Knowledge Gained

Knowledge Gained

By Rachel Birdsell

Another year is about to slip away again, and hopefully we are all ending 2012 a little wiser than when we started it. I know that I’ve learned a lot this year. Some of it is knowledge that I embrace and some is knowledge that I wish I didn’t know. But, whether good or bad, knowledge is power. In no particular order, here is part of what I’ve learned this year.

The last 12 months have taught me no matter how many times a politician is ridiculed for saying something idiotic, another politician will step up and say the same idiotic thing. Maybe this will be the year that politicians will learn that the adage, “any publicity is good publicity” really doesn’t apply to them.

I’ve learned that we have a problem in this country with guns and with mental health care, or rather the proliferation of the former and the lack of the latter. We also have a problem discussing these issues as citizens and we have struggled to get our politicians talking about them. I hope in the very near future we are able to come to some wise decisions about both.
2012 showed us that although the Tea Part is still around, their numbers are dwindling. People are starting to realize that they aren’t the answer to our political problems, but are instead a contributing factor to a lot that is wrong with our country.

Sadly, this year has shown me that bigotry is still prevalent in our society, whether it’s prejudice towards the color of someone’s skin or is based on who they love. By now everyone should realize that we are all equal and deserve the same rights.
In the “I should be embarrassed that I didn’t already know this” column, I learned that my microwave has a timer on it — the same microwave I’ve owned for 5 years. I also learned that when my car is in cruise control, the word “cruise” is lit up on the dashboard.

I’ve learned that no matter how much it seems like we are the polar opposite of someone, if we step back and look with an objective eye, we can find that we have more things in common than not. If we would all embrace those commonalities more than we do the differences, we’d be able to get along much better than we do now.

This year has taught me that although women have made such a great amount of progress towards our equality, there are, unfortunately, still too many people, men and women, that would rather we stay in the 1950s mindset.  On the bright side, I have also learned that there are more and more women every day who are willing to stand up for our rights.
In the past year of writing this column, I have learned that although I may get my share of “You’re an idiot for writing what you wrote” emails, the encouraging ones have always outnumbered them.

As you look back at this past year, I hope you can recognize all of the things you’ve learned this year. Here’s a toast to 2013 and all of the things that are yet to be known. Cheers!

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at

Categories: Commentary