Bee in the Bonnet: I Hope Next Year Is Better – Don’t You?

By Bernie Bates

How time flies – another three hundred and sixty four in the books.? Bang, pow, poof … this last year disappeared faster than a fart in a wind storm.? Some of us had a disappointing year, some had a banner year – that’s life.? But, for yours truly, the part that really gets to me is: Bad things happen to good, kindhearted, hard working people.? And good things happen to the round, brown holes, who profit from society – like a tick on a dog.

Call me (or email my editor) a nut, but I think I’ve come up with a solution to all of societies problems.? Looking back into Native history – we where led by strong, fearless, warriors who protected our homes and families.? And they where counseled by wise, experienced and revered Elders.? If you reflect on why this ancient system worked back then, you’ll realize, it could work just as well in this millennium.? Two thinks are, and will always remain the same: “Our youth and the elderly need each other.”? Most Elders in our society have something that teenagers need: patience and wisdom.? Which works out great, because most teenagers have none.? And to be fair, teenagers have something most elders don’t have: strength and fearlessness.

Back in the day of bow and arrow – Natives had to think of the ‘greater good.’? Everyone had to pull their own weight, utilize their strengths and help each other to overcome life’s adversities.? For instance, if a big, blood-thirsty bear came into the camp, you didn’t trip an Elder and run like hell.? No, of course not, it was up to the brave, the strong and the swift to protect the circle of life.????

…. NEWS FLASH: We interrupt this column, to give you an up date on another bombing, another murder and another home invasion!? I thought that? last few years were bad, and that it couldn’t be topped, but it was.? What can we, as every day human beings, do?? If I may suggest something: “Let’s form a club, with real clubs!”? And the next time some ignorant fool breaks into some poor Elder’s house, our ‘club’ can hand out some swift brutal justice!? Who’s with me?? Dream on … I’ll tell you what will happen, we’ll be saying the same thing next year: “Wow, was that a bad year; violence, war, hunger, I hope next year is better.”??

It’s said: “A coward dies many deaths, whereas, the brave die but once.”? Are we, as a society, becoming so fragmented, so individualized, that we could care less what happens to a person in another town?? How about someone down the street?? Maybe, next door or even within your own family?? Where do we finally draw the line?

When we hear of an injustice, we cry out to law enforcement: “Please, serve and protect!”? And then in the next breath we proclaim publicly for; tempered justice, cruel and unusual punishment … “Have pity!”? When I was a kid I knew four big words: Telephone, television, elephant-shit and consequence.? I couldn’t spell any of them, but I knew what they meant.? A telephone meant: news.? A television meant: entertainment.? And consequence meant: I was a bad boy and I was going to get my backside spanked.? I can now spell consequence and I still remember what it means.? It’s hard to forget the sting of a leather strap!

I also remember another time I was a bad boy – my crime – I had stolen five cents worth of candy.? When my Dad found out he dragged me back to the store, made me confess and ask for forgiveness.? If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, he paid the clerk a dollar, and said it would come out of my weekly allowance.? And to drive the point home, he also told the merchant that I’d be back every day after school to sweep his sidewalk … for a whole month!? For thirty days I swept that sidewalk and for thirty days my schoolmates walked by and giggled as I hung my head in shame and looked at my dusty shoes.

If you just thought: “Ah, poor little guy.”? You’re the problem with today’s society!? I did a bad thing and I paid a high price for that candy, but to this day I haven’t stole another damn thing.? If a person commits a crime against the laws of a society, then I have no problem with public punishment.? Humiliation, set me straight – that and a good whack on the ass.? I hope next year gets better – don’t you?


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