Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf
Published in the Albert Lea Tribune on October 12, 2015
We don’t live in an optimistic world; at least we don’t if we listen to ever-present media. There are days I want to say “Stop the world, I want to get off.” I do want to go on living in this world, but I can’t believe some of the things I hear or see. It makes me sad, and I want to stop and isolate myself from everything. The news drags me down, and it sucks the breath out of the optimism of life. When I let those feelings influence me, I quit seeing the beautiful world God created for all of us.
As humans, we spend our time arguing about happenings that make people so desperate they have to pull out their guns and massacre innocent people. We ask ourselves why our kids are so stressed and anxious, many having to be put on medication. We ask ourselves how sick we have to be before we can go to the doctor because we can’t afford it. We are scared to speak because it might offend someone or we might say something that is not politically correct, and we will be bombarded in the media for innocently not knowing what we said was not acceptable. Homeowners have to be careful what they build or put in their yards so as to not get citations or get ticketed.
We lock our doors and put in alarm systems to be safe. We lock down our schools. We subject ourselves to searches at airports because of terrorism. Movie theaters are now putting in safety precautions and we are talking about building walls to keep people out to keep us safe. We believe we need to own guns that are semi-automatic weapons; the simple shotgun or rifle or pistol are not enough because they don’t shoot out rounds of ammunition at one time, because it is our right to bear arms and we need to protect ourselves.
We accept all of this — in the name of safety. I think we accept all of this in the name of fear. Fear in our nation is spiraling out of control and putting restrictions on our way of life as we once knew it.
Yet, foul language on television and on the Internet and in the news is rampant. The violence on the shows on television glorifies automatic weapons and murder and violence. Reality shows where everything goes are popular viewing along with disrespect for every avenue of society. The more violence the better the show, or the more we peer into the personal lives of people, the more popular the show. We hang on all the celebrity news waiting to see who trashes who. And now a new online site is opening up so viewers can critique people. You can give them one to five stars as you do books and give them a review. We as a general public have filters, and the media does not.
We have turned things around from the ’50s and ’60s. In those days, television and news were censored. Today television and news and the Internet are not censored, but we, the common American person, are. Everything seems acceptable in the news, television and Internet media, but in real life people are censored as to how we can live, what we can say and can be tracked wherever we go.
A news article, yes I did read the news that day, noted a Twin Cities suburb where people were fined and hauled off to jail because they left a ladder by their house or their garbage container was sitting in front of their garage. I shudder to think what would have happened if they had painted their house an unacceptable color. In another city, a father had to take down a treehouse they had built for their son because it wasn’t accepted by the city’s building code. It was a common tree house, the kind we built all the time when we were growing up.
An apple farm didn’t think when they put up a sign that somewhat mimicked the Black Lives matter movement. I must admit I didn’t think anything of it when I saw the sign. I didn’t connect the two, but they were raked over the coals on the media.
In the workplace we have to be careful so we don’t call women girls. I am old and happen to like being called a girl once in a while. I thought nothing of it when someone would joke with me and call me a girl or blondie when they walked into the office where I worked.
I wonder if today we don’t take ourselves too seriously. There is a common sense line with all of these subjects but I wonder if we haven’t crossed the line in the other direction so much so that it impedes upon our freedom.
An article in my local newspaper, the Wells Mirror, highlighted a family of three generations of law enforcement, the Linde family. The first generation of this family was police chief when I was a teenager. I cannot tell you how much respect I had for this man and now have for the rest of his family. They work to keep us safe.
I also have a friend from a four-generation law enforcement family. Three years ago the fourth member, a Montana state trooper, was gunned down on a Montana highway while stopping to help what he thought was a stranded motorist. The man was lying in wait for a law enforcement official to kill. These are only two families of many that work hard to protect our freedoms. I was raised to respect that uniform and to thank them for their service, especially with the ever increasing danger they face today.
We again have turned things around in this day and age and many are trying to make our law enforcement agencies the enemy.
This old brain doesn’t understand. This old brain mourns for what our children do not know they have lost because they have never known the freedoms we knew. How did the world get so topsy-turvy?
The world I grew up in wasn’t perfect. Maybe it only seemed as if we had more freedom. Maybe the adults of the ’50s and ’60s felt the same way then when they were at the age I am now. I don’t have answers. I only have questions.
“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear and superstition.” —Bernard Beckett