Friday, December 9, 2022

Andy Young: A picture that merits only one word

By Andy Young

Like other Americans who still value the freedom to not only think for themselves, but to express their thoughts and opinions publicly without fear of governmental reprisal, I have very strong feelings about a wide variety of issues.

This photo of garbage and litter along State Road
175 near Windsor Locks, Connecticut was taken
while Andy Young  was out for a walk recently.
For example, I oppose the death penalty. I think it’s barbaric, plus it strikes me as incredibly hypocritical for a government to punish someone who committed murder by committing state-sponsored murder itself. Or, as I was taught a long time ago, two wrongs don’t make a right.

But I also understand why other intelligent, completely rational people can hold a different view of capital punishment than I do. People raised on “an eye for an eye” have every reason to believe that, at least in some cases, capital punishment is exactly what is called for.

I believe smoking cigarettes is a very bad idea. But I understand why others consciously choose to light up regularly. After all, tobacco products are designed to addict their users, and once hooked, smokers have powerful motivation to continue their habit.

A woman desiring the right to independently choose how she deals with an unwanted pregnancy is completely reasonable, but so are the inherent beliefs of those who see all abortions as murder. Those who encounter racism on an everyday basis are understandably concerned with it, just as some of those who’ve never experienced it genuinely don’t see it as a problem.

There are plenty of other issues I have strong feelings about, including climate change, immigration, the Second Amendment, animal rights, marijuana legalization, the Electoral College, iniquities in the justice system, social media’s influence, the Pledge of Allegiance, academic and societal elitism, critical race theory, charter schools, outsourcing of jobs, vegetarianism, and how greed is destroying professional athletics nearly as quickly as misplaced priorities are ruining youth sports.

But I also fully understand not only the rights of others to hold beliefs that are anathema to mine and the many completely legitimate rationales there are for those people to feel the way they do.

There is, however, one issue I feel exceptionally strongly about which confronts every American every day, and about which I cannot understand anyone holding any beliefs other than my own. That subject is littering.

I generally begin my day with a brisk walk since early morning exertion is a great way to get both my mind and my body jump-started.

However, I wasn’t very far into a recent stroll before I was moved to capture the unsightly image accompanying this essay.

I was walking along State Route 75 in Windsor Locks, Connecticut at the time. But this discouraging photo could have been taken in any state in the union.

Seeing garbage casually strewn along our nation’s roadways has always made my blood boil, but as years pass my anger over this scourge has turned to despair, because unlike constructing sensible governmental policies that grandstanding elected officials of all political persuasions can all agree on, the solution to littering is easy.

If everyone picked up their own trash (or better yet, refrained from discarding it haphazardly), there’d be no problem. The ratio of one person to one responsible disposer of refuse couldn’t be simpler.

Some see “A picture is worth a thousand words” as nothing more than an old cliche, but the adage’s meaning is perfectly clear: ideas are often better conveyed through an image than they are through any number of carefully chosen verbal descriptions.

Maybe most pictures are worth a thousand words, but the photo accompanying this column requires just one.

That single word is, “Why?” <

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