Apologies And Thoughts …

My apologies, but there can be no Saturday Surprise today.  In light of the terrible Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, then the tragic mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand by a white supremacist on Friday, I simply could not get into ‘fun’ mode and felt that perhaps it would be inappropriate anyway.  Saturday Surprise will, hopefully, return next Saturday.

I am deeply disturbed and saddened by both of the aforementioned events.  Each took the lives of innocent people, and each was preventable.  And, while the causes of the two may seem to be completely different, they really aren’t all that different.  They both track back to arrogance and a sense of entitlement.  Today I would like to share a few of my own thoughts about the two aforementioned events with you.

First, the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.  I’ve already written about this at some length and won’t repeat what I’ve already said.  But this crash could easily have been prevented.  Boeing knew that the 737 Max 8 had a flaw, and one crash had already occurred, Lion Air flight 610 on October 29th, 2018.  Boeing was negotiating with the FAA for a software fix when the government shut down and talks came to a halt for 5 weeks.  And the rest is history.

This, my friends, is a tragic example of capitalism run amok.  Corporate greed.  Profit vs people’s lives.  We live in a corporate world, where governments pander to rich industrialists such as Boeing, Smith & Wesson, Exxon, General Motors and many others.  People are put on the back burner.  People’s lives take a backseat to the bottom line.  189 people lost their lives on the Lion Air flight and 157 people lost their lives on the Ethiopian Airlines flight.  346 people died because Boeing was more interested in their profits than in those 346 lives.  How many lives will be lost due to the burning of fossil fuels, because coal and oil companies care more about profit than lives?  How many will be lost due to the spraying of known toxic chemicals on the food we eat, because ‘Big Ag’ cares more for its bottom line than your life or mine?  The time has come … actually came long ago … to rein in capitalism, to impose strict safety regulations on every company doing business.  Will it happen?  Probably not, for those corporations buy our politicians about as easily as we buy a can of peas.

There is a lot of blame to go around for the killings at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center, it would seem, for everyone seems to be pointing fingers.  Many blame the internet and social media, and yes, there is an element of blame there, since the killer had apparently been posting images of weapons and a “manifesto” for his actions online.  Some blame right-wing leaders, such as Trump, who have given voice to and even encouraged and emboldened the white supremacists, and certainly they must share a portion of the blame.

But, the reality is that the internet is … us.  It is people, expressing their opinions, their hopes, sharing family moments, keeping up with sports, communicating, and in some cases, promoting hate.  People.  Trump and other right-wing personas exist only because they are given a voice … by people.  Who is to blame?  The man, Brenton Tarrant, who planned and carried out the massacre, and any associates who may have helped him, certainly carries the lion’s share of blame.  Perhaps he got his ideas from radicals and white supremacists on the internet, but who put those ideas out there?

I propose that there is enough blame to go around for most all of us.  Sure, Donald Trump opened a can of really nasty worms with his hate speech, his call for a Muslim ban, his denigration of all races other than Caucasian.  But people did not have to fall in line behind him.  They did, because they chose to, not because he forced them to.

But here’s the other thing, and it is, as I think about it, the main reason I write this blog:  We have an obligation to speak out, nay … to SHOUT out … about the injustice of Islamophobia, of homophobia, of misogyny, of white supremacy.  It is not enough for those of us who know it is wrong to just shake our collective heads and roll our collective eyes when these things happen!  It is NOT enough to send “thoughts and prayers”!  Unless we wish to keep seeing bastards like Brenton Tarrant shooting up mosques, shopping malls, movie theaters and schools, then we need to use our voices.

Remember that oft-quoted quotation by Martin Niemöller?

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

We need, more than anything, to have conversations, not screaming matches, not hateful speech on social media sites.  We need to speak to and treat each other with respect.  It is okay to disagree, but we are getting absolutely nowhere by demeaning others and shouting at the tops of our lungs.  But speak we must, for to remain silent is to ensure that tragedies like those from this past week will be ever prevalent.  Freedom of speech is not only a right, but also a responsibility. Will we sit quietly by and allow bigots to rule the world in which we live? Think about it.

41 thoughts on “Apologies And Thoughts …

  1. You always speak a lot of sense Jill (it pains me to admit that) but I think one place we can all change the way that this evil is spread is by looking at Freedom of Speech. It’s perfectly OK to have a reasoned conversation on virtually any subject but once those conversations get out of hand and become rants and stand up shouting matches they become hate filled and pass that message on.One of the reasons I think Trump so despicable and a poor excuse for a leader was his ranting about certain sections of humanity and of the community and then standing up to say that the worst dregs of society in America, the KKK and White Supremacists were AOK with him, good people. That tells others it’s OK to behave as they do with a President’s permission and fine to be an arrogant, prejudiced, misogynist like him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend! I can imagine how much that admission must have hurt! 😉 I am in agreement that there need to be some boundaries on free speech. I have long said that with the right to freedom of speech comes responsibility, and if one fails in that responsibility, then he should also lose the right. I do think we need some caveats, though every time I say that, I get some backlash from all sides. But especially in those we are expected to look up to, the nations leaders, our elected representatives, we should be able to expect better than rants typical of a 5-year-old child who doesn’t get his way. Trump truly needs to wear a muzzle at all times, and it is indeed unconscionable for him, the leader of a nation, responsible for the welfare of some 300+ million people, to praise evil while denigrating all others. However, the reality is that I think it will escalate before this year is out, and I fear the results of that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • After this weekend’s performance I would have thought even the Republicans would have had enough and finally there would be a move to impeach. He cannot threaten a good 50% of the population of the Country he’s supposed to govern and keep secure.If he’s after a civil war let it be between champions, him versus Arnie. Loser (him) leaves the job and sits still until Mueller is ready to take him in hand.

        Liked by 1 person

        • While I am certain that at least 90% of the republicans in Congress are secretly hoping for him to simply wake up dead some morning, wishing he would simply disappear, I think that for the most part they aren’t likely to act on their feelings. Why? Because, he still carries a large base. Granted, his base is not the majority, but realize that the republicans know democrats will definitely NOT vote for them, so they have to pander to the majority of republicans, and the majority of republicans, for some reason I don’t understand, are Trump’s base. And if a republican member of Congress does not have the support of Trump’s base, he or she won’t likely be re-elected next year. It all boils down to a lust for power, and so they conveniently bury their conscience, swallow the bile, and lick Trump’s boots. Even if Mueller’s report contains specific and damning evidence against Trump, I’m not sure impeachment will be an option. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. While the country’s are so badly divided and the so called leaders have no interest in calming the mood – then sadly this is going to continue. The U.K. is split asunder, never been like this. It allows the people on the margins to force policy. Currently our politics is driven by 10 DUP MPs and a handful of right wing europhiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would seem, at least in this country, that government has forgotten its sole reason for existing is to serve the people of the nation … that’s all the people, not just the wealthy or the white or the Christian. I can’t speak for your government, for I don’t know enough, but I think perhaps the same is true there, to some extent. As you say, the divisiveness is unprecedented. We experienced similar during our involvement in the Vietnam War, but even that pales in comparison to this. I can’t help but think a major catastrophe is on the horizon … sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This … People’s lives take a backseat to the bottom line. … is and has been the standard for many years. And there’s little doubt that it will continue. As the old saying goes … the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Of course when it involved lives, it just amplifies the “unfairness” of it all.

    As for speaking out … I fully agree! It’s just unfortunate that so few actually do. Most simply mumble among themselves, wring their hands, and, oh yes … send thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed, it has been going on for a long time, but lately, perhaps because of the rapidly expanding technology, it seems to have escalated. No, it will likely never end as long as capitalism exists, but we can and must find ways to rein it in, to hold the producers accountable for their product, their actions.

      Oh yes, those totally useless ‘thoughts and prayers’ … don’t even get me started!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Martin Niemöller quote is a poignant statement about who we are. Several years ago an acquaintance from up North came to visit (everybody wants to visit somebody they know in Florida during the winter blahs). I excused myself for an evening to attend a MLK, Jr. celebration at a local church. The man said, “Why are you involved? You have nothing to worry about. You’re white.” Those few words speak volumes about who we are.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed those words do speak volumes, and I have heard essentially the same words from people I know. You would be surprised by the number of my ‘friends’ who don’t understand why I write this blog. While they are posting pictures of their lunch, their kids, their new car, their flowers, I am working far into the night researching the who, what, where, when and why of the latest atrocities, and they think I’m crazy for it. Perhaps I am, but I cannot bury my head in the sand. The world is no longer one I recognize some days.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Jill, these are two separate issues here, but both are horribly tragic and we each must do our part to shine spotlights on hateful and destructive behavior. I wrote again about the vital words and message of the golden rule. Ironically, since Jesus was of middle eastern and Jewish descent, if he walked into the wrong bar filled with white supremacists, his swarthy complexion and looks would likely get him beat up or showed the door.
    Simply, we must not let hate based on perceived differences, fester and destroy. It simply is not right.

    As for companies, they are beholden to their shareholders to produce long term earnings. The excellent, data-based book “Built to Last,” noted one of the tenets of the most successful organizations is “be more than profits.” By being a good community citizen, these companies made more money for their shareholders, as they were a place people want to work.

    Yet, shareholders are now voting for better governance of pay, civil rights and environmental concerns. I take some solace that shareholder votes have mandated management of ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum and PP&L to inform them of what they are doing about climate change. With governmental leaders are without a spine these days, shareholder activism is a key lever. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was thinking about this last night, and it does seem to me that companies who take greater care about the safety of their product would ultimately profit more, for people would gravitate toward them. Goodwill is a huge selling point. But, corporations go astray in their search for more money, they take shortcuts. I read that Boeing did not list the 737 Max 8 as “new”, for that would have required that they provide pilot training, which would have cost more, so they labeled it as only an upgrade. Devious, and now look what’s happened.

      Like you, I am encouraged by shareholders demanding an accounting, and hope it is a trend that will continue and spread. Obviously, our current administration has no conscience, no intention of doing the right thing, for their brains are in their wallets.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing and well said!… while technology is great, unfortunately it has given those closed minded individuals a voice and they use that voice to promote their ideology through fear.. if you disagree with the policies of Israel, you are anti-semitic, if you do not follow the Bible to the letter, you will go to Hades, if you speak a different language, the color of the skin is different, you are a potential terrorist and on and on and on… and through that fear many of the world’s society will turn a “blind eye” to acts committed against those they fear… hopefully through technology, the younger generations will view the world differently….

    “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”. Isaac Asimov

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Dutch! Yes, technology, like anything else, can be used for good of for evil. When I am writing and come up with a question, such as what year did something happen, who was involved, etc., the answer is only a mouse click away, rather than a 20-minute drive to the library or 15 minutes spent trying to find the right encyclopedia, and then I am thankful for the information super highway. But, I’ve seen it used far too many times to promote hatred, to hurt people. You’re quite right … much of our society seems to be terribly judgmental, and they judge only based on their own prejudices and biases. My motto is basically ‘live and let live’, as long as people aren’t hurting others. My neighbors and close friends are refugees from Syria and they are the most wonderful people … happy, generous to a fault, and so much fun. We share every holiday meal … I bring traditional American fare, and they bring Arabic dishes. I’ve learned so much about their culture, as they are curious and eager to learn about ours. Embracing differences … such a better way to do things. Excellent quote by Asimov!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe the majority of the world would live in peace and accept each other as who they are and what they believe but there is the element of world’s society that are close minded and refuse to acknowledge and accept the differences of others… “Life is a process of becoming… a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” Anais Nin

        Hopefully the young people will one day, using technology that we speak of, do away with the hate and prejudice and then the world will truly have ” peace on earth and goodwill towards men”… 🙂

        “The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” Frederick Buechner

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    This always does it for me …. Martin Niemöller … “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sobering end to a very sad week in lots of ways. There is a lot of discord right now. Don’t dwell on it too much or it will just take you down into dark space and leave you there.

    I shall be missing for a few weeks… Not ignoring you, just travelling (Norway).
    Keep your head above the news… It is pretty dire most days. Not a lot we can do about it. 😔

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Two different points here Jill.
    There is no altruism, nor much in the way of ethics within big business. On the contrary, big business has only one objective ~ profit, and the Devil take the hindmost.
    Personal freedom comes with a price. Some of us ‘free people’ are homicidal lunatics, and should not be free at all.
    You have hit the mark again. 💕💕💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘Tis true that big business is profit-driven, but when those businesses fail to take steps to ensure that their product is not harming the very customers who are buying it, they should cease to exist, in my book. One can make a profit without killing people.

      True, personal freedom, freedom of speech, does come with a price. But, at what point is that price too high? At what point do we rein in some freedoms, such as gun ownership, such as free speech, and say, “there are limits”?

      Thanks Jack! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A good post, Jill. The voters, especially women voters, certainly didn’t sit on their hands in the midterm elections. There needs to be a repeat of that spirit in the next Presidential and Senate elections. Trump, along with most of the encrusted and wealthy super-conservative senators need to be ousted. Just like the present House, there also needs to be many more female faces. Let’s hope. The Senators appear to be waking up to the looming elections coming up as they aren’t giving the President a blank check on his so-called “wall emergency.” —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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