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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Age of Hipocrisy

It started out as a normal day, travelling the metro by bus after taking my fiance to work

Shortly after we left our start point, the driver called back to a young lady in the back of the bus to remove her feet from the walk space. At first, I took this in stride, recognizing this as a safety concern.

A couple miles down the road I heard an emergency siren approaching us and looked around to see where it was coming from. I quickly realized it was coming from behind us. I looked to the driver, expecting her to pull over and stop, as required by law, but she kept going, forcing the ambulance to come around us. This troubled me.

Understand, the old me would have simply walked away from the situation, but the new, activist me was upset by the hipocrisy of the driver.

When we got to the end of the line where I was to catch my next bus, I paused before getting off and looked to the driver. The conversation went something like this.

ME: Can I give you a piece of advice?
ME: Before you get onto someone about some dirt on their face, maybe you should wash the mud from your own. You got onto that girl earlier about her feet in the walk space and rightly so. Someone could trip and get hurt. But then you had an ambulance coming up from behind a few minutes later and you failed to pull over to let it by.
DRIVER: But it pulled to the left and went around, didn't it?
ME: And what if it needed to make a right turn at the corner? It is a safety issue and why the government requires drivers to pull over and stop. You do not know where that vehicle might have been heading. In Michigan such an act can get you a thousand dollar fine.
DRIVER: I see, perhaps I was in the wrong, I'll be more careful.

Yes, she really did accept responsibility, which in honesty surprised me. I smiled at her, tipped my hat, and headed off to catch my next bus. If I was sure she wouldn't get in trouble over the ambulance incident, I would call her supervisor and compliment the professional way she accepted my criticism.

It also made me think about my own responsibilities in life and the example I am setting for my young nephews.

My seven year old nephew at one point took to refusing to do his chores around the house. His excuse was that I and my 22 year old nephew were lazy and didn't do any work, so why should he.

Understand, I work almost exclusively on the computer with research, advocacy activities, and website development. My 22 year old nephew has ADHD, aspergers and Turet's syndrome, the combination of which makes it very hard for him to keep a job in the main stream economy due to employers not understanding the conditions and subsequently discriminating against him. Both of us have household chores to do like cooking, taking out the trash, cleaning our rooms, and doing dishes. All of which we normally do when my younger nephew is at school. When he is around, he sees me working on the computer and my older nephew playing games on the other computer.

I had to sit down with the younger nephew and explain everything that goes on when he is not there before he would once again begin doing chores at his house.

Children learn what they see us adults doing. At times, it is not what is actually going on, but how they interpret what they are seeing. If they don't see how hard we are working to make our households and communities work, they judge us accordingly and learn that perception. If they see us using aggression and violence to get what we want, they think that is the way to do things. Equally, if they see us cooperating with each other to make things better in our homes and community, they will learn this instead.

Personally, I am going to try harder and make sure my younger nephews understand the work I am trying to do with House Wyldstar and the Social Policy Center blog from now on.

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