#172 – Dick Bernard: "Chickens", meet "Roost"

I grew up in rural North Dakota, surrounded by all sorts of sayings such as “your chickens will come home to roost” which meant, basically, that ultimately you’d get what you deserved….
This comes to mind with reference to our entire society, which generally does not seem to get it that there is a certain relationship between actions and results. An endless list could be made.
A cartoon in yesterday mornings Minneapolis paper said it well, through the voice of Eric Hoffer, American Social Writer and Philosopher: “Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know.”
Quite often my in-box will include something from someone I know, forwarded from an unknown source. More often than not, the forward is demonstrably false, or hopelessly misleading, or not sourced at all. But it is passed along as truth. People who should know better pass the falsehood along, and then get angry when I dare to respond.
Last week someone forwarded a litany of complaints about assorted things like not getting a social security cost of living this year, Medicare costs going up, while Congress was giving itself a raise. 7. Do you feel SCREWED?…Why should they care about you? You never did anything about it in the past. You obviously are too stupid or don’t care…Send the message to [Congress] — YOU’RE FIRED!…It’s time for retribution. Let’s take back America.” The rest of the fairly short mention was similarly angry.
Well, thank you very much.
As I customarily do, I filed a brief response with the person who sent the forward to me, and copied the person who had forwarded it to him. Both are retired professional people who I know, personally.
The initator of the e-mail blasted back to me: “I am receiving less from SS [Social Security] than I did in 2009. Tell me why congress should not take a cut in pay along with those of us on a fixed income? … Simply answer my question.”
So, I did answer the question, but only sent it to him. My answer made him even angrier. “I worked hard in my business and do not need a social security check…Furthermore, following your possible response, I will mark all future e-mail messages from you as “junk mail” so I do not have to waste my time with your typical liberal ideas [this is probably the nub of his issue: “liberal”]. I suggest you do the same.” I thought to myself, lots of people work very hard…if he doesn’t need social security and there’s an economic crisis, why is he insisting on a raise (I think I know why, but that doesn’t make any difference.)
I didn’t bother him with another e-mail, but I did hand-write him a brief U.S. mail letter, including copies of the stuff he had sent me. It’ll soon be in his mailbox at his winter home outside Tucson AZ. I didn’t bother to engage in a reasoned response, or in an angry one. It is a waste of time. My guess is he will remain angry.
There are legions of angry people like him who add to the problem, rather than contribute to the solution in this country. People who felt they had control and now feel they have lost it. People who (they feel) KNOW the answers, but are intolerant of others with opposing but at least equally logical answers as well.
Personally, with attitudes like his, I’m happy his faction is out of power. Maybe there might be a chance to resolve some of the deep problems that we’re mired in.
Unfortunately, on the other end of the political ideology spectrum, there are lots of “my way or the highway” folks as well. I heard one or two yesterday, and I hear people like them every day. These, right and left, are the people who dominate the visible political conversation in this country (what most people see or read), and too often neither end distinguishes themselves.
It will take a lot of work to effect change, but I’m willing to work at it.
We don’t need our country’s “chickens to come home to roost.”