Drifting Toward Controversy


In the main I consider myself an affable bloke. Not given to deep political opinions and largely distrustful of politicians or people who think they have the secret of curing the earth’s woes: physical or human. Occasionally an individual pops up out of the mass like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi or Mother Theresa whose approach to life seems so outstanding, that I am lost in admiration for them: they seem to be an undiluted force for good. I have no doubt that someone could step forward and tell me that young Nelson was an habitual shoplifter or that Mother Theresa used to get drunk all the time in nightclubs under her pseudo name”Freelance Annie”, but even then I would cling to my image of them. Just to make it clear I am not suggesting that either of those people did that: it’s just an example.

In the same way, for reasons which are lost deep in my psyche I like people in the main and sometimes grow to admire them. There are people I have “met” in Blogsville whom I would be honoured to consider as friends. I am not suggesting this is mutual, and if it is not I applaud your good taste, but there it is. In general I write about the small things of life far from the world of controversy but occasionally I can drift towards subjects which create a response far from that which I originally imagined.

Yesterday I talked of the riots, which are sadly continuing in parts of this country and got some responses which surprised me. I was never talking about the personalities of the looters or whether they deserved punishment, be it the death penalty or being made to stand in the corner for a month. I was wondering why it is that, in urban societies people can become so dislocated that a significant number of looters can rampage through the streets destroying people’s homes livelihoods and businesses without thought or regret. I was reflecting more on their upbringing and sense of community  rather than wether they deserved understanding or the full rigour of the law.

Like Caroline, I have had the good fortune to travel a lot and have seen people,tribes and cultures where the level of courtesy, good manners and hospitality put many of the those of us in the west to shame. Many of these people I met had little in the way of possessions or luxuries but their hospitality warmth and good manners was often impressive.  It is not a question of being rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged. It is more my shock that so many people of such young age seem disconnected from the community or culture of the country in which they live to the degree that they can do such things. I would not be surprised if it was a few people but it is not. It is the numbers involved which make me wonder if it is a generic problem.

What I do find is that we can sometimes pick up something in a post and run off to the hills without waiting to see if we have got the full gist of whats being said. It’s far from impossible that people, including myself, express ourselves poorly and thus give the impression that our opinion is different to the one we actually hold. It can also be true that we might have been talking about something quite different from that which was perceived by the reader. That is the difference between the written word and conversation.

I’m beginning to lose myself now, so I have probably lost you some paragraphs ago but just to lurch towards my  conclusion. In the main the people I  have met in real life  are much nicer, more caring and decent than those portrayed on the news or in films. This also applies to you lot. Many of whom leave me in awe of your approach to life and the way you have tackled its difficulties. That we disagree on some issues , or occasionally fail to understand each other s not a big issue in my mind. Now where’s my tin hat. I think a nice day in the bunker is called for

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
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14 Responses to Drifting Toward Controversy

  1. Barbara says:

    What you’re going through reminds me of 1968 in Detroit and where I lived in Ohio when we had riots daily for what seemed like weeks. I lived 2 blocks from one of the worst areas for the looting and burning.
    In that case it was largely about race. I used to say if I’d grown up black I would have been a militant, too. It took extremes to bring us to awareness on the whole. We’re still not, overall, a fair system but that includes gender as well as race.
    What’s happening now seems to be about the chasm that’s been created between wealth and poverty. The middle class is dying from carrying the burden for all.
    I pray the pendulum will swing back toward center but I doubt it will be before more pain is caused.

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  2. chrisine says:

    It’s hard to take a stand for anything… some may disagree, yet I feel, in a strong community, like your blog friends, disagreements can help us see things from so many perspectives. It may be hurtful when someone says something that I strongly disagree with, but I love it when it helps me understand how important something is to me in that moment. And sometimes when someone disagrees with me it can shift or expand my thinking. It’s great to have friends that are like minded, but to have friends who are different, yet open ~ that is exciting :))

    I’m glad you were brave enough to stir up some controversy and share from your heart. And I think it’s great that others have put their 2 cents in.

    “I am lost in admiration for them: they seem to be an undiluted force for good.”

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  3. Big Al says:

    That’s one of attracting things about your blog other than the excellent writing. You always get our thought gears engaged and draw us out a little.

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  4. Caroline says:

    What has really impressed me over these last few days is how the decent, law abiding residents of some of these communities have come out to clear up the damage. It’s brought out a new community spirit which wasn’t obvious before – and that has to be good. No, it’s more than that, it’s brilliant.

    People can blame ‘society’ – whoever that is – but actually society is us and until we set standards for how we live – where we live – then mobs and gangs will get the upper hand. Maybe, just maybe these communities are beginning to see that accepting responsibility for how the communities operate can have an effect. Maybe a pride is beginning to re-surface.

    I truly hope this is the case.

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  5. I’ve always been fascinated by the apparent fact that “normal” or everyday people like those we meet here or in our lives seem so much more reasonable than those put up for display as representing “us” in the media. If one were looking for a relatively simple (but impossible-to-make-happen) fix to many of our social problems around the world, we could start with trashing most of what is currently broadcast on television.

    But no one with any political clout is asking me what I think…

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  6. Jeanna says:

    ❤ As always Ducks!!

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  7. backonmyown says:

    Controversy, intended or not, usually starts conversation and conversation is good unless it becomes abusive. Thanks, Ducks, for starting the discussion.

    Someone above mentioned the gap between the haves and have nots and I would add my vote to that theory as a reason for rioting. We’ve had a bit of unrest in Philadelphia recently. With the gridlock in DC and the gap getting wider, I sadly predict rioting sooner rather than later here in the US. There is no logic and no law when people become enraged as a result of their frustration.

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  8. I heard about the riots on the news and I just hope everything settles down. I really love reading what you have to say on this blog. Keep writing because you definitely have a voice

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  9. Shonnie says:

    Ok .. i now have to go back and read the other post, because I think I need to to understand this one. I think sometimes, we all jump to conclusions, or just don’t allow other people to live, think, or be different cofmortably around us. To me this is sad and causes us to think shallow. Loved this bit of writing by-the-way. You never surprise me in the great quality of your writing. 🙂

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  10. I’m sorry I know this is very serious topic but I’m still chuckling over Freelance Annie! God! That would have been great…

    I think debate is healthy as long as we remove ourselves from the emotion and heat of the argument. It is about conversing in a rational manner where both parties can come together with an agreement or not…But accept that they have a different point of view.

    Now, with that being said I have no answers to this…We just suffered a series of riots in Vancouver over a hockey game. It’s then I wonder what is the world coming to?

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  11. redheadmouth says:

    Always enjoy reading your posts. I would call you a friend. 🙂

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  12. eof737 says:

    “so many people of such young age seem disconnected from the community or culture of the country in which they live to the degree that they can do such things. ” This is an important factor to consider when we look at the riots and why some feel no compunction about terrorizing others. Parenting only goes so far, and then it is up to us and our moral compass to make good or bad decisions.
    Honestly, the riots in Tottenham were just a matter of time… Have you been there? It is a depressed, poverty ridden, fragmented community, and when people feel that no one gives a damn, then they don’t give a damn…
    It is still a sad turn of events that our disaffected youth in the UK are acting in such violent ways… My prayer is that humane solutions will be found so we won’t have these events occur in the future.

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  13. stardust310 says:

    Being a psych major I know perception is different for every person. I often wonder though why people do not realize that we do not see things the same; one may see the door as long and dark brown, while another may see it as short and bent. It is hard to express one’s self over the internet and bloggers have it hard. Still, perception is good and bad even when we fight to get our point across some people get it while others do not. I wish more people understood that even if they do not agree; everyone has the right to their opinion.

    I just want you to know that I love your writings, though I am behind in everything as the summer has been very busy for me I always try to read your writings. You are an amazing writer!

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