Strive to Improve or Regress

I’ve always been the sort of person who believes in self improvement. Whether that’s learning something new, eating healthier, getting better exercise, or honing a skill. The important part is you’re trying to do better than yesterday.

Simple fact you strive to improve or you wind up regressing

The reality of the world is nothing remains constant. You either learn or you forget, the economy improves or it declines, you either have more rights or less nothing stays the same forever.

You have a choice, you can put real effort into your health to improve it, or you can not put effort into your health and watch it decline.

You either put effort into watching your savings grow or watch as they dry up.

Exceptions to this rule are few and far between…

The Micro application of this is well covered, what about the macro?

Civil liberties for example. There have been countless movements over the course of history where individuals suffered all manners of injustice to gain more control over their personal lives, rights, and the ability to control their own destiny.

This lead to abolishing slavery, minorities receiving the right to vote, woman being permitted to vote, all of our basic freedoms here in the US, among countless other expansions to rights we hold dear.

This is also a change that’s lost a great deal of momentum and in some ways has regressed. For example in the US per our constitution you had the right to a fair and speedy trial, in addition to this you were “innocent until proven guilty” in other words you’re not punished until we’re sure beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a crime…

You might notice my use of the past tense in those rights. Consider, we can toss a label on someone call them an “Enemy Combatant” or “Terrorist” and poof you can kiss those rights goodbye! But these are bad people right? Yeah, most probably are bad people, but not all, some were just innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time, but without a fair or speedy trial we’ll never know… Not to mention they’re being incarcerated indefinitely before being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt…

Well that sounds like a pretty big back step from EVERYONE has the right to a fair and speedy trial, well intentioned maybe, but a loss of rights nonetheless…

Other examples

What about laws like “Stop and Frisk” or the “Show us your papers” laws? These were laws created arguably with good intent to reduce illegal immigration and illegal drug trafficing. To effectively prevent crime, unfortunately in practice minorities were targeted far more heavily despite evidence both programs actually resulted in causing a great deal of harm to innocent people more so than effectively accomplishing their goals.

Again this is a back step from “Innocent until proven guilty” and treating “All men as equal” (It says men in the actual document don’t blame me, I consider it “men” as humanity, not just those of the male persuasion) The moment you start isolating a group regardless of reason you’re violating their rights.

The US Concentration camps of individuals of Japanese descent. Yes, I just said US concentration camps, and no that’s not new news or conspiracy, the federal government even admitted to this and paid the victims as well as publicly apologized for what they did. (George Takei talks about this to great length, well worth a listen)

What did they do? well rounded up anyone who looked Japanese and tossed them in concentration camps where many died from disease and malnutrition. I think the only reason publicity wasn’t worse about these camps were Nazi Germany’s camps took things quite a bit further than we did. People who died in our camps were intentional, rather a result of us just being really crappy… People who died in Nazi camps was the specific purpose of those camps… Both Work and Extermination camps in Germany were camps to kill massive numbers of people, just one they worked you to death, the other they gassed you and called it a day.

So these were just Japanese people during the war right? No… you had people who looked Japanese… Who were born in and spent their entire lives in the US thrown in the camps. That is US citizens who had never been and never would go to Japan thrown into prison camps because they looked Japanese…

That was a HUGE slip in human rights, though to be fair a lot of attention has been brought to that and progress has been made to try make sure it never happens again…

How did these things happen?

While there is always people rallying to expanding our basic rights, on a grander scale people weren’t motivated to fight for their rights. Things were “goodish” and long as the status quo continued *shrugs* that’s fine. That thought pattern is a serious problem… As I said we strive to make things better or they get worse.

Effectively these mass violations of our basic US rights, our human rights came to be because not enough people fought to make things better, and as a result simple missteps caused things to regress. Perhaps these missteps were well intentioned, perhaps they were malicious taking advantage of public uncertainty and fear, honestly that only matters in principal. The end result was the same.

Why does this matter what should I do?

This matters because while you may not have been impacted in these events, you could be impacted in whatever the next misstep is. You need to fight for your peers as well as making this world a better place, because frankly if you won’t fight for them, why should they fight for you?

This isn’t intended to be a Hu’rah civil rights post, that is but one problem on our long list of things that need constant effort to keep going. Our Ecosystem needs help, our Economy needs help, our Equality needs help, our corruption in government needs attention, our education system needs help, our Infrastructure needs help, there are many problems that need people focussed on them and the number of people putting real effort into those things is simply inadequate, because most people are happy as long as things remain as good as they’ve been…

And as I said before they get better or worse, they never stay the same long… This means they’ll be left to rot until such time they’ve become so toxic the public conscious demands improvement, by then we’ll have regressed decades and take decades to get back to where we are now… Or… we can all set aside real time to contribute to making our world a better place. After all if I must choose between the world getting better or worse… I’d prefer explain to the next generation we left them in a better situation than we were born into, than needing to explain how we messed everything up, but they’ll fix it, right?

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