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Linnie, in response to "In the Sweat Lodge," asked me what my greivances against society were. I thank her for giving me the opportunity to lay out some of my thoughts on the matter, in a constructive sort of way.
Linnie, I won't lie to you; I'm not abstaining from alcohol right now. And I probably should. If I get even a couple drinks in me, I get way too daring for my own good. But I'm sober now and I've been keeping it to two beers a day. And I'm in a good life situation right now. I'm about to graduate from college with an English degree. I have every reason to expect to be accepted into a Master in Business Administration program, and the DA dropped the charge against me.
When I was a child, I was bullied heavily because of my highly ackward gait, my glasses and my different personality. The teachers, etc., didn't interfere with the bullying. One day on the bus, I had made these fun colored paper hand puppets. Well, a bully tore them all up, just out of cruelty. My dad complained to the school. They did nothing to the bully, Doug Blair; their suggestion was that I sit in the front of the bus from then on. In Europe, anti-bullying programs are standard, just a part of making schools a nurturing environment. But our society views bullying as a sort of survival of the fittest situation. TV programs like "Saved by the Bell" encourage this sort of behavior.
The next way that society harmed me was by failing to accept people with intellects like mine. I am a highly thoughtful person. But "thought" is not valued in our school system or our economy, much to the detriment of the latter. In school, when I was ready to learn about the history of the world, the ideas of our age, etc., I was forced to memorize facts. It was always memorizing facts, whether the subject was Math, History, or Science. Furthermore, authoritarianism and whole group punishment was the norm throughout my education. Social status: girls, friends, etc., was reserved for guys who could run fast or move a pigskin. I, who was an accomplished creative writer and painter, had to eat lunch in the library. It wasn't until I landed a writing job with the city paper that I gained even a nominal social acceptance and it involved a lot of pointing and whispering, like I was some kind of freak.
Moving on, our society doesn't provide jobs for creative, intellectual people. Now, some people pretend that this is just what the market demands. But a modern economy is a highly organized entity; values are chosen by leaders and these leaders are morally responsible for their actions. Thinking people such as myself could make massive contributions to this economy if only we were given a place in it.
Okay, now we get to the crimminal justice system. About a year ago, I had a physically abusive girlfriend. She attacked one too many times and I gave her a right hook. The justice system put me on the rack. From the police to the DA to the judges, the whole system was highly biased and unfair. After I had settled the thing, I went on and accidentally wrote the anonymous profile of my ex. This was truly an accident and I passed a lie-detector test to this effect. But "domestic violence" is a horrible evil that must be killed, whether an individual is guilty or not. Besides, cops like don't like long haired Bohemian kids. They pressed "contempt of court" charges and only dropped them after my poor mother went into debt to hire a private lawyer.
I never had a substance abuse problem before these charges. But I am a sensitive person and I have trouble coping with persecution without something to help me re-focus. The drugs and alcohol that all this drove me too probably did more damage than the legal persecution itself. But that did a lot of damage, too. On its basis, I was denied entry into the teaching school for which I had chosen my current major in the first place. For the first time in a year, I can legally leave the State of Oregon.
And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I might have a bright future. And, you see, that's what people need to not abuse substances. And there are a lot of great things about this society but there's a lot of room for improvement, too. And there are a lot of people out there who are different and they are persecuted by this society. Maybe they're a little deformed, a little damaged in the head, or maybe they just don't think the way the authorities want them to.
And I'm one of them; maybe you are, too. I'm blessed to be decent looking, articulate and even from an upper-middle class background. But inside, I'm as gnarled as any of them. And I've been thinking about it and realizing that really that's my identity: I'm a delegate for the different.

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The following comments are for "A Delegate for the Different"
by seanspacey

Just scroll up and you'll find the answer to your question about how I felt society had wronged me. Thanks for your concern.

( Posted by: seanspacey [Member] On: January 11, 2005 )

Sean: The Chair recognizes the delegate...
Thank you, Sean, for responding to my admittedly nosy inquiry. I apologize for my delay in replying, but this week I have been very busy arranging for my mother's funeral. (Her death was not at all unexpected nor tragic. What was tragic was the nature of her life for many years - she had advanced Alzheimer's, so I am relieved that her suffering is over.)

I hope to comment in greater detail soon, after very careful consideration of what you've written and of my own reaction to what you have to say. For now, best wishes! More later.

( Posted by: LinnieRed [Member] On: January 13, 2005 )

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