Different Value Systems

by

Sally Caldwell became a friend, someone who helped me through a dark time with her kindness, humor, and advice on how to make sense of the indefensible. She instructed me to say over and over, “He has a completely different value system.” Really, beneath the umbrella of injustice, regardless of the issue, it’s all about completely different value systems. This week I’ve arranged categories of nail-biting distress along a spectrum. They are: The Cataclysmic, Of Great Concern, and My Personal Life, although each is personal. You understand the difference. That first, The Cataclysmic, is where I’ve placed the latest National Climate Assessment. The report says it’s not too late to prevent the worst, however it seems we’re on the brink. And nearing nuclear war. Under Of Great Concern is the use of chemical pesticides and other toxins. This may be advanced to Cataclysmic at any time. These substances not only pollute our world but also are linked to diseases like cancer and conditions like autism. (Google famous people with autism and you’ll see more Adam Lanzas than Temple Grandins.) Okay, this has been moved to Cataclysmic. I’m fixated on those Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted in mid-April with more kidnapped this week and having difficulty with the placement, I guess because ecocide supersedes everything else, but as I think about the agony of those parents, begging for help, the other family members, and the girls, I feel terrible saying that anything is more urgent. I have hope that they’ll be rescued, not sold into sex slavery or killed, because I have to reach for threads of optimism amid all the despair about this dying planet. Big oil and its profiteers don’t benefit from a healthy Earth, different value system, you know, but their greed is also their doom. And ours as we witness increased floods, droughts, severe storms, wildfires, and crop failures. President Obama, a master of contradictions, said, “…this is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now…”—words, verbal inconsistencies, given that the U.S. is the largest producer of natural gas in the world. Let’s see what happens after the November elections—with the Keystone Pipeline. (The Nigerian schoolgirls are now in Catastrophic.) Here’s one for that final classification, M Personal Life: Dr. Sally Caldwell died on January 31, 2014. I just learned of her death. In October of 2012, I read Sally’s book, Romantic Deception, after I was, yes, romantically deceived. I did a search and found her email address at Texas State University. When I wrote, I included my phone number and the first chapters of my unpublished book, The Year of Living Dan-gerously. She emailed, told me our phone conversation would be long, provided a few time options and her phone number. During the following months, Sally and I had several phone conversations and many email exchanges. Since those who haven’t had the “experience” don’t GET it, I figured she’d been victimized, that this inspired her book. When I asked, she said, “I check the obits every six months to see if he’s dead.” I talked with Sally about the creepiness you feel, to know you’ve been lured and groomed by a false lover. A friend had said, “Once you don’t care about him, you’ll move on.” I told my friend that there was no him. The person I cared about didn’t exist, never existed. This is the mind fuck that’s so damaging. That’s when Sally told me to repeat, “He has a completely different value system.” Today, after reading Sally’s obituary, I looked through old emails and found this exchange: December 7, 2013: Missy Beattie here. Hope you’ve had that transplant and that you’re fine. I’ve thought of you often, wondering if you’re well, if you’ve returned to teaching. She responded the next day with: We must catch up.  Transplant was successful —— double lung —— some complications —- 5.5 months in the hospital and another month recuperating in Houston.  But I am home as of last Wednesday —— moving slowly, but moving around nonetheless. As I said, we need to catch up.  Perhaps we can chat soon. I answered: “Sally, I’m so happy for you, that you’re home and recovering. Sorry there were complications.” Another, from her: “We must stay in touch, Missy. There will come a time when I will land in your part of the country or you land in mine.  It could be the record for the longest lunch in history.” “There will come a time…” No, but I hold onto Sally’s wisdom. She was right about different value systems, but this defines more than romantic deceivers. It’s the distillate of deception, period, and unlocks the question, how do they sleep at night? with the answer: just fine. Because their value system is so cluttered with insatiable greed there’s no room for empathy. Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire