When I started this blog in January, I wasn’t sure how often I’d be able to post. Once a month was my goal until a few weeks ago when I had a ton of ideas, and decided I could do two posts a week.
There were only three things I decided I wouldn’t write about; sex, politics and religion. While they are important to me, and I have definite opinions on each, I know that they are volatile topics these days, and I don’t want to argue.
I’ve changed my mind for the moment. Not about the arguing, but about what I want to share.
I consider myself a cheerleader. I much prefer to build people up than to tear them down; I don’t call names even when I really disagree with a person. While I may point out that a person told a lie, even if I feel or observe that they lie more often than not, I will not call them a liar. I’m no model, but even if I were the most beautiful woman on the planet, I would not call another person ugly. If a person has a disability, this does not define them, so I don’t call people their disability, or describe them by it.
Lately, it seems that politics and religion are taking center stage in this country and around the world. There is a lot that I agree with, and much with which I disagree. So when I sit down to write about how music affects me, or about my son’s wedding, or other important things to me, personally (which is what this blog is supposed to be about), I get sidetracked by the events of the day. It seems that it is easier for many to call others names and dismiss them than to talk it out and settle our differences. This has bothered me since I was very young.
And so, rather than go into a rage on my blog because a person in authority lied (again), or because some religious group presents their perception of persecution by actually persecuting a different religion, I stay quiet until I can get back to Cheerleader mode. I do the same in real life. When I become emotionally overwhelmed, I tend to shut down. I don’t want to “burden” others with my perceived problems, because they have their own. And besides, it’s much more interesting to be the sounding board than the sounder.
It is much more fulfilling for me to listen while someone works through a particular issue than to be the one with the issue. When my friends share their personal business with me, I am honored that they trust me enough to share. When I need to talk, I feel like a complainer. Instead, I tend to let things build up until I absolutely *must* say something, and then I sound like a raving lunatic.
This blog was, in fact, my attempt at getting things out of my system as they happen, to keep them from building up like a pressure cooker. But I guess there’s a learning curve, because I still find myself staying away when current events get to me. 🙂
Every day, it seems, there’s a new slight on a new group of people in the news, while important things go unnoticed and unattended. People are dying as a result of fires, floods and hurricanes, but the big deal on my Facebook feed is a peaceful protest, and how that’s somehow “un-American”. I ask you, what is MORE American than a peaceful protest (Boston Tea Party, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr)? This country’s very foundation was built on protests! Some not so peaceful, in case one needs to be reminded (Does the Revolutionary or the Civil War ring a bell?). Even the Constitution, by its very design, is a protest. One’s Constitutional right, as an American, is to disagree if you choose…but it is also your right to protest. One is not more important than the other, and both have their place.
I am an American, and I am proud to be. I know every patriotic song, and sing them loud and proud! I am the daughter and the mother of badass Marines. I LOVE this country, all that it stands for, and every opportunity it has afforded me. One of those opportunities is the right to say that I don’t agree with everything.
As a woman with a disability (that’s two strikes, right?), I have experienced marginalization. What this country stands for and how its citizens reflect those values can be very different. So when a man kneels before the flag because he feels that this country is not fulfilling the promise that flag represents, I support him. In the same way that I fought bullies with words instead of fists, he kneels. He’s not disrespecting the flag or the military any more than I am disrespecting my attacker by not giving him the fight he wants.
If you don’t like protests, then help take away the reason for them. Let’s make sure that all are treated equally, as the Constitution states that we are and should be. Let’s make sure that we allow all to worship the way they see fit – or not at all – as the Constitution guarantees. If you don’t like to be reminded that there are marginalized groups in this country who are treated as “less” than others, then stand up like a proud American who represents the promise of that flag and STOP ALLOWING PEOPLE TO BE TREATED LIKE LESS.
Puerto Rico is a US territory. The US Virgin Islands are a US territory. Their residents are US citizens, afforded the same rights and protections under the Constitution as anyone in the 50 states. Yet they are the most recently marginalized. Forgotten. Slowly attended to. God bless the first and continuing responders. God bless those who truly do represent this great country and all of the things it stands for, by giving time, resources and financial aid. God bless the dreams of immigrants that come here looking for safety and freedom. May all of those dreams come true.
It boils down to this: In this great country, with all of its promise and resources, I don’t have to take from you in order to have for myself. Giving a human being the same rights I have does not mean that I no longer have those rights. Respect is not cake. It won’t run out. We don’t run out of decency by extending it to another; rather, we expand it. Like talent, it only wanes if we don’t share it!
Give a person love, you change his life. Teach a person to love, you change the world.
In a world that seems to become more hateful by the day, I choose to love.
Please be love,