43. Honest or Dishonest Language, Part 2

There is a freedom I feel these days as a writer. I'm not sure where it is coming from. It wasn't in my life a year ago. I'm not sure it will be in my life tomorrow. Writing is above all things about language, about using language, about understanding language, about developing language, about using language to communicate, about using language to foster and develop relationships, about using language to be more human, to become more human, to become better human beings, to know ourselves so we can make the world a better place. When I was growing up, we were a nation of doers.

Our nation has never been completely fair, no matter what we claimed and no matter what it seemed to be for some of us. However, during my lifetime I have seen us become a nation of takers. We now take from one another and we're proud of it (if we are not among those being taken from). We think it is their fault, not ours. We think we are smarter, more clever, more deserving. I'm not perfect and I make no claims to be. I've been given many things in my life, but I'm not a taker. I don't want to take things from people they need. I don't want to take things from people they deserve. I don't want to take things from people they've earned. I don't want to take people's livelihoods. I don't want to take people's homes. I don't want to take people's futures. I don't want to exploit people. I don't want people to be exploited. I don't want the world I live in to be one of exploitation, but it is and even though it is--I don't have to personally contribute to it--and I do my best to not contribute to it.

If freedom is anything, it is above all things the freedom to give: the freedom to give hope, the freedom to give opportunity to, the freedom to give back, the freedom to grow, the freedom to evolve, the freedom to give respect to other human beings. Do we do that? Do we truly respect other human beings? Do we truly respect ourselves? We used to teach children right from wrong, so they understood these things and could grow up to become functioning members of society. Now we're afraid of injuring their self-esteem, so we "flatter" them when they haven't earned it and when we do this we betray them--we betray them because we are lying to them. We betray them because we are not giving them the tools they'll need to take care of themselves in the future. We betray them because we teach them lying is okay. We betray them because we teach them lying is normal. We betray them because we teach them lying is expected. We betray them because we're not giving them the most important tool a human being can possess--self-respect. Self-respect is work, hard work. Self-respect is not given to you because it can not be given to you. You must earn self-respect and you must earn it from yourself.

originally posted May 2015
reposted March 2018

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