"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thoughts on The Week

     When you were growing up, what did you want to do when you were an adult? Did you end up doing that thing, or something that was close to that thing?
    I wanted to discover a way to visually record dreams. I was intrigued by dreams.  I didn't do that. I told a counselor once that I wanted to study marine biology. I asked him if he knew a good school for that and he said he didn't know of any and I should think of something else more practical to study. Of course, that was the same counselor who told me I shouldn't have stood up for a student who was being verbally abused by a teacher. My job was to sit down, listen and keep my opinions to myself.
      If you know me at all, you can imagine how I reacted to that advice. Yeah, that happened. The superintendent and I had a nice chat. He said he was proud of me for standing up for the other student. I despise bullies of all stripes.
      I grew up in the late 50s and 60s. A lot happened in the world during those years.  One of those things was that the Civil Rights Movement found themselves a magnificent Voice and all hell broke loose. It is unimaginably difficult and courageous to stand up to hatred and violence with love and patience and sacrifice.  I don't know if I would have that kind of strength.  I hope I would, but I don't seem to be wired that way. I'm pretty easily roused to 'in your face' when I'm defending something.
    You know who does have that kind of strength and patience these days? The people in the LGBT community. They don't want to change your life or the way you think. They want to be free to love the people they love. They want to have families and be happy. They want to be accepted instead of reviled.  They want to be treated fairly. They simply want to be who they really are. We all want that, don't we.
      I am bothered by the levels of intolerance and hate speech I am seeing and hearing from so many people today.  Everyone who came to this country came seeking a better place, a place where they could be themselves and do what they dreamed of doing, something different, and be happy and be safe from fear. A place where they could live and speak and worship (or not worship) as they pleased, without fear of violence against them by whomever was in power, or their neighbors. Some folks don't seem to be able to accept anyone who lives or speaks or worships differently than they do. That is childish and immature. There are many paths to God, whatever that is, however you name whatever that is.
     In all honesty, lots of us do accept people for who they are.  I like to think most of us do.  But the ones who don't sure do make a lot of racket and kick up the dust, yelling about this and that, calling people names, threatening harm, belittling. You'd think their pants were on fire. Don't they have something positive they could be doing? I want to say to them, "Look around at the gifts this country has given you. Look at how blessed we are to live here, right now, where you have the freedom to say those hateful things without being stood up against a wall somewhere and shot for saying them."
     America is still such a young country with much to learn and figure out.  This is not the world of a hundred years ago, or even sixty years ago. Technology has brought us to a new place.  We must let go of our prejudices and learn to live together in peace and tolerance. Everyone has unique gifts to bring to the table and we need them all of them in order to survive.

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