“What It’s Like”

We want to feel important, significant, like we matter, special. Maybe we have been at the center of attention. Think about the “perfect” family and being the only child who if the child is inclined can be the focal point for practically anything. No I am not suggesting that the “perfect” family exists. I am not asserting that being the one always recognized, always at the forefront is easy or even desirable. Firsthand I know that being the person in the “buck stops here” seat is stressful and a place we don’t seek or desire.

Change though is inevitable. My Grandfather used to explain that concept so simply just by walking along this small stream. He illustrated to me that even within a split second some alteration took place. The result might not be better or worse but something happened to make it unique from the moment before and from the moments yet to arrive.

I often cite John Donne and Meditation XVII from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Many will recognize the work not by that title but by these phrases contained within: “No man is an island…” and “for whom this bell tolls.” For many more familiarity is to the poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls” derived from the Meditation and these closing lines

“Each man’s death diminishes me

For I am involved in mankind.

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,

It tolls for thee.”

When I speak it is rare not to hear me spout some rural boy imagery. Alas, if only I had a nickel for every time that I actually hooked up a tow chain, let alone spoken about links in a chain. As you already know, a chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Regardless of how strong the other links are, the chain itself at its full length can only sustain the tension that the weak link can withstand.

Some grasp the significance while others do not, but the discipline of history is not a mere memorization of names and dates. History is like systems analyses in that events will appear differently when studied within an isolated vestibule as compared to within the context of corresponding happenings. That’s the difficult part along the path to comprehension because while we may have thorough knowledge of the singular, a lack of familiarity with the plurality results in a misunderstanding.

Donne emphasizes this concept within Meditation XVII and the poem. The tow chain analogy while not as eloquent does as well.

Whether it is a discrediting, ignorance, or maybe arrogance, the failure to acknowledge the importance of the “weak link” or that we are not “islands unto ourselves” mystifies me.

  • Even if we consider ourselves to be the strong links, by dismissing or treating a weaker link with contempt are we not lessening the capability of the chain?
  • Are we not eroding the effectiveness? Are we not weakening ourselves?
  • Are we not diminishing the works of those links preceding our own and those that follow?

Think about it, when we tear down the President of the United States we are weakening ourselves as a country.

I know. We all have our own reasons and excuses. We were a chain, but he is the one with the bolt cutter snapping the individual links to break and divide us. Here’s proof, he talks about racism and so forth. He ignores the Constitution.

Well the Constitution argument is based on opinion and interpretation. Some will try to counter that assertion, but would you agree that things changed from 1789 to 1803 with the decision in Marbury? Did things change from Plessy until Brown? Is everyone in agreement with Roe? How many have even heard of Gitlow?

Modern technology with practically instantaneous communication 24/7 might make things seem more significant today, but if one takes the time to actually flip pages in a multitude of books this President has done nothing that others did not do. That does not make his actions right or wrong, but neither does it make the actions automatically unconstitutional.

Sure you can counter with the recess appointments. Yes according to SCOTUS those pro forma sessions were sessions. In the same manner SCOTUS at the time decided on Roe, Obamacare, and other issues. We cannot pick and choose only those which support our narrative on what is and is not the correct interpretation of the Constitution.

Oh I know this President talks. He said that if you like your doctor and so on.

You know, I really wish that I could have kept my childhood doctor. Unfortunately ole Doc passed away when I was a kid. It’s not like my insurance plans ever resulted in finding a new MD because of either the company or MD ~sarcastic font~. It’s not like any other politician has spun words. If we could all have nickels each time a politician has spun, told a partial, or a somewhat then none of us would be working for wages.

It’s true that this President does talk about some issues that some Presidents haven’t really discussed, but if you listen he has talked about issues that his predecessors addressed as well. I haven’t seen the omissions, but I see is that he is adding issues to the discussion. The dialogue list is increasing. Other Presidents have broached different topics from their predecessors as well as being a seemingly echo of repetition.

Could it be that we resent certain issues not being the center of attention but now sharing the stage with other issues?

Think about the criticisms.

Why doesn’t the President talk about a white man being killed?

  • Actually he has, but we have gotten used to hearing about that because it has always been done.

Talking about the black man being killed does not diminish the loss of the white man.

Actually the loss of either the black American citizen or the white American citizen or even a chartreuse American citizen diminishes us all because we are all Americans. It’s sad but for every murder talked about many more take place which we never hear or read about.

Religion is another example.

I’m Christian and during my lifetime I have always seen recognitions of the Christian beliefs regardless of where I have lived in the United States.

  • If I were Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, or of any other faith could I say the same?
  • How are my beliefs lessened by the other faiths having similar recognitions?

My faith is mine, and neither you nor anyone else has the power to strip my faith. Likewise, do I or should I have the supremacy to strip yours? Acknowledging another does not diminish mine. Actually the discrimination diminishes us all because whether we believe one is weaker than another, we are all links in that same chain.

Marriage is another example. No offense to any men or to any of my male friends many of whom who are closer to me than brothers but we are all physically unattractive, and I mean we guys are ugly with me leading the pack. Now while physical attractiveness means little to me in terms of love, I would not marry another man. I’m also not homosexual, so my feelings about my marrying another man are irrelevant. Still there were few restrictions for me to legally marry any woman. Heck I could have married and divorced a dozen times, and those same few restrictions apply. Why should someone who is homosexual have more restrictions than me?

OK I know that people will have religious arguments, but I don’t think any heterosexuals are being required by law to change their religious views. Morality? Well to me it just doesn’t seem right to get divorced a dozen or so times, but who am I to judge. We’re talking about legal here and couples having the same rights as other couples. That does not diminish my rights or my being part of a couple. Again failure of recognition whether you or I believe one is weaker diminishes us all.

Yes I will agree that some people want to change your or my religious view. It does, however, go both ways. Regardless of issue or event, some people will do anything to make themselves the center of attention. After all everything has to be about them because nobody else matters. How many times has someone gotten into your face, condemning you for everything, as their calling to spread their religious views?

Sure others might argue that they are fighting for you, but sadly once their issue has been settled they are often unseen and unheard. Call it wishful thinking, but I like to think that selfish, extreme, idiots are still in the minority and most of us just want to do what we need to do and our supposed to do without any extra attention whether it’s someone cheering us on or booing and hissing.

Please think about it, is our problem one that we are no longer that center of attention?

My take is just because we aren’t does not mean that we now fail to matter. It just means that others now share the stage.

Maybe we’ve forgotten what it’s like. I mean that we are losing our sympathy and empathy. We fear that we are no longer special.

“In some ways nobody is special, and that my boy is what makes us all special.” ~ My Grandpa

“God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it’s like….”

Part of the chorus to “What It’s Like” by Everlast.
Be cautioned that the lyrics contain language that may be objectionable to some. Personally, I choose not to use that language myself in my life and what is posted on this blog. I, however, do not believe in censorship so the lyrics which I find relevant to this posting and thought provoking are linked below as they were compiled by Everlast.


The YouTube video at the beginning, however, is to the version which I typically heard on the radio years ago.