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09-03-07, 08:23 PM #1
The countybear rant... "Getting along"
Why can't we all just get along...
Years ago, we got along... then we graduated to getting by. Now, I think we are to the point of getting over.
Getting along meant knowing who your neighbor was, all the way down the street. We knew their kids' names, their interests, work, hobbies... It meant that neighbors helped out, baked cookies and pies (and delivered them). Life was tough, so it took each other's help. It meant "welcome to the neighborhood." Relationships were personal, up close, and they lasted longer than the next job change. A handshake was a pact. A promise was a bond. Backyard barbecues always included close family, friends, and neighbors. Front porch talks took place nearly every evening, and we knew the names of the folks we waved to on the road. The dinner table was the family altar. A family Bible was well-worn. If we had a problem with someone, we discussed it, argued it, even fought over it, but it stayed between us... we never called in a government agency to solve our problems. We never used someone else's authority to settle our differences for us. We never used the police as a weapon. Our problems went away because we were too busy living life to let them interfere. We got along because it was easier than constant conflict and turmoil, and no one really had time to dwell on grudges. We took responsibility for our actions, and understood others' intentions. We believed that to forgive was divine. We thrived on commonalities, respecting differences. We had limited means of communication, so we chose our words wisely. Our privacy meant our dignity, and our honor was upheld as we protected our good names and reputations. Our affections were private, but infinite. We valued education, because working smarter was a means to profit without the sweat and tears our parents shed. They craved better lives for us, as we did for our descendants. Everyone deserved a shot at life, a hand in need, but taking advantage meant "never again."
Getting by then became the rule. Life was hard enough and there was no use making it harder, for anyone. It meant "there goes the neighborhood". We didn't trust as easily, but we did trust until it was proven unworthy. We knew the kids from down the street, and got to know their parents or else ours didn't stay over there. Relationships became more distant, but face to face was still the way to go. A handshake was a token, a promise became an intention. We didn't know who we were waving to on the road, but we still waved. Backyard barbecues became periodic family time, as TV trays replaced the dinner table. The family Bible went on display under glass. We believed that to forgive was blessed. There were arcades, our kids hung out there with friends to play video games. We dwelt on commonalities, rarely honoring differences. Communication became more open, more frequent, and more available, but our words lost some value. Our privacy wasn't something to be invaded, just preserved. It was preserved by never airing our laundry in public and maintaining a certain dignity. We kept it simple whenever possible. We took responsibility when there was a need to. We were suspect of others' intentions, but never spent too much time on investigating them. We did rely on the police to do so more often than ever before. We respected education, realizing that the time was coming when it would be the only means of getting ahead in the world. We got smarter, lost a little innocence, and gained a national viewpoint. Everyone had a right to a shot at life, and a hand, but taking advantage meant "not this time, maybe later".
Now its down to "getting over". Life is too easy, but then again, death is too. We know our neighbors by the nicknames we give them. We only recognize them at a distance through our windows or as we pass them in our car. Otherwise, they are pretty meaningless unless their music is too loud or their dog craps on our doorstep. It means "what's a neighborhood?" We have more friends online than "irl." Relationships are distant, transient, and sterile. We wave with only one finger on the road. The dinner table is a place to store what we need to pick back up on the way out. A front porch is an inviting space through which to enter our home. There is no family Bible. Privacy is guarded against invasion from those we see, but there's no deep concern for it as long as outsiders are just reading our words or hearing our voices. Communication has taken on nearly every form, but our words have become many and nearly meaningless in the mire of others'. A handshake is a greeting, a promise is a factor for consideration. Our affection is open, yet finite. Backyard barbecues are rarely attended by even the immediate family. Our kids have friends, they meet at school and discuss video games. Afterward, they go home and play them. We meet their friends, and wonder about their parents occasionally (when we have time) before we let them stay over. We overlook commonalities, but never differences. We take no responsibility for our actions, but demand that others do. To forgive is foolish and naive, especially when there's a profit to be made from another's mistake. Our lawyers are our financial avengers. The police are our weapon of interaction, our pillow to cry on, and our mediators. We suspect all intentions, investigate all kindness, demand all proof. We have no innocence. Education is a God-given right and government's gift to us, yet valued far little than ever before. It is more a means of socialization than an investment in success. We substitute gifts and privileges for lessons to our kids. We buy them off so we can pursue our own goals. We have gotten far smarter, but lost wisdom and discernment in the process. We have a global viewpoint, but no focus. Everyone has the right to being provided for, even if they refuse to provide for themselves. The government will always resuscitate, that's what its there for. Taking advantage is the norm, and perhaps even the expectation.
What is next for us? Perhaps "getting away?"
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
09-03-07, 08:46 PM #2Banned
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By strange co-incidence the past couple days I've been thinking about how economic status and morality are interlinked. Through a history podcast and a book I'm reading I've been reminded of the "roaring 20s" with excess and bawdiness we living today would find quite familiar. In sharp contrast next comes the great depression, a period where people had to become self reliant again, had to know and "get along" with neighbors as you describe. In many ways the economic crisis and physical hardships directly contributed to changing society and a few generations of people for the better. Those that lived through and maintained their dignity in this trial by fire and came out stronger.
We have luxury like the world has never seen before, but the cycle isn't new. Our challenge is to find a way to shake ourselves by the shoulders and snap out of our comfort zones without a war, famine or economic collapse coming by to do it for us. Or so it seems to me.
09-03-07, 09:50 PM #3
I think we all need to "Get Away" from "Getting Over" and get back to "Getting Along".
Funny thing though, in my city I have two paper routes. One has a Getting Along type atmosphere where everyone knows their neighbor. I have had this route for going on 8 years. Established neighborhood, everyone knows me, I get lots of tips, and its kind of like Mayberry on the Andy Griffith show. My other route on the other hand has a Getting By fastly changing to Getting Over type atmosphere. I have had this one for two years, Tract homes, only a few know me, hardly any tips, and hardly like Mayberry. Everyone is afraid to make contact with each other. Its really interesting how a city can have both types, I give the same service, and yet they're only a mile apart. Probably a case of one side of the tracks or freeway in this case versus the other side.
Choose The Right. When you're doing whats right, then you have nothing to worry about.
Not a LEO
In memory of Sgt. Howard K. Stevenson 1965 - 2005. Ceres Police Dept.
In memory of Robert N. Panos 1955 - 2008 Ceres Police Dept.
09-04-07, 11:08 AM #4Banned
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I was lucky enough to get back to getting along when I moved here. Neighborhoods were close things and the people who lived in them were close too. We shared, we were friendly, we partied together and in the summer we sat in front of each other's door and talked about the important things in life like someone's new baby. But violence, TV, videos, MP3s, computer games, discos and fear have curtailed these small pleasures. Drugs, drug dealers, killings and kidnappings have caused everyone to hide behind their locked doors. we're not a neighborhood anymore. We're a bunch of scared people trying to get by hoping to get over it.
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