A story came to mind as I sat down to type. Actually....several short stories came to mind but these aren't just any short stories. So since I can't sleep....it's just you, me and some stories!
Once upon a time (all great stories begin this way....right?).....there was a little girl who was very shy. She was so shy in fact that she had difficulty speaking up or ever standing up for herself....much less anyone or anything else. This little girl though....well she had a mother who was very outspoken. Well....as outspoken as she could be at the time, after all there was no internet or social media so her outspokenness basically was shared with the occasional newspaper editorial reader and her family.....but she was never shy about speaking out on what she believed in. The little girls shyness drove the mother crazy as she feared her young daughter might never learn to take a stand, so she began coaching the girl and instilling words of wisdom into her young mind. "Some things you must stand up and fight for," "People cannot change what they aren't aware of," "Silence is the same as acceptance and some things are unacceptable" and "Sometimes you must be the voice for those without a voice." After years of the mothers teaching not only by words but also by example......the shy little girl eventually found her voice.
Then there is the one that goes......Once upon a time.....there was a young woman who was oblivious to the world around her. She and her friends spent little time thinking about.....much less discussing politics, world events or even the news. They were all busy living life, raising families and taking for granted what this country had to offer them. The girl voted (usually) but she was a fairly uninformed voter....voting as her family had for years and then assuming life would continue on as she knew it. Then one day.....the young woman happened upon a political internet group. She was so far out of her league but intrigued by what she saw none the less. She watched as people verbally sparred back and forth over politics, current events and the state of the country. Slowly but surely the tricky puzzle of politics and the world events started making sense to her. She began researching, learning and eventually joining in on conversations and even sounding somewhat educated. The young woman became fairly proficient at debating social and political issues, as well as researching her arguments to back up her points. She learned that facts are irrefutable.....but to some.....facts are nothing more than a speed bump when the destination is denial. After years of political sparring.....the young woman grew weary of politics. She began to see the debate as a losing battle and left the group......thus closing a chapter in an educational and exhausting period in her life.......or so she thought!
Ready for another? Once upon a time.....a woman with more on her plate than she cared to think about needed a mental outlet. Someone told her about this "cool" site called Facebook. Now FB was actually a site designed with college age kids in mind. It was for kids to make friends, listen to music and announce where the next party was going to be. Suddenly though....adults began using the site. They found they could find every living family member they ever had....and contact their first grade best friends, second cousins, step mom....and call her friend. It was an amazing new world. The woman found lots of people she used to know and a few new "friends". She had a "wall" in which she could post a few sentences about her day and she could post pictures too. Each time she looked at FB she saw posts from her family and friends about what they were doing, what they were eating, where they were going and there were even pictures. Lots of pictures. Pictures of kids, of peoples relatives, their vacations and things others probably really didn't want to see. After awhile....FB became like that awkward social gathering you didn't want to go to where someone wanted to entertain you all evening showing you pictures of their kids, while someone else wants to tell you how great their life is and someone else wants to go into detail about their hemorrhoids. FB then realized that maybe people wanted to say more than a few sentences and with this.....people decided they actually wanted to talk more about the world and less about themselves. The woman loved it. Suddenly people were posting about politics, health issues, world events and all kinds of things much more interesting than what they ate for breakfast. The woman was entranced and increasingly worried. It was an election year and hardcore researchers and politically motivated and educated people began unearthing information which was both interesting and scary all at the same time. The woman began doing her own research (it was the whole riding a bike and never forgetting thing) and suddenly she was back in the loop again. FB had not only reconnected this woman with her past but it had also helped her to remember that she had a love of research, politics and her country. Yay for FB!
Still reading? Well here's one for you. Once upon a time.....there were two basic political entities. There were republicans which were viewed as more financially and socially conservative and democrats who were viewed as both financially and socially liberal. Both sides loved their country and both sides wanted the best for their country.....they just had different views of how they would get to that point. Our forefathers had fought many hard battles to give us freedoms and a Constitution that would withstand time......so many felt that freedom was guaranteed for the long run and our Constitutional rights were a given. Thus all that need be done by us was to sit back and reap the benefits. We quit monitoring government and started accepting the fact that it was our government....and surely it would never turn on us. That only happened in poor third world countries....right?! Some voted. Some voted occasionally......and some never did. We took everything that had been fought and died for.....for granted and egotistically believed that we could never lose what we had because we were somehow "special." Slowly but surely, government began to grow and those who had been liberal and fought for small government....now seemed to welcome governments ever growing obesity as long as "handouts" and "freebies" were on the agenda. Conservatives who had fought for regulation and larger government in the past suddenly realized that government was regulating everything down to what size of soda that we could drink and they began to fight government..... wanting to downsize both its growth and its control of the people. Government was becoming an overspending, over stepping monster throwing us onto a slippery slope into socialism and communism that was anti-America in every possible way. People started coming out of their lackadaisical haze and began realizing that their nonchalance about voting and keeping government in check was beginning to snowball into something that every American war had been fought to save us from. Only usually from an outside enemy. We had no idea that the real enemy would be our own government. So people began to speak out. They began doing research and offering facts to what was going on. There was a wall. A dead end. Denial had spread like wildfire. We were no longer merely apathetic.....we had gone beyond that. We now refused to see what was right before our eyes. We sold our souls, our beliefs and our country out for the promise of "free" and the idea of government taking care of us, so we no longer had to take care of ourselves. The more people spoke out and the more facts that were unearthed....the stronger the denial grew. Before people realized it....an ever growing divide began splitting friends and family. One side was shouting from the rooftops and the other side firmly planting their feet in the quicksand of denial. If an atrocity like Benghazi or the Navy Seals was brought up....it was either met with silence or a "so what", "no big deal" attitude. American lives lost and it was "no big deal?" Those speaking out were viewed as rabble rousers and alarmists and this belief was perpetuated by the government. It was becoming a battle of sides that could rival the great Civil War and many were afraid. They weren't afraid like their parents had been as kids......of the take over by a foreign entity....no.....they are afraid of what their own government might do and what their friends and neighbors just might allow their government to do. So how did this story end? We have three more years to find out.....if the country lasts that long!
So....you probably know by now that the young girl/woman the stories referred to....is me. I found my voice and many have not liked that over the years. I have tried hard to remember those lessons my mother taught me and put them to good use....all the while using as much tact and respect as I can. With FB, my blog and other social media.....I have a voice that my mother never even dreamed of having. I have upset many on both sides with my views....never demanding that anyone else agree with me, only giving my opinion as one possibility in a world full of possibilities. I have watched as intelligent people buried their heads in the sand and minds slammed shut to anything outside their comfort zone or their own desired belief. Denial has become a sickness and facts have become obsolete in a world where the obvious goal has become to disarm its people, take away their voice and make them totally dependent on a government who is broke and continues to spend and owe beyond any means of reality. I have been both publicly and privately berated, insulted and name called over using my freedom of speech for the future of my children and for the future of my country. I pray every day that what I fear the most.....government tyranny....never comes to fruition. However, I believe that if denial continues to reign supreme and good people sit back and refuse to speak out and take a stand......then blogs like this and facts that are presented to show the government for what it truly is.....will be removed and forbidden as free speech will be nothing more than a memory. I just hope and pray that.....that is not how this story ends!
And this is what happens when I don't sleep.