By Dianne Witte
The words from my 14 year old son, “It’s not fair,” bothered me when he declared them after being punished by the school for “partying.” He admitted it, but was punished even though other partiers escaped because they didn’t confess. Why wasn’t he acknowledged for having told the truth? Well, it’s just not fair. What could I tell him? We are somehow expecting the world to be fair, but it just isn’t. Where does that expectation come from?
Recently, I’ve experienced the sting of an unfair world in my financial realm. The due date for a credit card payment slipped by before I noticed, so I quickly called to make the payment and asked for them to waive any late fee, since it was less than 24 hours past due. The customer service representative advised me I would have to wait to see if it was billed, then, my husband would have to call to ask for a waiver. What!? My name is on the account just like his. It was a guy I was talking to, so he wasn’t sympathetic. But, if it had been a woman on the line, I probably would have gotten an expression of acknowledgement at least, but no, he must follow the rules, “The primary must ask for the waiver.” Just so unfair!
This incident reminded me of other injustices I’ve encountered as a woman. First comes to mind, as a businesswoman, when I filed taxes jointly, the Social Security taxes on my business income was credited to my husband’s account. He benefits as a result with a higher Social Security check than I do. That’s just so “Not Fair!”
Another injustice related to credit cards is, when I make a charge on my card, it is always billed to my husband’s name. He doesn’t like to be billed for something he didn’t buy, and I don’t like it either. Seems there is a default that these companies have adopted that says men are responsible, not women. Take any legal paper you sign. If you’re married, who signs first? I’ve said it before, that’s NOT FAIR.
Of course, these complaints are minor when compared to the other injustices that are so common. Why are people discriminated against because of their color or ethnicity? Why are children dying in the Middle East? Why is 20% of Congress female, when we represent 50.8 % of the population? Why are women being sexually assaulted? Why do some get Alzheimer’s and others don’t? Why are children afraid at school? Why do people who have the nastiest jobs get paid least? Why are corporations treated like people? It’s all just so UNFAIR.
Well, by now, you’ve probably gotten my point about things being unfair, and have probably called to mind a few of your own examples of injustice. So, are we just victims of circumstance, hoping for things to be better? Why do we even expect things to be better? There must be something innate in our being, some vision, some ideal that leads us to expect things to be better. Maybe it’s there to inspire us to do better. Maybe that idea is to stimulate us to do something, rather than remain a victim, to find a way to address the situation.
Maybe we can start by deciding not to focus on the injustices, but on how we can affect them. Begin by finding just one thing to do to make things better. Even the simple intention to be more positive and finding ways to incorporate that into our lives is cause for a big “Atta girl/boy.” And I do mean giving yourself credit for managing to get through each day with a positive spin. Stay away from the “pity party,” and maybe even the news, if that is what it takes.
The urge for making things better may be behind the saying, “If you see something, say something.” It’s the idea we need to DO something, if we want injustice to be a thing of the past. After all, why are we here? “What’s it all about, Alfie?” We expect something better because we can make things better. It’s not that this ideal is impossible, it’s just each of us doing what we can. Since we all have at least some money, a simple thing like supporting suppliers or businesses that are working to make things better is an easy option. Support the arts and volunteer with organizations that support your ideals. Just one thing. What’s your “thing?”
Just choose one thing to make things better, (fair), then do it. As Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.”