Monday, January 12, 2015

Couponing and Price Matching feeds my family

There is a downside to empathy. It is hard for me to see others in need and not help.  It is hard to see the stories and videos of all the horrible things going on in the world, and my own neighbourhood.  It is hard to walk away from a child knowing they are hungry or in pain, but you are not in a position to help (not actually walking away from a child, but hearing about it is enough for me to feel as if I am).  This weekend I had one child (my daughters’ friend) ask for a drink, milk because she had not had any for some time.  I have been there a few times this last year alone, I know how hard it is when you cannot even buy milk.

Today I saw several posts from Moms out of money and food asking for help, in my town.  I get it, I have been there.  I had to change how I lived my life.  I had to learn how to budget and give up things and go without.  I had to spend the time getting the deals and going without something to stock up on something on sale because it would save us money in the long run.

The real issue is we are poor.  Even those of us with jobs can be poor.  Our income does not match with our debt load or the cost of just living.  I am lucky, I was shown how to shop, use price matching and couponing last year.  I am now able to buy more for less, sometimes even free.  In Canada it is hard work saving money that way, but it is worth it.  I joined groups that do the same thing and we all help each other find deals on food and anything else we can.

I have to admit that couponing and price matching and stocking up on stuff has saved our butts a few times when money was short, or gone.  I don’t think I could feed my family as well as I do if I was not couponing and price matching.  Even with that the cost of meat is getting to be too much.  I am going to have to learn to have meals without it most of the time now, and less of it when we do.  So we have to change how we do things again.

I know part of it is that we getting hit with the January hardships.  We (as in most of us, not us personally this year) spent too much trying to give our kids Christmas, to celebrate and give joy, instead of going without of always feeling poor.  Suddenly the money and food are low or even gone and there is still too much time before there is going to be any money. 

I wish there was some way I could change this, make things better for people and it hurts my heart and soul to see the way people live, and are going without.  Mainly because I have been there, I grew up like that and lived most of my life that way, even when I had money I did not feel like I did, that something was going to happen and I would have nothing.  My greatest fear is to be homeless, or be unable to feed my children so when I see others unable to feed theirs I want to help.  I am feeling very sad right now. There is just too much BAD going on.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hate crime vs terrorist attack what is the difference:

(Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris - murder of a policeman, who just happened be to Muslim)

With the many, many different attacks going on in the world it is interesting to see the labels people use.  Some people refer to an "event" as a hate crime and others call it a terrorist attack.  When it comes down to it, what is the difference?  Both are targeted, both are designed to create fear, both are a way to try and control the actions of others and say your way is the only way and that anyone who does not follow that one life path should be harmed or killed.  It does not matter if it is committed by one perpetrator or by many, the result is still the same. 

All these types of "crimes" are the result of anger and hate: the man shooting women from a tower, bombing a planned parenting clinic, people flying planes into buildings, others using car bombs to kill people of a different religion or geographical area, the rape, torture and murder of people "on the other side" regardless of sex, age or even religious or political affiliation.  This is not a Muslim "issue", it is a continuous issue throughout history with different "players" be it Catholics versus Protestants, Christine vs Pagans, Irish vs English, or Muslims against anyone, and many more examples.  At some point every group, be it geographical, cultural or religious has either been targeted, or been the aggressor. (If I am wrong please give me examples of a people that have never been the victim or aggressor.)
No need to hate, or teach hate

I don’t have any answers on how to change this.  I don’t even know if humankind can change this part of ourselves, it always seems to be us against them.  I have to laugh because even as I write this I do so knowing that I am trying to influence others, to get them to "change" and see things my way.  Sure my ideal is to not hate, harm or kill but still it is my idea of what is good and right.  I cannot make others follow my ideals, The difference between me and people I would consider terrorists or do hate crimes is that I am not going to try and force others to change and do as I say or harm those that don't believe as I do.  
Vasco da Gama fans attack an Atletico Paranaense fan during the match in Joinville in Santa

In one way sports and other competitions seem to be a good way to fulfill the need for us vs them.  But it seems as if that need to identify with one group, and be against or better then another never goes away, just gets bigger.  There is even violent conflicts between people who like different teams, so even sports competitions don't control or reduce that need.  It is one of our greatest weaknesses.  It is a great way to control a population, give them someone to blame, to be angry at, to hate and harm.
The greatest example I can give is Hitler. He knew he needed a focus population to blame so he found a population that did not have a “country” to support them, the Jewish.  He used hate, discrimination and in the end mass murder to unite and control his country.  Others still use his ideas to justify feeling “We are better than everyone else, we are right, people must do as we want” and making it okay to hate, harm and kill everyone that does not fit in their ideal world.  The funny part is Hitler himself did not fit in his so called perfect race of people.  That alone in my view justifies the belief that all his propaganda was political and power motivated, not an actual belief of superiority.  The hate and us vs. them was simply a tool to get him what he wanted.
(I don't know if this is a real quote from Hitler or not, regardless idea behind it is valid, the victor writes the history books)

I think in most cases this is true, even when it is disguised as a religious motivation, it still comes down to “We want you to do what we think is right, not what you think it right.  Only we have the right to make choices.”  I am sure that the people actually doing the killing (and in some cases dying for their cause) really believe what they are being taught.  It is the people telling them what to do, what to think that you have to take a close look at.  It is never a good idea to follow blindly, no matter what the belief or instructions are.  Think for yourself, make choices.  And if your salvation comes at the cost of others rights, freedoms and lives is it really salvation?