How many times have I heard or read “that’s how it is” or “it has always been done that way” or “it’s the law” or worst of all “because we can’t“. These statements always leave me wondering why we never stop and think about what we are saying and doing and why rules and guidelines dictate our thinking and actions. Do we simply comply just because and never attempt to understand the logic or consider alternatives?
The current discussion, voting and decision-making about same-sex marriage being legalised in Australia is monumental and I have read, researched, listened to, thought about, talked about and considered many points of view. One of the main factors contributing to the push for legalised same sex marriage is that non-hetrosexual couples will have the same rights as married couples. I totally agree as everyone should have equal rights. One argument is that if a partner becomes ill and requires medical attention, then only a married partner or blood relative would be allowed to visit that person in hospital and if necessary, make decisions regarding the treatment.
Who made this rule and why was it implemented? Often laws are introduced to stop dishonest, unkind people from acting in a manner that would not be in the best interest of another person. The laws do not protect honest, innocent people who act only out of love and never break the law or commit an offence. Fear governs decision-making and the implementation of laws. When did we stop trusting each other? I believe there are more genuine, good people than the opposite and frankly, I tend to think people tell the truth. If I was working in hospital administration and someone told me that they wanted to visit a person they loved, lived with, or simply was a friend, I would endeavour to act out of compassion and understanding.
Who makes decisions for people who are not married, who have no partner or blood relatives or are estranged from their family. My core family comprises my husband and myself so if he or my blood relatives were not available in these circumstances, I would want his family or my friends to be able to support me but the law would prevent them.
Let’s stop thinking outside the box
Just remove the box
Over the past couple of months, I have purchased my groceries at a large national chain of supermarkets; however my current location is not within walking distance to any supermarket so I decided to purchase from this company on-line. When I reached the payment section, I was told that they were unable to process my credit card payment. Thinking I had made an error, I re-entered my card details only to receive the same message. Scrolling down the page to the bottom, there was a tiny notice that indicated that I was unable to use my credit card because the billing address was not in the same country as the delivery address. This statement intrigued me because I had been using the same card when purchasing items in-store so I did not understand the issue. During two subsequent phone calls and one email to the company requesting an explanation, three different staff members provided me with the answer “we can’t do that”! Seriously, that was their only response. I was also left wondering why this “rule” was not evident on their home page as I would not have continued completing an order only to have it rejected. Eventually my perseverance was rewarded with an obliging company who did not need to know the billing address for my credit card.
A few days later, I was travelling on a local suburban bus and on my return trip, I indicated to the driver that I wanted to make one stop and then complete my journey at a later stage. Within a second, the driver had snatched my ticket from my hand and speaking to me in unacceptable loudness, he informed me that I could not do that as I had purchased a return ticket. He explained that if I broke my journey, I would need to purchase a second ticket to return to my point of origin. He continued verbalising about rules not being able to be broken and how he would not allow me to break my journey so feeling like a criminal, I quickly alighted and stood on the footpath totally bewildered.
It is time we stopped thinking the way we always have; stop thinking that just because a law or a rule is in place that it is correct and the only solution. Just because we have always done something one way, does not mean it cannot be done another way. How many of us do things the same way as our parents or family but have never really thought why? Does it matter which way the socks are folded, the washing is hung on the line, the direction the lawn is mowed or who sits in which chair? Why is Saturday and Sunday considered the weekend just because it has always been that way? Who makes decisions and why do we allow them to exist just because?