Jorge flashed me one of his infectious smiles as I greeted him at the door. It had been about a month since we had seen each other, so we had plenty of catching up to do.
During the past year, he had been getting his personal business in order. Last week, the title to his car arrived in the mail because the bank had just processed his final loan payment. The car loan had become a real monkey on his back after an administrative error caused his financial institution to lose track of three previous payments. Following about six months of haggling, the bank admitted their mistake and settled the dispute.
Now, with his own financial obligation terminated, Jorge can move forward with his life. Although he usually exhibits a good deal of cheerfulness and optimism, Jorge’s happiness once again glows from within. He says that he feels stronger and a lot more confident regarding other aspects of his life, too.
As we sipped our coffees, Jorge said that with the distraction of the financial snafu out of the way, he is now able to focus his energy on some pressing matters at work and home. It looks like the way is clear for some real progress in his life.
I added that he should feel proud of what he has already accomplished and the success he has enjoyed even before the resolution of his car loan problem. Jorge has been an exemplary employee at his job and has a stellar safety record regarding the many thousands of miles he has logged as a trucker. Most of all, he has an enviable domestic relationship and home life. I said that he can hold his head up high and bask in some well-earned praise.
We continued our conversation about progress in general, especially in society. In some areas, it seems like there has been a ratcheting down and even backwards movement. This is especially true in the field of civil rights.
Jorge mentioned how there are deliberate efforts by vocal individuals and groups to erase the gains made. The organized efforts to make members of minority groups to feel put down or inferior are uncalled for. The efforts are not only emotional, they are aimed at repealing specific hard won legal advances. The effect sometimes seems to be one step forward and two steps backward.
I added that there is certainly a segment of society that feels extremely unhappy with progress. They seem to be intent upon bringing disrepute and dissappointment to the people in their crosshairs. It looks like they wish to impose a strict hierarchy with themselves sitting at the top of the power pyramid. They won’t be satisfied until there is an end to the ideals of our democratic republic, free inquiry, and freedom of expression.
We both think that democracy and civil liberties will win out in the end, but the struggle to retain them won’t be easy. Internal domestic disputes are usually quite difficult to resolve. Many of them simmer away for more than a century.
The strengths of freedom include its positive energy that empowers seekers of freedom to prevail in the end. It may take a long time, but eventually, honest thought and effort will prevail and our freedoms will enjoy sweet victory.
A person only needs to reflect upon all the advances in medicine, electronics, communications, and other technology to realize that people prefer progress. Even though it isn’t always obvious, there have been great strides in the ways we treat each other. Nowadays, more people understand that how people treat themselves is how they should treat others.
When there is much mutual respect, there is more social advancement.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes what Cesar Chavez said about advancement and progress. “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community. Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”