Column: Less machinery, more humanity

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By David Hurtado

Americans love to think they are a forward thinking society, less hateful and bigoted than people 60 years ago.

Folks, I’ve got news for you: that’s a big ol’ sack of it. Modern man can claim to be civilized all he wants, but we are little more than cavemen dressed in suits.

Does anyone remember the 68-year-old bus monitor who suffered verbal abuse at the hands of a group of young teenagers? Or the Michigan teen who contemplated suicide because of punks at her high school who elected her to the homecoming court as a joke? Absolutely disgusting.

From Kindergarten through the fourth grade, I was verbally and emotionally bullied because I was different. I lost all confidence in myself as person, became an outcast and sometimes cried myself to sleep. By the time second grade started, I had only made one friend who, like me, was different. I didn’t understand at the time why no one wanted to be my friend.

That aside, bullying isn’t the only issue I see in our so-called post-racial, progressive society. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there were reports of rape and widespread looting. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, locals have reported people posing as FEMA workers, price gouging and thieves looting from neighbors who lost nearly everything. And please, don’t take a leak down my back and tell me it’s raining.

I never heard of these sorts of things happening when Japan was struck by a tsunami during 2011. You want to know why? Because they are a respectful and kind people, even in the worst of crises. And folks, a lot of it has to do with the way they raise their kids.

You see, in Japan, children are taught early on to have respect for their elders, the law and each other. Here, kids are raised to have an entitlement mentality, think themselves above the law, disrespect their parents, et cetera.

What’s happened to the children of America? I’ll tell you. We don’t have enough real parents raising their children to treat others with love, kindness and respect. It also doesn’t help that disciplining children is considered politically incorrect.

If you haven’t guessed what I’m hinting at already, let me point it out for you: Americans need to have more love and compassion for one another. Sept. 11, 2001 was one of our nation’s darkest moments, but it was also our brightest. Conservatives and liberals, blacks and whites, gays and straights all rallied together beneath the American flag. For the first time since the Cold War, we stood united together against those who would dare harm our fellow Americans.

Perhaps the best way to summarize what I’m asking you all is a quote spoken by Charlie Chaplin in his film, “The Great Dictator:”

“We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

Have more love for each other, because in the coming years, each other is all we’ll have.

Contact David Hurtado, features editor, at dhurtado@jccc.edu.

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