Nobody wants to be the victim of evil deeds. (Unless you’re in a certain kind of club and you’re reeeeeaaally looking forward to it.) Most of us don’t want to be evil, but it might be possible to wander into evil territory without being aware of it. It’s like being lost in a forest and instead of paying attention to the stars, or the sun, or even the signs saying, ‘This Way Out’ we dig our heels in and go our own way. It’s good to be independent, to make your own decisions. But we don’t all have the same skill set. We can’t all be wise in the same ways, or know everything there is to know about keeping the world, or even ourselves safe. So, here is a checklist of things to consider when making decisions that affect everyone.
1. Believe an expert over yourself. Though I’m inclined at two AM to consult Dr. Google about a strange pain in my chest/foot/abdomen/head (yes, I’ve googled all of the above) I finally succumb to common sense and make a doctor appointment. I may have a better diet and exercise program than my doctor, but I don’t know if I’ve got an ulcer, a blocked artery, or if the pain in my stomach is all in my head. My doctor will test for it. She has the equipment and she knows the right people. This applies to all experts. Climate scientists, (real ones with degrees and everything) journalists (the ones with training, not the guys in their yard or their trucks who will give you their opinion on everything from Covid to the war on Ukraine.) If you see a fake backdrop and the ‘anchor’ says, ‘Over to you, Dave,’ and Dave is waiting in his pickup to give you the ‘real news,’ think again. Dave might be your guy who can build you a new garage, or fix your plumbing issues, or repair your colon (but only if he’s a surgeon.) He’s not the right person to tell you the straight up truth about the world.
2. If you can’t find main stream media (people who’ve studied journalism) to back up your views, and you find yourself searching the ‘alternate web,’ realize this. You and a number of your acquaintances have not made discoveries that the rest of the world is blind to; you’ve not stumbled on hidden truths about conspiracies in the government, unless you’re talking about North Korea. But even then, they make no bones about where they stand. Governments are filled with blabbermouths, just like the rest of the population. They cannot keep any of the following secrets: Aliens are living among us, Bill Gates is microchipping everyone, big Pharma is the new, evil empire. Am I always a fan of the pharmaceutical world? No. But we’d all be dying in our forties and fifties, or even as children, if we didn’t have the medicine we need.
3. The good old days were not so great. Yes, baby boomers loved their childhoods for many good reasons. Lots of freedom, tons of people your age in the neighborhood, plentiful jobs, cheap schooling and affordable housing. But women were harrassed as a matter of course at work, at school, and while out walking. Many people had to hide who they were, because getting called ‘Dyke, ‘ ‘Fairy’ or worse was the result of being brave and coming out. And that ended in a beating or even death for quite a few people. Racism was accepted. Indigenous people, immigrants, anyone who looked or dressed differently was name called on a regular basis or put into re-education schools, so while the rest of us were living large, they were stuck in a dystopian world of pain and hopelessness. For many of us, the world feels harder than when we were kids. But that’s because we were living in la la land. Most of us were learning not to litter. That was the extent of our concern for the environment. How many of us noticed the missing indigenous children in our schools? Not me.
4. Stop villifying politicians. We don’t agree with the men and women we didn’t vote for, but the vast majority are doing their best. Nobody is perfect, and while you may not agree with their policies or their views on how to make the world a better place, give them a tiny bit of credit. I’m not talking about the politicians living in crazy town: Donald Trump, (for obvious reasons) Marjorie Taylor Greene (guns don’t kill people…murderers kill people) Kim Jong Un, leader for life in North Korea. And Putin. (If you believe that Ukraine is attacking Russia, and Putin is innocent, please check back to number 1.)
5. Think about your heroes. What would they be doing today? How would they be helping make the world a better place? You know you’ve fallen short (unless they’re Stalin or Hitler) if you’re one of the reasons medical staff are not encouraged to wear their uniforms out of the hospital. To be a person willing to berate or attack someone trying to save lives is not heroic. (If this is you, re-read 1.)
6. We’re all in this together, but climate change is hardest on those who’ve done the least to cause it. People of Somalia and Sudan are in a serious drought caused by rising CO2 levels. I drive a car that needs oil and gas, so I get that we still need the stuff. But encourage your government rep to be investing in alternative energies. Solar energy is 100% cheaper than it was in the mid-seventies. If we fund creative people, they just might save us from ourselves.
7. Know that everyone is undergoing hardships you and I know nothing about. If we practice peacefulness and forgiveness, maybe the favour will be returned. If we want a better world, we need to bring kindness to our relationships with each other. Let’s be more than bystanders–let’s deliver each other from evil. (Except for the ones on the way to that club. Let them have their good time.)