RE action ary / by KR


'Reactionary'
Originally uploaded by Nudnik N Da Hood.
When I was 15 I enrolled in Driver’s ED like all other kids who wanted to legally drive a car before turning 18 – 18 being the age at which you could get a license w/o any education at all in motor vehicle operation. (Scary) The term I was taught was “defensive driving.” It apparently means I am supposed to drive in such a manner that expects the absolute worst of every other driver on the road, and thus be able to REACT to their awful driving. The theory must be that if everybody drove defensively there would never be accidents. In the immortal words of Tyler Durgin: “How’s that working for you?”

Let’s take the idea out of the car seat and into life, as we know it. Do I live defensively as to avoid collisions with others, expecting the absolute worst of every body else?
If everybody lived defensively, simply reacting to others, is the idea that we would all get along?

Having grown up in the America, I have increasingly been told how to RE-act to situations. Somebody doesn’t build your home correctly react by suing. Somebody gives you coffee that is too hot, react by suing. Somebody smacks your dog for biting them, then you must react by suing. And the examples are endless…

Let’s go global. The nightly news shows us people dying in the Middle East, hoping that we won’t think for ourselves and thus we react with outrage based on images alone. Someone shoots down a commercial airliner and we are told that we have no choice but to react with a proportional response. Someone attacks U.S. soil, we must react, again, with a term called proportional response.

Which, sidebar here, the term proportional response is a bit of an enigma. Simply put, we are the most powerful country in the world (still are folks, contrary to what the “they” say) and the reason we must have a proportional response is because if we responded with what we REALLY had in mind, certain parts of the world would no longer exists. So being the strongest guy in the room, we are only allowed to push back a little because supposedly everybody else in the room knows we could crush them if we didn’t; even though they still seem to take cheap shots.

All this, though, comes back to the idea of reactionary responses. Somehow we have come to believe the best way to live life is in response to it, to you, to everything. We live like we are taught to drive. So, we respond to loved ones out of defensiveness instead taking into account that we don’t know the whole story, that we don’t have all the information. We sue people, (usually those we don’t love, because it’s easier than being a grown-up) who hurt our dog, when in fact our dog was the one who deserves to be “punished.” To go global again, we tighten security at our airports every time someone tries to blow up a plane, we pass legislation to block immigrants that see so much hope in our country compared to the horror they left in theirs, that they will come in illegally just to be a part of U.S; we react constantly.

A class they don’t tell you about when your are 15 and pinning for your driver’s license is a class that teaches “offensive driving.” No, this isn’t about learning when to flip-off other drivers at the appropriate time, or learn how to talk New Yorkease. The point of the class is to teach you how to drive in such a way that you are making the decisions, not reacting to someone else’s. You learn how to move your car in such away that you are progressing through traffic in a much safer way than if you just reacted to all the other loonies. It is the kind of driving police officers take when they enter academy. (It is also where you learn how to drift slide a 180 with the hand brake and that is just cool)

Again, move out of the car seat into life. What kind of living would it be if we lived less in reaction and more in pro-action? What kind of people would we be if, instead of exploding off at every little incident that came along, we actually were proactive and took responsibility for ourselves? What kind of superpower would we be if, instead of playing into terrorists designs of provoking extraordinary reactionary measures, we spent more time proactively working towards their demise?

I might actually be a more whole and enjoyable person to be around.

We might actually have communities that trust one another more and more.

We might actually take back the initiative and remind the little terrorist provocateurs that we are the ones calling the shots. (Maybe, then we wouldn’t have to wait forever in a security line at the airport – because let’s face it, that is all simply cosmetic, to make us “feel” safe; for anyone could still take down a plane if they really wanted to.)

This isn’t a cry for pacifism or preemptive war in every sector of life.

It just seems that we tend to live at the lowest common denominator possible, and we celebrate it everyday when we turn the news on. Granted, when we think we are just animals, then why are we surprised when people act like animals?

It isn’t about a “hands-across-America” love-in either. H.I. McDonough was wrong when he said, “I’m ok, you’re ok. That there’s what it is, darling.” That’s just as lazy and irresponsible as the other.

We are sons and daughters of the Creator and, therefore, could live a lot more creatively than we do, bring more to the table than we tend to. “So, if you are serious about living a new life… act like it. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground consumed with what is right in front of you. Look up… where the action is.”