Keep Searching

Once again this morning I woke up to a story in the Los Angeles Times lamenting the great slow down on the roadways of the City of Angels. I read how apps are to blame, how the proliferation of bike lanes take away space from motor lanes. Gentrification was blamed, as was density development. You and I both know that is nothing but a smoke screen, a means to avoid taking responsibility, to pass the blame somewhere else, to someone else.

As a respected journalist for the Times, the writer does bounce around the real issue, but does not quite seem able to admit to it - there are too damn many cars around here, and the only real way to resolve that problem and thus eliminate, or at least alleviate, the congestion problem, is to get rid of a majority of those cars. But no, we will just keep bandaiding the situation, ignoring the elephant running down the street. Until the real problem is addressed, until we recognize the problem and admit to being a part of it, nothing will change; have not addiction programs been telling us that for years? Until you are willing to change your own bad habits, to make a difference, shut up and sit tight - that traffic you are sitting in would not exist if you were not a part of it.

Funny thing is when I started this post some number of weeks ago, it followed the lines of a different topic entirely, though one with the same outcome - blaming others for our own misery:

Revelation. Road racing is not the same thing as track racing. Nor is it the same as racing a mountain bike, and none of those three is the same as cyclocross. If pressed on the matter, I would even put forth that simply riding a bike around town, or through the woods, is yet another species, distinct from those more speed oriented others. Differences.

Popular culture suggests that Christmas fruitcake is widely disparaged and avoided. I'll take yours, and won't use it as a doorstop. The fact that bakeries produce unknown quantities of the holiday staple makes me think I am not alone. Some like it, others don't. Differences.

Some people spend countless hours, thousands of dollars lovingly caring for their vintage automobiles. They wash and polish those metal skins every week. I leave it to the rain to take care of that task. If we go nine, ten months between storms, so be it, the car collects nine or ten months worth of dust. Differences.

In the wake of various social ills being brought to the fore lately, we have once again become faced with the lament of our differences dividing us, some people expressing the wish for a "color-blind" society. While I understand the meaning behind the sentiment, I have lately come to regard it as an inadequate description choice, a poor turn of words. The term "color-blind" suggests monotone, similar, staid, closed, boring. I have long been thankful to have majored in anthropology at university those many years ago, doing so helped to open my eyes to the advantages of diversity, and richness that the different (ie. everyone) bring to our society. I want to see, to be able to experience, the vibrancy of differences, a world full of color. I forget now where I first saw the above screen shot; someone searched the words cyclists are to see what would come up. Look how many are simply words of hate.

It is a reflection of the whole blame someone else mentality, lashing out without taking the time, or effort, to examine the situation, to find the real root of a problem. I think more people need to take more anthropology courses, but more than that, I think more people need to consider the many ways diversity, our inherent differences, enrich our communities and lives. Stop blaming, start embracing.

The scapegoat you are looking for isn't here. Keep searching.