Is any one person’s life worth more than another’s? Why or why not? Theoretically, no. But I believe everyone has loved ones whose lives seem more precious than others. I’m no exception to that rule, but I do believe that every human being’s life is just as important to someone than any other.
Can a good person do evil things and remain a good person? Under what circumstances? “Evil” is a strong word! “Good” is a word connoting opinion – but whose opinion? Right now, Russia’s president Putin is doing very evil things and I do not look upon him as a “good person” and actually, I have never liked him. He always has had dictatorial aims.
But sometimes, someone goes astray, so to speak, getting involved in evil deeds but later repenting. An example would be someone who belonged to a hate group and beat up on people of color or sprayed swastikas on synagogues, but later realized that the things he had participated in were evil and wrong. There are, fortunately, quite a few people like that. But someone who does evil and doesn’t consider what they do evil and keep doing it, well, I think that person is not what I would call “good.”
Is somebody morally culpable if they take a morally wrong action at the orders of a superior? What if their life is at stake? I don’t usually judge people for their actions under pressure. I guess it would depend on the individual situation. Ultimately, though, the superior should be the one most culpable, because he/she gave the order knowing it was morally wrong.
People had widely mixed opinions about illegal bananas, so let’s take that a step further this week: What would be the worst thing for a government to make illegal? basic freedoms of a democracy – the right to vote in a free and fair election, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. In other words, if the government became a dictatorship, those things would all become illegal.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional).
Given global events right now, do you have words of comfort or an uplifting thought that you’d like to share with the world? All I have to give are prayers for the Ukrainian people, that they stand strong, and know that most of the world is on their side.
Pick three words to describe this past year. (please keep them PG. Thanks). frustrating, appalling, anger-inducing
What were the best books you read this year? Or the best movie you saw? The best books I’ve read this year are not new: I don’t normally read Stephen King, but I loved the novel 11/22/63 which I read for a book group. Other than that, I have read a lot of novels written in the 1990s set in ancient Egypt. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and right now I’m kind of obsessed with ancient Egypt. All the books written by Pauline Gedge are excellent. I also read some political books, including Mary Trump’s book about her uncle: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Once I’d read that I could predict how Trump would react to losing reelection – he wouldn’t and doesn’t accept it! But the best political/social non-fiction book I read this year was Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. I highly recommend it.
One of the best movies I saw was on Netflix, Social Dilemma – it’s fairly new, and I encourage everyone to see it. You’ll never look at Facebook the same way again! I don’t see too many movies, unfortunately. I saw some old ones that either I never saw before or wanted to see again such as Out of Africa (somewhat of a disappointment) and Dr. Zhivago (because I just finished the novel The Secrets We Kept about smuggling the manuscript of the novel by Boris Pasternak out of the Soviet Union). I enjoyed seeing Dr. Zhivago again, although the copy we got from the library had a lot of scratches. A lot of what I watch are news shows and videos we watch on our community broadcasting channels. Also PBS series such as Nova and Masterpiece.
Because there was lots of time for looking inward, what is one big personal lesson you learned this past year? Perseverance – the pandemic has lasted longer than perhaps it should have due to mismanagement and lack of leadership. What galls me is how people just drag it on longer by refusing to wear masks (see answer to the next question). I have persevered by accepting what is. I don’t like wearing a mask any more than anyone else; I don’t like not being able to go out with my friends; I especially don’t like not being able to travel – but it’s what we have to do to stay healthy! I’ve read a lot of books and worked on my artwork, and have tried to take a walk every day that has weather I can tolerate.
Another lesson is gratitude: being grateful for the blessings I have, appreciative of people who put their lives on the line to save others, and not taking anything for granted. I see happiness in small things: reading a good book, watching flowers bloom, and baby chicks grow. Nature continues on as usual.
Do you think Covid has strengthened or weakened societal bonds? I would love to say strengthened, and I think on an individual level, that may be true: developing or solidifying relationships, appreciating the different jobs people do that may put their lives in danger during a pandemic, and working together to solve problems. But societally, our country is even more divided. I am somewhat surprised at this. I am surprised that in spite of the federal government’s terrible handling of the pandemic, over 70 million people in this country voted to reelect Trump! Fortunately they did not prevail, but I am appalled at how people have protested the dumbest things, such as wearing masks as an infringement on their freedom. Sorry, but their freedom ends where the next person’s begins so they need to take some responsibility for their behavior and not infect other people when they leave their home! And the denial of science – there are still people who are sick with Covid, go to the hospital and when told the diagnosis, deny it and say it’s a hoax! Why don’t some people believe doctors and nurses who put their lives on the line to save others? It’s all become politicized and it didn’t have to be. Trump and his Republican lackeys politicized it, instead of helping to unify the people of this country in combatting it.
It’s really shaken my confidence in the citizenry of this nation as supporting democracy and our values, such as stewardship, responsibility, and compassion. It’s also made me fear we can no longer have a dialogue – there are alternate messages of what is truth. How can one dialogue with a person that doesn’t share the same reality?
What is a New Year’s Wish You’d Like To Share With the World?
May 2021 give us 2020 hindsight and may the new year bring us the light at the end of the tunnel!