The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Looking through the news media this morning, it seems apparent that more than a few people are willing to do or say just about anything in order to gain acceptance. They’re willing to put someone down without cause. They’re willing to marginalize millions of people who look or worship differently than they do. Being willing to insult someone of your same profession almost seems to be a requirement. Heaven forbid one be recognized for doing good work. If you’re not stomping on someone as you climb to the top, apparently it doesn’t count.
I understand that need to find acceptance. I look for acceptance in my hit count every day. If our count is low, as it was Wednesday, I wonder if I did or said something wrong. When it is high, as it was last evening, I assume what we posted was reasonably on target. Those numbers, however, are hardly an accurate statement of anything more than the number of people who read specific articles. There’s no real personal value there at all.
So it is with much we do in modern society: We look for acceptance through artificial measures that are ultimately meaningless. For example, there are some models and celebrities with millions of followers on Instagram. That number has become such a big deal that some designers use that scale in deciding who is going to walk certain positions in their fashion shows. Yet, one can “buy” followers or “friends” on any social media site; they’re not necessarily organic, and only the person who owns the account knows with those numbers are real.
At the same time we are looking for acceptance, however, there are those who want to take it away from us. While I sadly expect such infantile behavior from politicians, what has been excessively disappointing is seeing this deplorable attitude among musicians. The very fact that Rihanna’s new album is named ANTI shows how far this problem has gone; the whole project appears to be a diss against someone or something. Every new move is taken as a slap at someone else, who then responds with a slap of their own. We seem unable to just let someone be good at what they do.
With everyone so busy talking trash about each other while trying to build themselves up, it seems we’ve lost a bit of perspective. Here, let me help bring things back home a bit.
- The World Health Organization just called the Zika virus a threat “of alarming proportions.” The disease, which causes children to be born with substantially smaller brains, has occurred in 4,180 cases in Brazil alone since last October. There is a severe lack of immunity to the virus. Rapid diagnostic tests, drugs, and vaccines to stop or prevent the virus don’t exist. The chances for rapid spread of the disease are high. This is a mosquito-born disease and spring is coming.
- Drug shortages in the US are resulting in the rationing of treatment. This isn’t something that just happened overnight, but has been growing steadily to the point such shortages are normal. Who gets the medicine and who doesn’t is a decision doctors and hospitals are having to make on a daily basis now. Ethics are murky. There are no clear guidelines. People are dying. There are, on a regular basis, 150 or more commonly used drugs and therapeutics that are in short supply. Don’t get sick.
- The Bank of Japan just changed its interest rate to -0.1%. The move has stunned European markets and the US markets haven’t even opened yet. This is bad economic news on a global basis and, despite what your favorite candidate might be mouthing, there is no easy fix. Get ready for a rough ride and consider holding on to some serious cash reserves. You may need it.
- The Pentagon extended maternity and paternity leave for military members. Uniformed personnel now get 12 weeks of uninterrupted leave with the birth of a new child, which doubles the current standard. Paternity leave goes from ten to 14 days. However, while this sounds like a good move, it’s actually a reduction for Navy and Marine personnel who were receiving 18 weeks under a previous rule. The move still makes the military well ahead of most US companies, however.
I could go on, and on, and on, but the more I read the more depressed I get. Given all the truly important things going on in the world, I see no reason to care one iota which rapper slept with which porn star or which lily-livered chicken shit presidential candidate was too scared to attend a debate.
If one is looking for acceptance I have two-step plan for finding it: 1. do something good, and then, 2. do something better.
Go ahead, try it. See if it doesn’t change some lives, including yours.