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What am I doing here?

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Jim Opionin By Jim Powers
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Various news accounts over the last few weeks got me feeling the lyrics to the song “Creep” by the band Radiohead.

“But I’m a creep

I’m a weirdo

What the hell am I doing here?

I don’t belong here”

The news stories that made me think maybe I’m the weirdo included the accounts of adults legally marrying 12-year old’s, hundreds of children working at fast food franchises, and a Republican push to raise the voting age to 25. How, in any kind of sane world, can you hold the simultaneous beliefs that 12-year old’s are mature enough to marry, 16 year old’s to work at fast food restaurants, and yet 18 year old’s are not mature enough to vote?

Yes, I understand that Republican’s want to change the voting age because college students vote primarily for Democrats, and their solution is to just make it illegal for college students to vote, but in what kind of society does such buffoonery get serious consideration by lawmakers? Yeah, I clearly don’t fit in here anymore.

I was watching a news segment the other day where a Trump supporter was being interviewed at one of his rallies and was asked about Joe Biden running for president again. She explained that Joe Biden had been dead for some time, and that the person we see walking around and talking to the press as Biden was the actor Jim Carrey wearing a mask and doing pratfalls on airplane steps.

We seem to have a lot of broken people somehow functioning in society today. I have a hard time understanding how you hold down a job, raise children, pay the mortgage, and hold beliefs completely divorced from reality.

There is a popular book by Daniel Goleman called “Emotional Intelligence” that a lot more people apparently need to read. The argument the author makes is that to be successful in life, you need seven traits, the first of which is self-awareness, an understanding of the things that make you who you are. Your ability to accurately understand your personality, actions, beliefs, emotions, and thoughts. 

I’m pretty sure that hallucinating that the President of the United States is being played by a comic actor wearing a mask isn’t consistent with self-awareness.

Goleman goes on to advance six other traits that are essential to success, including empathy, a focus on the present, having strong interpersonal skills, being self-motivated, being receptive to new ideas and suggestions, and exercising integrity – conducting yourself with a great deal of morality.

To meet the challenges we face in the near future will require high levels of emotional intelligence. Seeing the nonsense supposedly intelligent people keep coming up with does not make me optimistic that the outcomes will be good. 

But maybe I’m just a weirdo.

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