Wednesday, January 4, 2017


New York City is politically passionate. In Manhattan, rallies, marches, protests, and political scandals are fairly constant. The local newspapers consistently print controversial political stories with big front-page photos.

I am not much interested in politics and only ever attended one political event in Manhattan and that was by accident. I was about to enter the subway at Union Square when my attention was arrested by a small rally for undocumented workers/illegal aliens however you wish to see it. The group was chanting illegal aliens are people too. There weren't many in attendance, so the voice was weak, and the chant was not at all catchy. It was not slick either, though. I let out a little laugh while I tried to think of a better slogan, something to rhyme with the word alien.

There was a 30ish woman standing next to me selling socialist newspapers. When she heard me snicker, she turned to me with a nasty look and said, You need to move away from me. I asked her, Why's that? She said, Because you are arrogant. I asked her, Why would you think I'm arrogant? She responded, You just look arrogant. I admit it, I was annoyed when I said, You know, Hitler was a socialist and you look a bit like him. And, by the way, this is a public park and you can move away from me. She did move away and I left to catch the train.

I am not sure what arrogant looks like, but I think it had something to do with the fact that I was wearing an $800 suede coat. It was brand new and I had purchased it for the price of exactly $1.50 (yes, $1.50) at a thrift store where it was donated by the manufacturer because the zipper didn't work. The snaps did work and that suited me fine. I still have it. I still wear it. I presume I still look arrogant. Maybe that's what arrogant is - having something nice to wear that keeps you warm and feels nice when you smooth your hand over it. Or maybe arrogant is looking at someone, presuming they have had more favor in life than you have, and hating them because you hate your own life and don't know how to change it. Or maybe arrogant is looking at someone, presuming they have had less favor in life than you have or are simply less worthy of favor, and therefore deserve to be mistreated, misinformed or denied entry.

The recent presidential campaign was so very effective in showing how easily we light up our hatreds and how dreadfully easy it is to form a mob by aiming them toward that group that is to blame. Carl Jung would call it exposure of the shadow side. The sad news is that we all have a shadow side and if you see something in someone else that you don't like, it's also in your own psyche. Otherwise, instead of anger or hatred, you'd feel compassion.

I got angry just before the election when I read the spun headline, "Donald Trump, Jr. says women who can't handle sexual harassment should go teach kindergarten." I delved into this a few weeks later (yesterday) to find out the real truth of what was said. First of all Trump Jr. never said harassment or sexual harassment. He said, ...if you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, like you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. Basic stuff. I think he did mean sexual stuff.

After pondering Trump Jr.'s dialogue, particularly his suggesting that women who don't want to deal with basic stuff in the workplace should go teach kindergarten, I realized he is right. Because those women who can't handle harassment or simply think men should avoid being vulgar in the workplace could teach little girls and boys how to honor themselves and each other in the school at all times no matter what the situation and that would carry into the workplace later. Now that would be respectable basic stuff.  

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