Showing posts with label Excuses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Excuses. Show all posts

September 19, 2018

Impact of Hyperwork on Family

I am seeing this all the time now... 

Parents of little children, or even older children, who are too busy working to pay much, if any, attention to their families.

Call it a disease of the industrial revolution + information technology. 

Whether people worked on the assembly line making widgets or nowadays on the computer and smartphone answering their bosses and colleagues compulsively--it's become a global obsession. 

On one hand, with the impending robot and AI revolution taking over jobs, people need to be grateful to even have a job to earn a living for the families.

On the other hand, with the connections to each other and our work 24/7, the depression-era saying of:
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Has morphed into:
Brother, can you spare some time?

Yes, we all need to be responsible adults, earn a decent living and pay our bills. 

But in the end, it's not money or things that we give to our families that is the most important.  

I would argue money and things are the least important, and what is truly most precious is the love, time, and attention you give to yours. 

As the old saying goes:
Money can't buy love.

But time and attention given to your loved ones can build meaningful relationships that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Yes, of course, people need to work to earn a living and productively contribute something to society, but it is also true that work is used as an excuse to run away from parental and familial responsibilities. 

It's easier to give an Amazon gift certificate or a Gameboy then to actually spend the afternoon with the kids. 

These days, people say ridiculous things like:
I love going into the office to get away from home.  

But you can't run away from your problems at home--you need to work on them and solve them.

The diabolical murderous Nazis used work as a tool to enslave, torture, and exterminate their victims as the sign over the gate of the Auschwitz (and many other) concentration camps read:
Arbeit Macht Frei  (or Work Sets You Free)

But as we all know inside, true freedom is being able to give generously from your time and effort to your loved ones, and slavery is not being able to let go of your work. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 2, 2017

Watch A Terrorist In His Evil Action


This is an incredible disturbing video from today's terror attack in Israel.

A Palestinian terrorist is caught on surveillance camera committing his vile deed. 

The terrorist in the brown t-shirt comes down the grocery store aisle.

But he is not there shopping for groceries. 

Rather, the terrorist is stalking his prey--an innocent Jewish man working in the store stocking shelves for customers. 

The terrorist at first takes a pass by the man checking things out. 

Then he suddenly circles back pulling a deadly knife from his waist and starts viciously stabbing and beating the Jewish worker. 

The mortally wounded victim desperately tries to fend off the terrorist attacker as he comes again and again at him.

Fortunately, others nearby chased the terrorist who was apprehended by police, while the victim remains in critical condition in the hospital fighting for his life. 

Unfortunately, this is daily life in the Holy Land, where bombings, shootings, stabbings, vehicular rammings, Molotov cocktails and rocks are used to kill Jews in their one homeland, Israel.

From Paris and London to New York, Orlando, Jerusalem, and all over the world, terrorists continue to plot and murder innocents. 

Yet, how often do we make excuses for them--it's not their fault, it's just a minority, they're brainwashed, if only we gave in to their demands, etc. etc. etc. 

But does anything really seem to make a difference--more people, more land, more palaces and oil wealth, more respect, more morally corrupt votes at the UN, more, more, more...and still the global radical terrorism and human rights abuses continue.

What happens when one day the terrorist attack becomes one employing true weapons of mass destruction--will anyone really be surprised? 

We pray to G-d for peace and security for your people and for evil to be utterly destroyed. 

Oh L-rd, how long will you let these murderous, vile terrorists attack your children...how long before justice is done. ;-)
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June 4, 2017

The Excuses We Make

So on the way to the airport, I am talking with the Uber driver. 

"There is such a discrepancy between the rich and the poor here," I say.

"Yeah," she says, "When I drive and stop at the lights, there are many poor people that come up to the car looking for a handout."

She continues, "I usually have a few dollars here" pointing to the little cubby hole under the parking break. 

"But my friends make fun of me saying, they [the panhandlers] are just going to go out and buy a beer!"

Excuse #1 not to give poor people--they'll misuse our charity and buy alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes. 

The driver says, "But so what...if I were in their shoes, I'd buy a beer too."

I'm thinking, hey this is nice...she's fighting the bad inclination and her friends pressure and still wants to give--this is great!

Sure enough, we stop at a red light, and a really poor man starts walking up to the window to ask for help.

This person is dressed in dirty battered rags of an undershirt, and has sores on their arms and body.

The driver says, "Yeah, if I gave him, he'd probably just switch his shirt inside out later [as if the other side would be magically less dirty and ripped] and go home to his Rolls Royce!"

Wow, when excuse #1 doesn't hold...

Excuse #2--the poor people are just faking it...really they aren't poor, but rather they are fantastically rich and trying to pocket some more money for free.

It's like the evil inclination sitting on one shoulder telling us "don't give,"  even as the good inclination is sitting over our other shoulder beseeching us to have mercy and "give, give, give."

In this case, the evil inclination won out. 

I reached for my wallet and wanted to open my window, but honestly this person looked scary--dirty and maybe sick--I was afraid of this person. 

I hope G-d forgives me, because I feel it wasn't my evil inclination making excuses, but this time it was genuine for me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 8, 2016

I'm Telling You They're Really New

So I ordered a pair of swim fins to replace a pair that recently ripped in the pool. 

I went online and ordered a brand NEW pair. 

A few days later, the fins arrive in an envelope (no box). 

Already sort of terrified at what I will find in this strange bag, I slowly open it up, and find a completely disgusting dirty, scuffed, USED pair of fins with no tags or packaging

Ew...I am so grossed out and contact the vendor right away to return these, but instead of customer service, I got a boat load of b.s. and chutzpah.

They made a million excuses, tried to make me feel bad, and basically refused to provide for a return, saying that the product is not really used, that it just got dirty in the mail and on the trucks and all, and I just have to clean them off a little!

When I question them about why there was no box or packaging, they say, "Oh that, well we take it out of the box, so we can ship it more cheaply for you

I said, "What right do you have to take it out of the packaging when I ordered it new--maybe I want the packaging or need to give the item as a gift?"

Then they go on to give me an ear-full about about the high cost of shipping and that I should thank them for removing the packaging to the keep costs down (but the problem is that they were trying to keep costs down in more ways than one here). 

They continue to berate me as well about how I should be more understanding as to the dirt and scuff marks, since it's no big deal, because when I put it in the pool, the water and the chlorine will wash it off and kill all the germs anyway!

After patiently taking this abuse for a while, I went online and saw that others had the same experience with this merchant--getting sent used goods in the mail that had been advertised and paid for as new.  

Now I had had it up to HERE, and I promptly did my duty and went online to give them an appropriate customer review to help others from getting cheated like this in the future. 

Guess what happens next? 

They email me to tell me that they took note of my feedback and not that they are sorry about what happened and want to fix it, but that "We will never ship to you again." 

My wife explodes laughing...mwahahahahaha--like who would ever want to go back and do more business with these crooks. 

People are absolutely crazy out there.

Caveat emptor (buyer beware) a million times.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 31, 2016

Broken Mirror Reflections D.C.

So I took this photo of a smashed mirror hanging out of a corner trash can in downtown D.C.

Half is reflecting the garbage in the can and half is reflecting the buildings and trees outside. 

Such a metaphor for the society we live in these days. 

Where we are broken, and society is broken, and certainly lots of government is broken. 

And the shards of glass reflect on the both the garbage of what has piled up inside us and the system, but also the possibilities on the outside for development, growth, and change. 

The broken mirror with the sharp glass shards is dangerous, but perhaps by seeing the mess we are in, we can finally step up and do something to fix it. 

No more circling the wagons, infighting or deflecting from the issues; no more blaming the past or demonizing the opposition; no more excuses for stagnation, incompetence, or impotence; no more whitewashing and red tape; no more firefighting, shoddy quick fixes or waiting for another break/fix; no more whirlwind spin around the dazed and confused; no more sugar-coating, backpedaling, or dressing up or down the facts; no more playing politics or deceiving ourselves and others--is that even possible any longer?

Instead, we change to a model of acknowledging that which is broken and teaming together to fix it--doing something positive, and constructive for ourselves and the world--oh, fix it Dear Henry, please fix it.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 3, 2016

Not Your B*tch

Another story from a friend of a friend in the office.

A person has someone working for them who hasn't been working out all that well. 

Basically, the staff person is having challenges simply getting their job done. 

The boss asks what the problem is and if there is anything they can do to help the person be successful. 

The staff person blurts out to their boss that "Nothing is wrong--I just don't want anyone to say I'm your b*tch!"

For all the possible reasons for not doing your job this one was quite a shocking one. 

Sure people have challenges--not everyone is good at everything and it's not always a right fit, but being worried about what other people think about your doing your job...uh, not a very good excuse. 

Seems like something the boss is not going to be able to really fix...maybe a shrink. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 29, 2015

Stop If'ing Me

Often in life, I hear people say how if only in life things could've been different. 

Then they could've been happy...successful...satisfied...contributed more...been a better husband/wife, father/mother, son/daughter, employee or Jew/Christian/Muslim...achieved more...gotten further in life...become more...saved more...been more charitable...or a better person.

I remember in elementary school, in one class when the kids would ask lots of questions..."What if [this]?" or "What if [that]?"

And the teacher (who happened to be the vice principle) would start to get exacerbated, and would blurt out, "If, if, if...if my grandmother had wheels she'd be a trolley!"

Not very complimentary to his grandmother, but point well taken--we can ask if till we're blue in the face, but what does that accomplish except make excuses for ourselves or fantasize about something that isn't. 

This came up yesterday when I was talking with some people about the Syrian+ refugee crisis and what is the obligation and right thing to do in terms of Europe and America taking in so many of these people.

And someone said, "Well why should we take them in if they can already go to so many Muslim countries that could take them in--why are we involved?"

And one of the other people goes, "Well that's a big if about the other Muslim countries taking them in--because they don't seem to want to help them."

And then he adds this funny saying to solidify his point, "If the queen had another appendage, she'd be the king!"

Um, okay...that's another way to put it. 

Not sure this answers the refugee question about who is or should be taking responsibility and helping whom.

But that's the thing about "if's, ands, or buts" in life...these can be real questions or they can become convenient excuses, conditions, and qualifications.

And that is why we have to discern if something is a real question that makes us examine things harder and more carefully to make a better decision or whether it's just another dead end or side track to nowhere. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2015

When Terror Strikes--We Do What?


Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal today writes compellingly about how tolerance for terror (or what he calls tolerance for intolerance) is allowing it to happen. 

For example, Jews are getting knifed, stoned, and intentionally run over almost daily in the Holy Land and not a peep from anyone, except to blame it on settlements, even though this extreme barbaric violence was happening long before there ever was a single settlement

It has become okay to use violence--even terrible sickening and brutal violence against civilians--and as much of it as one can muster--if you have a perceived gripe. Shall we talk burning victims alive, running over live bound victims with tanks, throwing gays off of the roofs of buildings, beheadings and crucifixions, serial killings and mass graves, abducting young girls as sex slaves, use of chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombings and shootings, and more. 

So what do we do?

- We tolerate the intolerable by excusing absolute insufferable violence against innocent men, women, and children, because some are feeling upset or aggrieved--so we show maybe misplaced compassion, where we should be expressing outrage at inhumane acts of murder and barbarism.

- We negotiate to try and appease the terrorists, but they couldn't care less about deals when blood is the only thing that will quench their thirst for Jihad, power, and a new Caliphate.

- We use bold but empty phrases to placate the public and victim's families--such as we are at war or we will be merciless and we will destroy them. and then we perform another single bombing run and drop 20 in retaliation (on perhaps empty buildings as the enemy claims) after the U.S. has already run 6,000 bombing runs previously. 

- We are afraid to name the enemy, with democratic candidates at Saturday's night debate even refusing to use the term "radical Islamists"

- We are afraid to fight the good and necessary fight--after the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some are "war weary," or perhaps pacifists to an out of bounds extreme--where we are willing to risk another major attack on U.S. soil rather than appropriately defend ourselves and bring the fight to the enemy. 

WAKE UP USA, EU, NATO, AND UN. 

This problem is not going away--it is not "contained"--the war is not won--far from it. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)


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October 17, 2015

Living In The Dark Ages--Of Hate, Violence, and Endless Excuses

Despite the enlightenment of everything technology has to offer, we are as a global society, in many senses, living back in the Dark Ages again.

Unbelievable terror and killings have become routine and yet we have become deaf and desensitized to it. 


- Using chemical weapons...what red line? 


- Dropping barrel bombs...heck, at least it's not more chemical weapons. 


Besieging of cities...how about a short truce to let in some much needed humanitarian aid?


Beheadings on YouTube...already so cliche. 


Burning people alive in cages or crucifying them...grotesque, but what were they doing there anyway? 


Stoning women for being victims of rape or simply for some trumped up charges...sluts, they must've deserved it!


Mass abductions, selling, enslavement, and gang rape of women and children...nice photo op for Bring Our Daughters Home.


Raining missiles down on cities and digging terror tunnels under borders...well their aim isn't so good and the tunnels took them a lot of hard work.


Bombing and shooting up pizzerias, cafes, clubs, hotels, stores, buses, weddings, funerals, and houses of worship...what can you do--it's a cycle of violence!


Hacking off limbs, axing and stabbing attacks... of course, a legitimate airing of grievances.


Flying airplanes into skyscrapers...it was a plot for the Crusaders to invade our lands.


- Building nukes and other weapons of mass destruction along with ballistic missiles, drones, and suitcase bombs to deliver the payload...well, you can't put the knowledge back in the bottle!


More excuses from the political peanut gallery:


Are we just war-weary, being lazy, fearful, hiding out and putting our heads in the sand for a while, focused on other pressing domestic issues, pivoting east, in need of a better strategy, rooting for and helping the other (wrong/evil) side, a little delusional as to our own national and homeland security here, or perhaps, have some seriously gone off the (rational) deep end? 


Appeasement, disengagement, and withdrawal...vice leadership.


How do we explain this type of insane, immoral world to our children and is this really the type of sick and treacherous world we want to leave to them?


Oh yes, it's so comfortable and cushy where we are--there is nothing for us to worry about--or is there? ;-)


(Source Photo: Facebook)

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February 6, 2015

Stop Picking On ISIS!

ISIS is one of the most brutal and uncivilized enemies that we are now facing. 

Their tactics against their victims have included:

Beheading, burningtorturing, raping, crucifying, burying people alive, and abducting and selling children as sex slaves

Similar to Iran who threatens nuclear Armageddon on the West, and we seek to pacify them, make agreements, and unravel sanctions against them, with ISIS, our response again in the face of evil, has been tepid and now we are making excuses for their completely sick and immoral behavior.

At a National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, the President stated:

"Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."

Yes, that is why those times in history are referred to as "The Dark Ages," while in 2015, we are supposed to be a shining light of democracy, freedom and human rights.

The President also went on to cite Slavery and the Jim Crow [laws] as other examples. 

Hmm...interesting though, if you are going to cite examples already, why completely omit to mention the evils of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jewish people in the most inhumane genocide of our times--just 70 years ago! 

Then again, what was the purpose of giving the examples that he did of other great historical misdeeds (and also leaving out other prominent ones) in the face of another great evil in our times. 

From the specific words, perhaps:

- It is to excuse it? (Get off your high horses)

- To give them some sort of pass?  (Other people have committed terrible deeds)

But should we be making excuses or giving a pass to ISIS and for that matter Iran (which has one of the world's worst records of human right abuses and has threatened to annihilate Israel and attack America) for their ongoing brutality, immorality, threats and terror?

Maybe what is correct here is that we should "get off our high horses," and INSTEAD finally consider putting some darn boots on the ground and some serious firepower with it to end this march of terror quickly, rather than excuse it, ever. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Tv9)
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January 13, 2015

Absence, A Big Statement

We all know from psychology 101 that what we pay attention to and give to is what is really important to us. 

Parenting is an example of this where we give our time and efforts to our children as our most important investment of self. 

This last week was the historical Paris Unity Rally attended by millions, including 40 world leaders, to denounce blind discrimination and hate and the associated terror and murder that marked the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The Paris attacks were a striking blow on free speech and resulted in the murder of many innocent citizens and law enforcement at Charlie Hebdo magazine and numerous Jews in a kosher grocery store--it was more than shocking to see our top leadership missing in action (MIA).

In the Wall Street Journal today, there are many words on this from "error" to "lost opportunity."

Yet, despite acknowledging the blatant absence, what we are left with are an unfortunate series of excuses, such as the incredible statement that "No one in the White House brought such a request to the the President's attention."

As if someone needs to tell the leader of the free world that he needs to be participate in the Paris Unity Rally. Did the millions who attended or the other 40 world leaders need a reminder or a nudge?

Or here's another one about not being able to attend because of "security concerns."

Once again, did the heads of state for France, Germany, England, and Israel not have similar concerns that their protectors were able to adequately address. 

What about the  apology that he "regrets his decision not to send a top White House official"--uh, what about going himself?

I remember immediately after the attack of 9/11, President George W. Bush, with bullhorn in hand, standing on the rubble of what was once the World Trade Center...there was no excuses as to a need for reminders from staffers, security or health concerns, or sending surrogates--the leader was there and doing his job to lead, period.  

How can we fight a war on terrorism, fanaticism, and blind hatred, when we won't give it our time and attention--from the top down. 

As with a parent who is absent with his children, it speaks a thousand words about what is really important to that parent and the impact on the (symbolic) child.

"A cat's in the cradle with a silver spoon little boy blue and the man in the moon when your coming home dad I don't know when, but we'll get together then dad, you know we'll have a good time then."

In the past, the administration has been incredibly supportive in fighting terror, anti-semitism, and standing up for human rights, and with genuine commitment of time and effort, can do so again. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Doug)

(All opinions my own).

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December 23, 2013

Mothers Against Shaving Driving

So you think drinking and driving is bad...it is!

But look what this person is doing while driving. 

No, not texting.

No, not putting on makeup.

This guy is actually shaving while driving an automobile, and he's at an intersection. 

What is he thinking?

Are people really that busy that they can't find a few minutes to shave in the morning in the bathroom?

Of course when this guy has an accident, G-d forbid, he'll make up some shameful lying story to get himself off the hook.

Oh, it was the other person's fault or the accelerator stuck--it's defective.

Where are people's sensibilities? 

Here's a band-aid for the nick you got while shaving this morning. 

Next time use a bigger mirror and keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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April 13, 2013

Academic Assignments In Hate

According to the New York Times (12 April 2013) a high school English teacher in Albany, New York on Monday asked students to write a persuasive essay on why Jews are evil and the source of our problems. 

The assignment stated: "You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and...convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!"

This assignment echoed a similar assignment given to students in Georgia and New York City earlier this year instructing students to calculate math problems by using number of slave whippings and killings. 

Yes, these school assignments--to our children--are shocking and appalling. 

Although they call these teachers giving these assignments, these are not real educators, but rather bigots given a classroom pulpit.

Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, the school district superintendent, said: "Obviously, we have a severe lack of judgement and a horrible level of insensitivity."

But this "apology" does not go far enough--in fact, there is no apology--just excuses and calls for sensitivity training. 

Wyngaard should've called this behavior for what it is--discrimination, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred, and announced the firing of the teacher--who shouldn't be teaching anyone, anything!

With the Holocaust Remembrance Day this past Monday, April 8--this teacher added insult to injury in making such an assignment.

While teaching students how to write persuasively and argue different points of view can mean that sometimes you have to argue "the other side"; it crosses the line to assign students to write about why a whole race of people are evil, and on top of it to force them all to take that position.

According to CNews, a third of the students stood up and refused to complete the assignment--thankfully, there are some good and decent people left in this world.

Excuses are not apologies. Sensitivity training is not removal of a hateful bigot. And this school superintendent should've had the ethical backbone and courage to join the students who stood against this wrong. 

These "teachers" and school superintendent have at least six million reasons to do better, much better.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 27, 2012

The Truth About Lying

House MD said it first "Everybody lies; the only variable is about what."

This weekend's Wall Street Journal (26-27 May 2012)--states that research confirms this as truth.  

"Everyone cheats a little right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity."

According to the article--"very few people steal to a maximum degree, but many good people cheat just a little here and there."

They pad their billable hours, underreport their earnings to the IRS, claim higher loses on insurance claims, pocket a little from the cash register, walk out of the store without paying, copy test answers, plagiarize someone's intellectual property, and the list goes on and on. 

Already in the Ten Commandments, we see the fundamental precept of "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Yet according to the research, people's dishonesty is enabled by their disposition to:

- Rationalize away the crime.

- Overshadow it with previous immoral acts.


- Excuse the behavior by stating that everyone does it.


- Minimize the significance of the wrongdoing.


- Claim it is necessary or for the greater good.


Interestingly, factors that we would think would have a big impact on dishonesty, don't--such as either the amount of money to gained or the probability of being caught. 

Apparently, the cost-benefit calculus is not the driving factor in wrong-doing, but rather the absence of "moral reminders" and of enforcement/supervision is what creates the fertile ground for people to do the wrong--whether because they can, for the thrill of it, or because in their minds it "levels the playing field."

Everyone has the capacity for evil and to do wrongdoing, but the vast majority of the people with the right moral guidance will do mostly the right things.  

"Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behaviors of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations"--these are greed and fear. 

One one hand, greed drives people to push themselves and work hard, but it can also be used to go overboard to the point of acting dishonestly--to take what is not theirs and to lie about it.  

On the other hand, fear of losing our integrity keeps people's unbridled desires in check and perhaps even motivates us to give back to others, but fear can also can inhibit people from giving it their all. 

The ongoing interplay between greed and fear long known to drive financial markets are the underpinnings for our own moral tug-of-war. 

Balancing greed and fear is a powerful embrace that can propel humankind powerfully forward with drive and motivation or undermine its very existence through inhibition and dishonesty.

Reading the article and the underlying research was upsetting to me to see that so many people can be swayed seemingly so easily to have such little integrity.

And while most situations in life are not "black and white"--they are complex shades of gray--people can be tempted to rationalize even when they really know what they are doing in misguided. 

This is the ultimate personal challenge for all of us--to maintain our integrity in the face of all temptations and readily available excuses out there.

G-d speed in making good moral and productive choices. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Gerard Stolk)


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November 25, 2011

No More Excuses, Please

The New Yorker (24 October 2011) has a clever take on the urge of some--in this case, the privileged--to try and preserve the status quo. However, this can be applied more broadly.
While not an endorsement of any specific movement, this is an acknowledgement of the resistance to change by both organizations and individuals, and the many excuses offered.
Some typical ones we all have heard, in one form or other:
- It's always been this way.
- We've tried "that" before and it didn't work.
- Change is hard.
- Everything is fine just the way it is.
While change for changes sake is obviously pointless, change to adapt to new opportunities and threats is just good business sense.
Additionally, change to address inequalities on inequities is good moral sense.
Of course, we have to vet proposed changes and ensure they are constructive, the best option available, and really doable, so we are not just jumping into something irresponsibly.
When change meets the mark, then to implement it, we have to give it all we've got!
From our leaders, it takes vision, courage, and determination to see what needs to get done, get past the excuses, and inspire change.
From society, it takes sacrifice and hard work to get us to where we must go.
But if it's a destination worthwhile, then we drop the excuses and move to action.

Hopefully, we can recognize when change is indeed, necessary, and not be blinded by our fears and self-serving resistance that hinders the greater good.

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