Will 2019 go down in history as the year of insanity? Has hyper hysteria taken over the entire country? Is it no longer possible to make our way through the hazy maze of political correctness? Have we gotten to the point where guns are legal but an innocent hug can get you indicted?
Consider this: Thousands are protesting a simple touch on the shoulder, while no one is protesting the nuclear stockpile of weapons that endangers the entire planet.
The political smear campaign against Joe Biden is in high gear. Think about the amount of ink that has been wasted by the press on this non-issue. Meanwhile, people are dying. Kids are being kidnapped on the border by our government. This will go down in history as a major crime against humanity. Thousands of children have been lost and cannot be reunited with their families. Our health care system is in crisis. Bridges and roads are collapsing. Poverty and homelessness are increasing. But forget all that — Joe Biden touched someone's shoulders. There may be many reasons for not voting for Biden, but his compassion, affection and empathy should increase his vote count.
An attitude about hugging and touching others is often the result of culture. VP Biden is from Scranton, Pennsylvania. That is the heart of coal country. People who grew up there have different social norms of acceptability. They come from a tough, hardworking stock. Most are second generation Americans, often the children or grandchildren of coal miners. They hug in the grocery store, the post office, the bank. The only people there who shake hands are the bankers.
Politicians often give hugs. I have received many hugs from Bernie. Hugging might be the best thing that politicians ever do for the citizens.
Let's get a grip. There is a big difference between "touching" and "abuse." Those who feel their space has been violated should have compassion for those who never receive a hug, or even a touch. They need to reboot their moral compass. They probably need more hugs.
Science has proven the value of a hug. Remember, more than 50 years ago there were studies about infants and failure to thrive. Now some hospitals have cuddlers in their NICUs. Patients in nursing homes do much better when given a few hugs per day.
Teachers are now reporting they never touch a child. They are afraid of false accusations. Years ago, young students who were having a bad day often received a gentle hug from a thoughtful teacher. Now we have succeeded in removing compassion and humanity even from the classroom.
And please consider this: Maybe van Gogh would have lived longer if he had just received a hug that day. How many suicides could be prevented with a just a simple hug?
Rosemarie Jackowski lives in Bennington.