What a jumble my thoughts are in right now, but I’ll do the best I can here. 

I’m an Android girl. I’m known to be very vocal in my opinions against Apple. My issues aren’t even with their products so much as they are with the company itself. Proprietary is the first word that comes to mind. Once you buy in, you have to stay in. Their products, as nice as they may be in general, don’t play well with others, and each ‘generation’ became more walled in.

He who owns the ball makes the rules, right? You want to play? You do it my way.

Apple does have good products, but I don’t want to be in a cage – no matter how prettily it’s decorated.

Isolate and exclude.

I’m ashamed to admit this: I own an iPod. The 160 GB Classic. I had the original Microsoft Zune and I absolutely loved it (I still have it, and it still works well), but there wasn’t enough storage on it for me (yes, I need to take as much of my music library with me wherever I go). Microsoft upgraded the Zune to 120 GB and I was all set to buy it until I saw the iPod 160 being sold for the same price. I sold out for those extra 40 GB.

My daughter and then-husband had iPods. I was already well-versed in iTunes (and well-disgusted). It’s a filing nightmare to try to transfer already-uploaded music into iTunes. I spent many hours converting CDs, records and cassette tapes into digital files, and the transfer into the iTunes program didn’t go well – stored information on each file was changed or not accepted. I had/still have to go through each individual file to correct the artist name, title, album, and genre to be able to sort it out into playlists and to be able to choose what I want to listen to. Apple wants you to upload your music directly into the program from the source or, better yet, purchase directly from them. I have been building my music collection for over 40 years now; I’m not buying it all over again, nor will I purchase audio files that I can only play in one place. If I choose to buy a $60 collection or audio book, I want the CD; that way I can record and play it anywhere – not only on my iPod (remember, I still have my Zune).

Once my iPod is full and filed properly (it’s been years and still not the way I want it), I’m not changing it. I made my bed and I will lie in it. I will buy a different company’s product if I need any other upgrade.

We’ve all sold out in some way, haven’t we? We spend more for labels. You can’t put a price on quality, right? But does “quality” need to be emblazoned in large letters across your chest or your ass? Your support of a label provides companies with the inflated profit of the product and gives them free advertising as well. You are part of the problem, too.

We all are. We have accepted that we can’t truly be safe in cars unless we buy the most expensive. We can’t eat healthy without spending more. We can’t protect our children, seniors, homes, bank accounts, and selves without a cost. We can’t take care of our health and our homes and responsibilities. We are forced to make value judgments on essentials.
How did we get here?
We blame our government, first.
Isolate and exclude.
We isolate ‘them’ as the source of blame and exclude ourselves from the fact that we put them there, by our support (even tolerance is a measure of support) and perpetuation of ‘normal’ or ‘standard’.
We become further divided in our handling of the problems we see. Some will fight against the norm and others won’t, either out of fear of reprisal or a fatalistic attitude of “That’s the way it is.” Then, the people who are fighting the issue are fighting the people who won’t fight. And the people who won’t fight settle back into their chairs even further because it seems that the people who are fighting ‘are getting nowhere, anyway’.
We are going in the same circles, around and around and around again.
United we stand. No truer words. The irony that these words were written during times of serious isolation and exclusion is not lost on me.
We even use those words in fight. We need to band together (isolate) to fight them (exclude). There’s another irony right there.
Isolate and exclude.

Our country’s motto of unity is hypocrisy, right from the day those words were written, because all of us in some way have bowed to or chose some form of isolation and exclusion.

Fighting doesn’t work. If it did, we’d all be unified by now. Like George Carlin said, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”

We’ve made this bed. All of us, together (and we even deny that unity). We’re going to have to learn to lie in it without hogging all the covers or kicking people off of it.

We have to begin again, at ground zero.

“But where shall I start? The world is so vast, I shall start with the country I know best, my own. But my country is so very large, I had better start with my town. But my town, too, is large. I had best start with my street. No, my home. No, my family. Never mind, I shall start with myself.” – Elie Wiesel

Be, but let others be. Stop judging others, stop telling them that what they are doing or who they are is wrong.

Fighting is tiring; unhappy acceptance is tiring. We are a tired nation. And we will never learn to get along with others until we get along among ourselves, and that starts with each and every one of us.
Right now, my country stands on isolation and exclusion (that is how it was built); but we do have a collective conscience that keeps reminding us, united we stand.

The only way to achieve true unity is to stop dividing lines between us. Every single one of us was created both the same and different. This and that. The contrast is always what makes life beautiful. If everything and everyone were the same, there would be no joy – because we would have no way to recognize it.

Even those of us who don’t cook understand that it is the combination of different ingredients that make the sauce so tasty. True wine aficionados won’t serve grapes with their wines, because the contrast of other foods is what enhances the flavor of the wine. Vintners go out of their way to use different grapes to create one specific taste (the same grapes only different?).  Different instruments are required to give music its depth.

 – Harmony is the blend of differences.

How is it that we can understand that concept of the necessity of inclusion of differences in so many aspects of life, but not in the overall picture?

We either have reached or are nearing our tipping point. If our country falls, we are all responsible for it. Many people have been screaming for some type of change, but expecting others to do it for them. And it always comes back in our faces, doesn’t it?

Monopolies fall (Ma Bell, anyone?), because isolation and exclusion only goes so far – how long something continues relies on participation. The same goes for our country.

(I never liked Monopoly.)

Our country is made up of smaller groups; states, cities and towns, organizations, religions, ethnicities, and more. Each group can be further divided down until you hit the common denominator: the individual person. You. Me. That is where the change begins. We choose our participation. 

Whatever happens now, we are certainly all in it together, aren’t we?

Androids and Apples are the same, only different. I will go with my preference, and I will let you go with yours. That is where I will start.

I already feel better. How I act, support, be, do is up to me, and I do have control over that. I will show my unity with you by letting you do the same. 

And we can stand, together. The same and different.


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