutral or in bad moods this time of year.  The argument?  The separation of Church and State, of course.

Everyone knows by now of these changes – you can’t go into a Wal-Mart/K-Mart, Target, or any other shopping place and expect a nice “Merry Christmas”, as it may offend the poor idiotic atheist who feels violated by someone generally being nice.  (No, I’m not going to argue with the person who does not believe in God – I’m a firm believer in people finding their own beliefs, and if they don’t believe in life beyond death, so be it.)  Groups will sue city governments who’ve decorated their offices because they believe they’re violating someone’s choice not to celebrate any holidays, and whenever someone asks a question (as one woman in Tennessee did,) something that has been tradition suddenly gets blocked because it contains a reference to a religion.

The Separation of Church and State, as people may recall, applies mainly to how laws are applied and governed, not how to people choose to celebrate.  If Rockford, Loves Park, or Machesney Park city halls – or any others, for that matter – want to add a gigantic Nativity scene with a big fat Jesus that can be seen for 50 miles in the densest of fogs, the concerns I have will have nothing to do with the religious context and more to do with the practical side – which is where I feel it should be.  (After all, who’s going to want to be kept up by the light needed to shine on giant Jesus?  I prefer sleep, thanks.)  Putting a Nativity scene, or any other religious mark, phrase, artwork, or other message in a government building has little to nothing to do with the government itself and is nothing more than a representation of the people who work for and live in that area – in other words, no church or organization is supposed to influence the law directly.  (This is one of the many things that keeps our land free.)

So, if you’re one of those people who’s ruining one of my favorite holidays by suppressing what you believe is wrong, do me a huge favor:  Grow a thick skin.  You’re violating my rights by forcing me to say things I don’t feel and avoid doing things I do enjoy – which is the same as forcing a religious belief down my throat.  You don’t have to celebrate – but quit denying me my right to do so.

Do what you say, Morgan Chase! Those who know me already knew what side of the fence I was on with drugs and alcohol, abortions, education, health, and any other thing to which you can make an organization for or against.  (No, I’m not recapping all of them – just as I had to find my own ways to my own opinions and beliefs, so should you.)  One thing I am big on, though, is helping each other out, and trying your best to do what you say you will do.  How I hold that standard to people generally depends on the problem – unless you’re Bill Gates, no one’s expecting you to keep your word on money, and unless you’re the police, no one’s expecting you to keep your word on time when it comes to helping others out.  People – individuals, to be specific – get sick, tired, injured, or have other problems in the day that make it sometimes impossible to keep their word more than beyond the minimum they said.  After all, I don’t know any aliens from other planets yet, and as far as I know, human beings are still the only controlling life from on the planet.

Companies, however, are a little different.  Most companies, no matter how large or small, have more than one person in it, and most companies work with other companies to make their money.  The larger the organization, the higher the expectancy – and the higher the stakes on what you promise.

So you may have heard a few complaints from a few organizations who were being voted on by hundreds of thousands of people on Facebook and Twitter to get a nice check for $25k by Morgan Stanley, assuming they stayed within their corporate beliefs.  Among these were two groups – Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Marijuana Policy Project – I believe in and support.  (No offense to the third major headlining group, Justice For All – I believe you should also be getting a $25k check from Morgan Chase for your issues as well, regardless of how I feel about your organization in general.)

According to the New York Times (whom I refuse to post a link for, due to how difficult they make it for non-customers to link to their articles), Morgan Stanley’s promise is legit, and that these groups fall outside of their “corporate social responsibility guidelines.”  (I’m sorry, but I seriously doubt these groups make more than $10 million a year.)  Likewise, from what a legal standpoint, they’re also safe – they made their rules clear.  However, preventing the votes from coming in for those organizations without any clear indicator that they were in any violation of any rules – assuming, of course, there was no glitch in their system – sounds to me like a clear-cut game of a company playing games.

If they have a problem with these organizations, they should just come out and say it, or make their policies clear – I think people hate being confused even more than they hate being outright rejected.  If it is an error, they should figure out some way to fairly resolve the issue.  Likewise, if this was done on purpose, fess up – admit to people you wasted their times and votes by denying these companies.  Let’s avoid the games.

And now, for something more personal: I need to clear up a big matter on feelings – in particularly how I feel about the recent lack of help as far as getting my drivers license.  Most people got it right, I was (and am) upset, and feel very let down as close as I am to getting it.  The people I am most angry with, however, are not those who think they are.

I knew not to expect many people jumping at the chance to do it, and I’m not at all hurt by those who couldn’t.  I don’t expect people who have seen me maybe once in the last 10  years to help out, nor do I expect anyone who has been helping me out to do so.  I don’t expect anyone to take risks when they only have one vehicle, and I think it’d be insane for anyone to take me driving in inclement weather, as we experienced a couple of weeks ago.  (Yes, I am STILL angry with Mother Nature, and I have that right to be.)   In short, I’m not angry at all with a whole lot of people.

There is a group of people I am still particularly angry with today:  Those who did not answer back at all.  I knew, especially at the last minute that I was contacting everyone, that a lot of people were going to say no out of simple fear of what was the eventual storm – and I got a lot of what I expected.  The only thing I really did expect, however, was a response of some sort from most people, and that’s where people failed me.  Now some of you, especially those I’ve continually been in touch with over the past few years, could be excused, especially those who helped me in the past – and given how everyone has different lives, expecting everyone to respond is , for lack of better terms, just plain dumb.  However, I’d probably say that only approximately 40% of the people I contacted -at most – directly responded back – and a larger percentage ignored my blogs and messages about it.  Those are pretty big numbers.

I’m obviously not requesting for help anymore on my blogs, and the large number of non-response has made me question just who to ask for help.  However, as some people have appropriately pointed out, maybe I should just stop asking for help altogether – After all, people hate feeling used all the time, and people hate it when they constantly have to help someone.  (I will refrain from speaking of the irony here, as I am sure many may see.)  I’ll just have to remember which people answered the next time I get asked for help – and see which ones I may remember to respond back to.  If I’m not worth a response, what am I worth?

Sorry for being so negative, just need to clear some air on my thoughts.   More laters!  Merry Christmas!

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