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Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

I like to think that I am pretty good about decisions. One would not call me indecisive. Often times when I am out at a restaurant, I am one of the first to have made a decision on what I am going to eat. Now this could be for a few reasons. One, I have some allergies. I can immediately skip out those dishes that have seafood, lamb, curries. That limits what I can order on a menu so I have fewer choices to make. Two, I also know that there are some foods that I just don't like. So anything with brussel sprouts or liver is immediately disregarded as not a choice. Three when I am dining out I am less likely to be adventurous in trying new things. What's the sense of spending good money on something that I won't enjoy. Four, usually I have already gone in with my mind made up. I was feeling like lasagna, or chow mein, or teriyaki. I didn't want a hamburger or soup that night. Five, I am a bit frugal. An expensive meal out for me is a treat, but most times if something is overpriced, I'll eliminate it from my list of choices. So because of these reasons, I don't dilly dally when it comes to looking at the menu.

The same goes true about clothes shopping or when I buy large electronic items. For instance, this year I upgraded my computer. It was by no means a spur of the moment decision. It took me some months to save up the money for the computer. While I was saving, I studied different computer models. When I went to the store, I knew what computer I was getting, I knew exactly which accessories I needed for the computer, and I knew what it would all cost. Those who buy on impulse often find that they buy things that they don't need, that they get the wrong thing, and that they have spent money that they can't afford. Some impulse decisions are good ones- I decided to just go to church one day and there I met my significant other. But impulse decisions often can turn out badly- I wanted that diamond ring and then I lost my job and now I have a beautiful diamond ring but can't afford to pay my rent.

Some decisions have little import. The fact that I am wearing black shoes rather than brown shoes today will most likely not affect my life. There is little risk in that decision (although if you wear brown shoes with an all black outfit you risk being laughed at). Some decisions take more consideration. Changing careers, buying a house, moving to a different province or state, or getting married are all big decisions that are not to be taken lightly. These decisions are risky and you will have to decide if making such a decision is worth the risk.

We stand at a point where one nuclear power is pointing the fingers of blame at another nuclear power. We have watched in horror as race riots have erupted all over the US fueled by hatred. We have felt deeply saddened as victims of hatred fall after extremist attacks, as innocent women and children are bombed in other countries are bombed in the name of rooting out terrorism. We are constantly looking for others to blame- welfare cheats, the 1%, greedy corporations, rogue states, the refugees, the White Supremacists, the extremists, those who practise a different religion, the intellectual elites, the colonial powers, President Trump, big labour, the war mongers, the naive peaceniks, the polluters, the consumers, and the list goes on. Depending on who you are, you have your own list. We have all made such decision to point fingers and say I am right and you are wrong and we have made these decisions without measuring the cost. And our world has descended into one of increasing violence. In our pursuit of who is right and who is wrong, we conveniently remember all the pains heaped on ourselves and people like us, and we forget the pain that we may have overtly or inadvertently caused to others.

I think the time is coming for us to make a new decision and like all decisions it will be a risky one. That decision is to put down our fingers of blame that is pointing at the others. Rather than blaming someone else, we need to decide to negotiate, reach out, and get to know the other. This decision will involve listening, respect, giving up some of our pre-conceived ideals, giving up our sense of privilege, and sometimes admitting that we were wrong and the other side is right. This is much easier said then done. Right from the playground of children, people the world over learn the lessons of I am right and you are wrong and it is a much better feeling when we think we are right and the other is wrong. But until we make the bold decision to drop the ideas of blame and hate, stories of violence, terrorism, and global insecurity will continue to fill our television sets. Blessings. 

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