Part one of this three part series was about reaching out to help impoverished children. This part is about the small community that we live in and my observations of this community as well as others. Part three will be a comparison of the first two parts, as unlikely as that may sound.
The community we live in most likely is not much different than most small communities across the country. It seems that in the past few years that people from coast to coast seem angry at something/anything. My observations are that they take it out on their neighbors, friends but mostly on those who may not think and have the same precise values they do. Living together in a small or large community has suddenly become hostile, volatile, and extremely difficult. When we lived in large cities with hundreds of thousands of people it was interesting how people would not make eye contact with us and looked away or down. I believe interpersonal relationships over the years have declined and people are now wary, fearful and angry. Cell phones, smart phones, I Pads and Kindle came along at the very best time in history as they afford people the opportunity to avoid each other while still occupying the same relative space . They also afford bullies and angry people to virtually move through life unnoticed.
Having said all that there is still no excuse for people to be nasty to each other or to retaliate for some imagined wrong. Our small community is certainly no exception to what is happening on a broader scale in our country. There are those in our small community that seek to destroy people trying to simply live their lives and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. Some people are clearly targeted. They do this with a host of vehicles, but rumor, negative suggestions and maybe the worst of all using friendliness as a weapon, so you will let your guard down and let a sliver of information about your life slip out so that can be spun and used against you. A reason for them to not like you and have a tidbit of gossip to share with gossip mongers and gather a quorum about you without trying to know you.
Have you ever wondered what happens to bullies when they graduate from school/college? They learn that their juvenile physical tactics don’t work in real life so they become more subtle and devious in how they bully others. I have witnessed in our small community that there are those in leadership positions that appear normal but scratch the surface and you will find hate, prejudice, deception and a full blown bully. We like to think that doesn't exist any more in our civilized society but actually it thrives mostly unnoticed.
There are those who lie to you for no reason, bait you with false stories and information, gossip and deceive. Therefore sulking and sneaking around doing all the damage they can to bring other people down to their level instead of raising their own performance.
As an example: In a conversation with one of our leading citizens I mentioned we needed to pull together in our community as our community was hated both outside/inside our immediate area. I used as example that there are people I may not care for however if I found them stuck in snow or a ditch I would not hesitate to stop and pull them out. I usually end up pulling 3-4 people out of ditches a year anyway and I don’t have to like them to do that. It is the responsible and neighborly thing to do. This person looked me right in the eye and said there were people they would NOT pull out or help in any way. I thought they were joking and said so and found out quickly that there were several in the immediate group that felt that way. Names were mentioned and it amazed me that they acted friendly on the surface with people they hated so much. In my life I have found that hate begets hate and love and friendship begets the same in return. Right after moving here we were passengers in a vehicle and came across a neighbor stuck in a ditch. I said to the driver to stop and I’d help them get out. His reply was leave them there until they rotted and he kept going. Having witnessed similar episodes time after time I have concluded that I live in a community of generally hateful people. People who wouldn't lift a finger to help each other unless there is something in it for them. People who pray in church on Sunday and prey on their neighbors the rest of the week.
We envisioned moving to a community that would at least pull together to help one another, maybe start a garden share program, or other normal togetherness projects. Just this morning when I was getting a wound treated a medical worker asked me where I lived and when I told her she just shook her head and said those people all hate each other and all they do is fight. That where I lived was a very unfriendly place. I wish that were an isolated case but sadly it is not and we hear that often. We tend to avoid people in our community for self preservation - hate and prejudice can contaminate all who come in contact with it. Their outwardly appearance of friendliness is only a cover to lure you into their realm of distrust, hate, bigotry and deceit. Not everyone is like this but with all the factions in our community it is very difficult to differentiate.
In part three I will draw a comparison between these two totally opposite subjects. Impossible you may say, but I will try to do it because one is good and one is bad and there are common links. Living in a beautiful community such as we do; we would have hoped it would be beautiful inside as well as the panorama of vistas we look upon. That sadly is just not the case as angry people for some reason want to stay angry and take it out on everyone around them. In a small community that means their neighbo rs and anyone who may cross their path. Since I don’t know all the members of our community I seriously doubt this analysis applies to everyone in the community. So I regress back to the age old question as to how many bad apples does it take to spoil the entire barrel?