Many years ago, there was a popular bumper-sticker in the UK:
Be Alert . . . Britain needs Lerts
I was reminded of this the other day whilst seeking the advice of my local computer shop: faced with a new PC I was re-installing all my favourite programs and, in downloading the Firefox browser had inadvertently also downloaded some ad-ware: persistent pop-up ads. We had agreed how alert we have to be for things that are not what they seem; how aware we need to be of potential deception and how ready to take decisive action against those with ulterior motives.
Whether it’s bullying from a colleague, aggressive door-to-door or telephone salesmen, IT based spams or scams, we are pretty much all exposed, day-in-day-out to individuals driven to get one over on us. Whether we like it or not, we have to be constantly on our guard against those for whom co-operation and compassion are alien concepts. If we were to look at the background of such individuals, at their upbringing, we would probably find reasons galore for their attitudes and behavior. There may be selfish genes at work, but it is almost certainly conditioning and circumstances that have taken hold of the ‘survival of the fittest’ motivation and run with it. They probably had little choice. In the same circumstances we, you or I, may have done the same.
But, as any fan of Disney or Pixar animations will affirm, it is possible to overcome the tyrant, the evil witch . . . or their real-life equivalent, whatever form they may take: physical or virtual. Courage and compassion, we know, deep down, will win out in the end. Somehow we have to be a-lert to cunning plans, aware of selfish intent and stand-up for the greater good. It’s often not easy, but we owe it to those who have given their lives for such causes.
On this Remembrance Day, as we reflect on the courage and sacrifice of those who have had to fight real, physical wars, we might ask ‘how can we best show our respect, solidarity and gratitude?’ By being alert, by showing compassion; by being firm . . . . but kind.
Keith Beasley: www.onereality.co.uk
Key words: remembrance, war, compassion, spam, scam, ad-ware, love, respect, solidarity, courage, alert, aware, Firefox, pop-ups, ads