Vail Daily letter: How can we be better?
I’ve never written a letter to the editor, so please bear with me and forgive me for any spelling or grammatical errors I may have overlooked. I’m not here to lecture anyone or tell anyone what right or wrong. I’m interested in starting a discussion.
Tonight, I went into town to enjoy some music in the streets of where I call home. Events like this are created to bring the community closer together, and I love that sense of community I get here in Vail. That coming together very much so came to fruition in the literal sense at the concert last Friday night. I’m OK with being close to people and dancing and crowds, but the lack of humanity I saw that night completely overwhelmed me and my experience. I don’t know why being in such large groups desensitizes people, but this large mass is still made up of individuals. Each individual in that crowd is a person with feelings that should be taken into consideration — for what we all hope in life is to be treated with the same respect we give. I saw so much lack of self-awareness in that crowd that it scares me people don’t think about how their actions might be affecting one another. I saw people dancing with cigarettes not caring if they were burning the people around them. People would shove themselves without care into the crowd, not thinking about who might have a knee or shoulder injury, a very real reality for most people in a ski town. I saw a 6-foot, 6-inch male pick up this sweet old mom just trying dance next to her daughter and completely manhandle her out of his way, without ever acknowledging her as a human being. I saw a couple jump the fence to get out of the craziness, to then be celebrated and championed by the crowd for their space and freedom on the other side. We should be cheering when we get people to join our movement, not celebrate their sanity when we see them leave us in our despair.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve been hyper-aware of the culture of inhumanity. I’ve seen grandmothers in front of her grandkids knock a piece of trash off a park bench and into the grass where animals live and play, only to have a young adult go pick it up and show her what a real role model looks like. I’ve seen fathers in lift lines treat other people’s equipment and property with no respect in front of their kids and try to pick fights for being ignorant or unapologetic. I always make sure to thank those that say something before the lower the bar, because I’ve been knocked in the head by the safety bar on the chairlift a few hundred times before I could be made aware by a simple please or heads up from my fellow riders.
I don’t know what to do to change what I see other than to confront it when it’s happening. I don’t enjoy standing up to people and putting myself in harm’s way, but if I’m not going to, then who is? I know I’m a natural leader, and I believe in my morals and ethics, but how do I make a change? Only thing I can think of is to ask questions and start a conversation. For if we talk about compassion, consideration and manners with our family and friends on a consistent basis, those thoughts and hopefully actions will be more actively present in our daily life. So what do you see happening when it comes to society’s humanity? Are you proud of how your brothers and sisters are treating each other? What can we do to make it better? What conversations do we need to have to get people to get on the same page and be self-aware of their actions and their repercussions? How do we change our culture to be more caring and compassionate? Where have all the role models gone? What happened to manners and please and thank you? Where is our inspiration to be better? I in some ways blame the media, for it is much safer and easier to show us a train wreck on TV and have us say, “Wow, at least I’m not that bad,” and not inspire us and push us and make us say instead, “Wow, that really cool, I wish I could do something like that!” Famous people were famous throughout history for their great accomplishments, and now you’re known if you just sleep with the right people. Where has our standard for greatness gone?
I know I only have control over two things in my life, my attitude and my actions, and I do my best to make sure that I’m a positive impact on those around me. I can only hope you do the same, for if you do I believe a lot of the problems in this world can be worked out with respect and compassion.
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Thank you so much for your time, I hope this article made you become a bit more self-aware about your attitude and actions and how they affect those around you, and made you think about what kind of role model you are and want to be, for we are all looking to our peers for validation on how to act. I look forward to hearing some feedback on what you think we can do to reach our full potential as a society and treat each other with common decency we all deserve.
With open ears,