Posted by: endithinks | January 3, 2008

On the Politics of “Not Knowing”

Yesterday I committed a professional faux-pas and asked a co-worker what they thought was going to happen in today’s Iowa Caucuses.  I know that speaking of politics is definitely not on the “professionally okay to talk about subject since one of the three major reasons people kill each-other is because of politics” but I was very curious and I made sure no other person was within extend-able ear distance and then I asked the question.

Well, I must have momentarily blacked out when the response was “Okay…don’t laugh at me but I have no idea what you are talking about.”  This is 2008 a presidential election year and this person had no idea what the Iowa Caucuses were?  I calmly counted to ten in a microsecond and then went on to explain what caucuses, and primaries were (they are not the same thing but similar enough for the lay person) and then after the explanation, examples and diagrams a glow of understanding broke the horizon and I was bathed in appreciative sunshine.

This year no matter what your politics is very important and it is our duty as members of society (in United States) to know what the issues are, the candidates and what they stand for.  It is the only way democracy works is when people come out from under their protective shell of ignorance or “news depresses me so I don’t know what is going on” and be active participants.

For a few starting points in the election process you may follow the links provided here, here and here.

I wanted to discuss a bit about the idea of “not knowing” here as well.

The concept of hiding or choosing not to know what is going on in the world because of a sensitive spirit is in a word cowardly.  People who are sensitive have a special connection to others that enable them to put themselves in the others situations.  People who are empathetic and feeling sometimes do feel overwhelmed by the emotions they feel or their own impotence to change the situations that they see unfolding before them. 
Firstly emotions are not made to exist in a vacuum.  Just because the ostrich sticks his head in the sand doesn’t mean that the jackals will pass him up.  Events are occurring and covering our eyes with our hands does nothing.  We cannot disappear or make the problems go away by ignoring them.

Secondly, the people that are most sensitive often have the insight to solve the problems.  I am a firm believer in the human potential for peace and understanding.  I think that although we have some hiccups here and there (wars, genocide, starvation, the callousness of the rich and poor gap) we have made strong strides towards a more humanitarian world.  I am an optimist if that isn’t plainly ascertained.  We have made progress.  Twenty years ago we would not have cared or even heard of a situation like Darfur unless it effected us (some would argue that this situation effects us due to oil in Sudan but that is an argument for a later day).  We the sensitive must be willing to hurt for the benefit of others.

Thirdly and most importantly no one is beyond the scope of helping others.  There are numerous organizations you can become involved with in the smallest to largest capacities.  If you want to simply donate money or goods you can.  If you want to put yourself out there and really give you can.  If you want to organize your own charity you can.  Or you can always lift this world a modern day Atlas with a smile, a kind word, or giving up the seat to a tired commuter. 

Okay here is a list of some of the most amazing charitable organizations out there.

Idealist  –This website is about hands on volunteering around the world.  It is a wonderful sight that gives you not only opportunities but also networking and communication with others of similar beliefs.

Amnesty International –A website dedicated to the human rights around the world.  This particular link is to the United States version.

Save the Children — This sight is dedicated to eradicating poverty and has one of the highest percentages of money donated going to the actual charitable process.  While I worked for them the percentage of every dollar given that went to direct charitable donation to the children was 97 percent.

There are hundreds more that I could list, but I wanted to just give a taste of what is out there.  It is time to wake up.  It is time to see the pain and hurt in others and do something about it.  Give what you can, make 2008 a year worth remembering.


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