Fortuitous & Fortunate


Perhaps all of our problems, both domestic and international, could be solved by the simple act of learning the definitions of two words. By understanding these words and incorporating their meanings into our everyday debates we may still stand a small chance of finding a kind and loving path away from the turmoil caused by the greed and selfishness of the political shouting that barely passes for intelligence, today.

These two little words are "fortuitous" and "fortunate". Fortuitous is defined as "occurring by chance" and fortunate as "good fortune arrived at by chance or luck".

If we use these phrases in every thought and action we engage in towards one another, but particularly whenever we are tempted to judge the abilities or status of others, we may find that most of our arguments dissipate into an atmosphere of far more intelligent conversation.

Let's start with the silly and punitive attitudes so many have about the poor. I've heard that the poor like being that way or that they are just lazy. Both of these arguments, of course, are at best inane and, at worst, mean-spirited and senseless. The fact that they are most often uttered by middle- or upper-class white males is where the two words we spoke of come in. For some strange reason, the folks who most often say such nonsensical things have this absurd belief that they are of a superior financial or racial or educational status because God loves them more or else wants them to have a better life than someone else.

Now, anyone with half a brain would have to admit that if that were true then the certainty would be that God loves some of his children enough to allow them a comfortable life while he must either disregard or outright hate some of his other children, regardless of their spirituality or love or ability to worship, and that he wants their lives to be miserable and full of pain. Perhaps some people want to believe in a God like that but this form of idolatry is a love of a pretty evil deity, if you ask me.

The reality is that each of us are born into happy or sad or needy or fulfilling situations through fortuitous circumstances. The child born into wealth is not loved more by God than the child born into poverty or abuse. The people born with Caucasian skin and features are not God's favorites, only fortunate in today's color attentive society. Individuals born in America can only consider themselves fortunate, not blessed, since I doubt that any supreme being cares much exactly where you arrive into life on this ball of celestial mud. Women and their children who are left destitute and homeless from their divorces are not less treasured by God than others, neither are the women who gain wealth in a divorce more saintly and blessed, just more fortunate.

When one considers just how fortunate Americans are when compared to the rest of the world's population it is a miracle, not some reward, to have been born here. Rather than having the fortuitous good fortune of being born into a society of such massive over-consumption one could have just as easily been born to a starving mother in any of the hundreds of countries with little or nothing to offer its children. Instead of possessing the opportunities that this nation extends you could just as easily been born a poverty stricken female child who is sold into sexual slavery so that the rest of your family could afford to eat for another month or so. You are not somehow blessed to be who and where you are, you are only fortunate.

With all of that in mind, I suggest that it is far past time to change the level and tone of the discussions regarding America's many problems.

Once every American understands that race is a matter of birth and not a matter of some great blessing or terrible punishment, perhaps we will find that there is little to actually talk about and we can begin to accept the idea that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

Once every American accepts that no one chooses to be born into lives of wealth or poverty but simple fortune makes that determination perhaps we can stop hating others for possessing less than we do and envying those with more.

Once every American stops flaunting blessings which have never existed nor were anything but humble good fortune, perhaps we can cease the nonsensical class warfare of rich against poor which has been the hallmark of America since 1980.

Once we all realize that our lives are far more the results of fortune than anything else, perhaps we can focus on what is truly important in our lives. We can easily change the fortunes of our fellow passengers here on this small planet but not until we accept the idea that we are sharing the wealth that belongs to all and not giving something we falsely believe God bestowed upon us as a reward for being born into the correct circumstances.

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Copyright 3/6/98