Jewish World Review Sept. 21, 2012/ 6 Tishrei, 5773
Life Isn't Equal
By Greg Crosby
You might attempt to force certain equalities into society, as unnatural as they might be, such as the ridiculous idea that men and women are equal beings in every way except for their private parts, but ultimately this sort of social engineering will backfire. Men and women are hardwired differently. Sooner or later boys will be boys and girls will be girls. Think about it. How many men do you know who wait for the yearly shoe sales at Saks? How many women organize their time around the televised football schedules?
Similarly you can't create laws that will turn unambitious people into ambitious ones anymore than you can legislate equal creativity and talent amongst all people. Some got it, some don't got it. Not everyone can be a Steve Jobs or a Walt Disney. Not too many of us can be a Bing Crosby or a Fred Astaire or a Pablo Picasso. We all can sing, we can all dance and we all can paint, but that doesn't mean we're very good at it.
Besides the G0d-given gifts some of us are born with, there is the element of luck too. Some are lucky to born into rich or influential families. Some people are lucky to be blessed with good health, some are not. Serendipity can make all the difference in one's future. Good timing, being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right person all play a part in happiness and success. There's no way to ensure that all people will have equal luck in life.
But the egalitarian just can't or won't accept that when all is said and done, life isn't fair, not everything can be equal. Everybody can't be rich. Everybody can't be gorgeous. Everybody can't be wonderful in all ways. And not all cultures are decent and good. Some cultures do evil, their values are inside out. Some people are pure evil, they can't be turned around, they can't be fixed, they are defective. As Sinatra once sang, that's life. For better or worse that's life, but there are those that can't come to grips with it.
If life was fair and equal then I wouldn't have been born with a predisposition for a spare tire around my middle, a receding hairline, and loose skin. I'm not complaining, just explaining. If life was equal I'd have the same number of cars that Jay Leno has. I'd be able to dance my wife around the floor like Fred and Ginger. I'd be able to walk into a room like Cary Grant. If life was fair and equal I would be inventing the next "got-to-have" electronic gismo.
If life was fair and equal I'd have great health up until the day I die, which would be well into my late nineties and I would pass quietly, easily, in my sleep in my own bed and with my love ones nearby.
The trick to living this here life isn't to look around and decide that others may have better than you have and then try to take it away from them so that "everyone will be equal." The trick is to know your own strengths and abilities and to develop them to their maximum potential. Being the best person you can be is the ultimate revenge. To "count your blessings," as the song says, and take happiness as it comes.
The ones who want to take from others, the ones who demand equality in all things to all are not very happy people in my estimation. They will never be totally at peace because everything will never be equal to all. What we have in this country is equal access to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The guarantee isn't that we all will be happy; it's that we all have the freedom to pursue our goals toward happiness. A very different thing.
One other thought. If everything is equal then nothing is outstanding. There is no better or best, it's all mediocre. And when an attempt is made to make something equal, it invariably means that the quality level goes down to the lowest common denominator. Do you think that if all medical care is equal that it will be of the highest quality? Or doesn't that matter to you? Does equality trump quality for you? If it does, than congratulations… you are an egalitarian. Welcome to Fantasyland.
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© 2008, Greg Crosby