Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Society Uncivilized

Remember the days we read about in a classic Jane Austin novel where everyone is polite, civil, and everyone does things that benefit society at large? Is gallantry really lost?

As I waited outside a shopping mall yesterday, I observed two vehicles pull into the courtesy parking spaces. (For those that don’t know, courtesy parking is reserved for pregnant women and families with very young children.) The first vehicle was occupied by a single male in his 50’s, and the second was occupied by a couple (with no toddler or pregnant belly in sight!). Rather than walking 3 minutes (gasp! In this country?!?) to an appropriate parking space, these people took advantage of courteous people for their own laziness. We went from a “community first”, to a “me first”, to a “me only” society.

I also had the misfortune of working alongside someone in a not for profit organization who was only there to promote himself. Rather than work for the society’s cause, his only goals were to further his own ambitions. Decisions were made on what would make him personally look good, and what would financially reward him the most. For someone who worked tirelessly to promote our cause, this became not only frustrating, but also very exhausting. Sadly, doing what’s best for the organization and the beneficiaries of the society was hardly worth the fight in the end. I’d like to think I’m not that jaded, but the experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I have only one conclusion. I can’t bring gallantry back by wrestling corruption or greed. What I can do is live everyday as my conscience dictates; strive for what’s right, not for what fattens my pocketbook. Hopefully someday someone will see me walking from the furthest parking space in the lot and see inspiration rather than insolence. Join me. While I don’t think we can change the world, I’d be damned if we didn’t try.


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