[Hpn] A Little Perspective

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 24 Oct 2005 03:00:52 -0400


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http://www.collegian.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/10/24/435c69b627053

A little perspective


By Jake Blumberg

October 24, 2005


Talk about bad days. I woke up after only four hours of sleep to find my =
cell phone charger broke and my phone was almost dead. On top of that, =
it was rainy and gray outside and I missed my bus. I had a weekend full =
of work and conferences ahead instead of the Border War and fun with my =
friends. So I made the decision to be depressed and angry. Yeah, I =
actually decided my life was so harsh and terrible that I had a right to =
be gloomy and irate. Then, gosh darn it, I had to go to class and gain =
some perspective. Don't you hate when that happens?

We were watching a PBS special, which almost always proves to be a good =
opportunity to catch up on some sleep, and I was convinced my day was =
only going to continue going down hill. Then, within just a few minutes, =
I was counting my blessings instead of the curses of my "bad day."

I think it all changed when the video started talking about young women =
in India-- women my age or younger-burned alive with kerosene because =
they had yet to produce a male offspring, or because they had the =
audacity to actually use contraceptives so they could avoid adding an =
eighth or ninth child to their already impoverished brood.

These women were being treated in hospitals so crowded they had to share =
a bed with one or more fellow burn victims; victims of nothing but =
wanting to have a say in their own body's reproductive functions. Once =
healed-if ever healed-these women would not have a chance to go back to =
a loving home. Instead they had to face the reality of being an outcast =
to their own families and husbands, abandoned by the very people who had =
been their world before they had the "arrogance" to want more for =
themselves and their family. As I watched a fly crawl across the charred =
skin of one the victims, a missed bus didn't seem like such a tragedy.

If the victims of such atrocities in India were not enough, I then =
traveled to Africa, where the poverty was so out of control that a group =
of children, some without clothes, were frolicking in a trash dump, =
their closest thing to a playground. Not exactly the childhood I saw =
growing up in the grand old US of A. Suddenly, a dead cell phone battery =
wasn't even classifiable as a problem, let alone a reason to be angry =
and depressed. I was so overcome with emotion I turned to my almost =
comatose classmates next to me and said, "Do you know how lucky we are =
to have been born here?"

No matter how bad we have it, we are so utterly privileged to have been =
born in the U.S., or to have moved here from places unknown. Sure, we =
all have our own day-to-day problems and tragedies, but it is all =
relative. The poverty we see in our own nation, although bleak, is =
nothing compared to real poverty, the poverty experienced in a country =
like India or Kenya. The idea of a welfare system in these nations, and =
others like them is nothing but a fantasy; it is certainly not something =
individuals feel they are entitled to, unlike some of the impoverished =
in the U.S.

In fact, the poor in the U.S. live like royalty compared to the =
impoverished in other nations; here we have homeless shelters, there =
they don't even have shelters, period. Don't get me wrong, I feel like =
those below the poverty line here in the U.S. need to be taken care of-I =
have volunteered at many soup kitchens-it is just that poor is a =
relative term. The fact remains that every single U.S. citizen is =
blessed and lucky to be here.

Now, I know the facts I just went over are nothing you haven't heard and =
read before, but they are a reminder; a little perspective for those of =
us who get so caught up in our own world we forget the plight of others. =
The next time you feel like the world around you couldn't get any worse, =
take a second and look at the world that feels so bleak. I bet within a =
few moments you'll be thanking God-or whomever you thank-for being born =
in the USA.

Jake Blumberg is a technical journalism and political science double =
major. His column runs every Monday.




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<DIV class=3DartHeadline>A little perspective</DIV><BR>
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<DIV>By Jake Blumberg</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3DartDate>October 24, 2005</DIV><BR><SPAN class=3DartText>
<P>Talk about bad days. I woke up after only four hours of sleep to find =
my cell=20
phone charger broke and my phone was almost dead. On top of that, it was =
rainy=20
and gray outside and I missed my bus. I had a weekend full of work and=20
conferences ahead instead of the Border War and fun with my friends. So =
I made=20
the decision to be depressed and angry. Yeah, I actually decided my life =
was so=20
harsh and terrible that I had a right to be gloomy and irate. Then, gosh =
darn=20
it, I had to go to class and gain some perspective. Don't you hate when =
that=20
happens?</P>
<P>We were watching a PBS special, which almost always proves to be a =
good=20
opportunity to catch up on some sleep, and I was convinced my day was =
only going=20
to continue going down hill. Then, within just a few minutes, I was =
counting my=20
blessings instead of the curses of my "bad day."</P>
<P>I think it all changed when the video started talking about young =
women in=20
India-- women my age or younger-burned alive with kerosene because they =
had yet=20
to produce a male offspring, or because they had the audacity to =
actually use=20
contraceptives so they could avoid adding an eighth or ninth child to =
their=20
already impoverished brood.</P>
<P>These women were being treated in hospitals so crowded they had to =
share a=20
bed with one or more fellow burn victims; victims of nothing but wanting =
to have=20
a say in their own body's reproductive functions. Once healed-if ever=20
healed-these women would not have a chance to go back to a loving home. =
Instead=20
they had to face the reality of being an outcast to their own families =
and=20
husbands, abandoned by the very people who had been their world before =
they had=20
the "arrogance" to want more for themselves and their family. As I =
watched a fly=20
crawl across the charred skin of one the victims, a missed bus didn't =
seem like=20
such a tragedy.</P>
<P>If the victims of such atrocities in India were not enough, I then =
traveled=20
to Africa, where the poverty was so out of control that a group of =
children,=20
some without clothes, were frolicking in a trash dump, their closest =
thing to a=20
playground. Not exactly the childhood I saw growing up in the grand old =
US of A.=20
Suddenly, a dead cell phone battery wasn't even classifiable as a =
problem, let=20
alone a reason to be angry and depressed. I was so overcome with emotion =
I=20
turned to my almost comatose classmates next to me and said, "Do you =
know how=20
lucky we are to have been born here?"</P>
<P>No matter how bad we have it, we are so utterly privileged to have =
been born=20
in the U.S., or to have moved here from places unknown. Sure, we all =
have our=20
own day-to-day problems and tragedies, but it is all relative. The =
poverty we=20
see in our own nation, although bleak, is nothing compared to real =
poverty, the=20
poverty experienced in a country like India or Kenya. The idea of a =
welfare=20
system in these nations, and others like them is nothing but a fantasy; =
it is=20
certainly not something individuals feel they are entitled to, unlike =
some of=20
the impoverished in the U.S.</P>
<P>In fact, the poor in the U.S. live like royalty compared to the =
impoverished=20
in other nations; here we have homeless shelters, there they don't even =
have=20
shelters, period. Don't get me wrong, I feel like those below the =
poverty line=20
here in the U.S. need to be taken care of-I have volunteered at many =
soup=20
kitchens-it is just that poor is a relative term. The fact remains that =
every=20
single U.S. citizen is blessed and lucky to be here.</P>
<P>Now, I know the facts I just went over are nothing you haven't heard =
and read=20
before, but they are a reminder; a little perspective for those of us =
who get so=20
caught up in our own world we forget the plight of others. The next time =
you=20
feel like the world around you couldn't get any worse, take a second and =
look at=20
the world that feels so bleak. I bet within a few moments you'll be =
thanking=20
God-or whomever you thank-for being born in the USA.</P>
<P>Jake Blumberg is a technical journalism and political science double =
major.=20
His column runs every=20
Monday.</P></SPAN><!-- End article content --></FONT><BR></DIV>
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