Weekly Word Prompt – Fairness

No one promised me that life would be fair. Quite the opposite. My mother was a total cynic. Born in 1910, her earliest memories were of living through World War I which she always referred to as “The Great War,” and then living through World War II, which was simply “The Holocaust.”

She didn’t believe in God because how could any God allow such atrocities to occur to his people. She didn’t trust government because even when they sometimes did honorable things, behind locked doors they made dishonorable deals. She was convinced that they intentionally failed to blow up the Nazi concentration camp crematorium and gas chambers because they were good old rich white men and were happy that Hitler was getting rid of those annoying Jews.

She remembered how in the middle of the depression when there was more food than could be sold because people were desperately poor, the government put surplus food in empty lots and poured poison on it so no one could eat it. I heard this was a rumor, but she said it was true. She had seen it.

She knew that the U.S. had refused to let Jews desperate to escape from Germany enter the United States and many of them had died in ships that sank in the Atlantic, in view of the Statue of Liberty. She remembered the jailing of Japanese American citizens during the war and the destruction of Native Americans.

She despised the Catholic church because, she said, they were a bunch of pedophiles, something that proved true eventually.

Lady Justice – Old Bailey, London

She wanted me to get a nose job so I wouldn’t look “so Jewish.” She never trusted the government, always expected it to turn on us. I think she always had a bag packed in case she had to run.

So I never thought the world would be fair. But I also didn’t think it would be this ugly. I thought if we tried really hard we could make it better. That we could fix some of the broken pieces. That I could fix some of the broken pieces myself.

I was wrong but I tried.

Maybe someday we will succeed. May my granddaughter’s children — should she have any — will make things better.

No one told me to expect life would be fair. I always knew rich people would get the best “stuff” and the rest of us would get whatever was left over. It never crossed my mind that we were all genuinely “equal.”

We are all equal. Just some of us are more equal than others.

Those few times when life has gone well and things have seemed fair and evenhanded, it has been a huge surprise. It would be nice if there were more surprises to come, but I’m not holding my breath.

19 thoughts on “NOBODY PROMISED LIFE WOULD BE FAIR – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. After reading your post about your mother it occurred to me why the monks or hermits would flee from the world to live all alone in caves, there were many times I wish I could also live that way.
    BTW, you have an enjoyable style of writing that draws people in.


  2. Life is an uneven playing field. And sadly atrocities continue to play out.

    This was so interesting reading about your mother; She was right on so many counts, but it does sound as though her depressed and cynical attitude influenced you and coloured your childhood grey.


  3. Good read. Your mom’s thoughts are still most relevant today. Although im guessing im from a different generation, i grew up in a country where we distrust our own government. Its sad how this post talks about events from decades back, but its still the same old problems, just with new faces.


    • I keep being horrified at how LITTLE has changed over the decades. Over the centuries.

      How much we are still dealing with the identical problems my mother was dealing with and for that matter, HER mother was dealing with. Technology has changed, but WE haven’t changed. Our attitudes are pretty much the same even if we use different words, we are saying the same things. The same tragedies play out year after year, century after century. You’d think we’d learn, but we don’t seem to learn much of anything.

      Individuals learn, but the species learns — apparently — nothing.


  4. I sincerely doubt there’s a country in the world that hasn’t committed atrocities against a people as you mentioned, Jewish people japanese, etc. Man’s inhumanity to man knows no bounds it seems. Those in power are at fault, those that know better are at fault and I don’t care what religion race colour or creed you are, because the buck stops with you. I’m sure that all the activists that actually made changes in the world, for the betterment of “humankind” are rolling in their graves when they see we’re back where we started from or worse! Since there aren’t as many actively fighting the current situation worldwide.!


    • How do you fight? Seriously. How? I’m 72. I can barely stagger up 6 steps to my house and still breathe.

      Who do we fight? Do we form armies of the aged, take our canes and walkers to DC? Take on the military? Buy guns? Do we shoot people? Find sabers? Swords?

      The world is huge and we are old and tired and many of us are ill and very weary. If there is to be a revolution, we will not be fighting it. Not any more.


    • I haven’t given up. But I’m also not expecting miracles. For people wondering when we’ll see “climate change,” they might consider looking out the window. It’s here. Now. This is the beginning.

      Our weather guy who is also a friend every now and again murmurs “climate change” during a broadcast. I think he’s not supposed to shout about it on the air, but he has a lot more to say about it privately. Not supposed to alarm the masses.

      Liked by 2 people

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