Yesterday was another day of political upheaval here in the United States. I am 48 years young but I’ve never seen (or was too young to really remember) anything like the baffling regression of the American spirit like I’ve witnessed over the past 18 months or so.
I will say this and leave it right here: I believe in equality for everyone. Everyone. Progress has been made the past decade to close many gaps for many different people groups and I refuse to let any group in this country try to drag us back to the dark ages of closed-minded thinking.
With that out in the ether I’ll add this: I’m ashamed of the president and what he’s stirred up in this country and continues to allow with no intelligent comment or rebuke. I have a great admiration for presidents past, and I hope to have a president I can admire and be proud of and respect again, but 45 is not that president. I have great respect for the office of the president, but I do not respect the current president. I can and will make that distinction for the duration of his term. If you voted for him, that is your right, but please don’t try to defend him or your choice. I am tired of that conversation. It’s done.
My heart hurts for the family that lost a sweet daughter yesterday. All she was doing was protesting a hate group. Peacefully. She believed in the diversity and love of all in America and she was marching to show this hate group that she still believed we could all get along, that there was room enough at her table for all. This hate group cannot stand that thought, and one man from that group took it upon himself to violently end her life and injure many others because people like her are trying to put other beliefs, thoughts and color into his whitewashed world.
I believe I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wondrously varied group of people every day. I work for an international company in the most diverse city in America. I work with people who were not born in this country who came here for freedom and chose the US and became citizens. Some are just here for a few years or months, others’ parents or grandparents came here and brought their rich cultures to the greatest melting pot in the world.
I navigate a number of cultures, religions, belief systems, biases and dissimilarities every single day. Harmony, even when there are notable differences, can be achieved if everyone allows their worldview to be wide enough to consider that not everyone was raised the same, believes the same, or wants the same outcomes for their lives.
I still don’t understand the notion of making America great again (MAGA), as if America wasn’t already great. It seems to me that the MAGA directive for the 45 supporter is to regress back to the idea that one way is the only way, which is anchored in ignorance and fear.
I wholeheartedly believe that America’s diversity is its strength. When hate groups march (which is their right as long as they are peaceful) and preach that they want to keep America the way it is or was (for them) they miss the point. America has always been diverse. America has always been a haven for all. These groups have just isolated themselves so much that they are afraid of what and whom they don’t know or understand. Rather than build a bridge, they want to vote everyone else off their very small-minded island.
I’ve lived in Houston 23 years now. I went from a small town in Indiana where most people looked, talked and thought like me to the most diverse and culture rich city in America. I am all the better for it. I understand so much more of the world because the world is here all around me and it is a wondrous assortment of people. If MAGA means isolation, hatred, racism, and a white’s only attitude, I want no part of it.
After the events yesterday in Charlottesville, I was a bit disheartened to say the least. America feels like it is sliding backward, and I feel like a small minority of hatred is going to suck me down with it. I can’t let that happen, but I don’t always know what I can do.
I become overwhelmed with the vastness of the pervasive hatred that some humans have against other humans simply because they are not disciples of the same ethos or they have a different color of skin. What can one person do to turn the tide?
I was reminded today to do something I already try to do – reach one person at a time. Learn as much as I can about our differences and use every opportunity to lift that person up. If that person needs an ally, I will stand with them. I will celebrate everything that makes them unique, because I also thrive when my uniqueness is noted and celebrated.
It really does boil down to treating others as you yourself want to be treated.
Nevertheless, I persist.