An Open Letter to the Nation

Subject: An Open Letter to the Nation
Date: 26 Jan 2017

I take time from my busy day to write this in reaction to all that is happening and that has happened lately in this nation. The cruel hostility that is sweeping the world and what I feel is the answer. Do I pretend to be a scholar? No. I’m a person who lives in this world, works hard every day, enjoys the things I’m inclined to when I have the time and hopes for a brighter future. A brighter future, not just for me, but for all those who walk this earth with me. I am a Christian and I believe we were all put here for a reason. We are all equal in the sight of God and we should be in the sight of human kind also. However, human kind is weak and quick to accuse, humiliate and distrust. It is a part of who we are and until we chose to break past this fault in our being we can never really rise to a higher understanding. An understanding that encompasses all lives and all cultures.

What about what Madonna said?....
“Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” ~Madonna (Women’s March 2017)

I think the reality of statements like these made by people, that are inherently held to a higher standard, is that there are people out there that will look at the way she acted and more importantly what she said and to them she's "acting" on her beliefs, not just speaking her mind, and that makes it okay for them to "act" on theirs. By act I don’t mean just taking a stand, I mean taking a progressive and aggressive action. There are people who look to entertainers as their idols and mentors, sometimes to the extent of comparing them to gods. This will seem odd and irrational to most, but unfortunately there are many people out there who feel this way and will take something like this as a cue to “act” out their frustrations. To them that may be actually attempting harm on our new President or the White House. Speaking out about how you feel, your disgust, your "outrage" is ok and every Americans right, but keep control of your emotions and articulate your point. This way you’re not disrespecting others who don't share your point of view, their right, and you’re not encouraging the wrong type of behavior from others. You never know how your words will effect someone until it’s too late, especially if it has the wrong effect on someone.

When it comes to the women’s march in general, I understand that people want to raise their voices up to be heard. They want to know someone hears them and their opinion is having an effect on someone. The problem is these events always seem one sided. Should anyone else with a dissimilar point of view show up and attempt to stand up for what they believe. They are not only NOT given the chance to explain themselves or to speak out but they are often ridiculed, bullied and even physically assaulted.
There is a lot of talk about unity and a need to bring this country together, but there is little acknowledgement that the only way to truly accomplish this is to accept that we disagree. But that is merely the first step. We must agree to disagree, but we must do it with respect for one another. You see the problem with humanity is that whenever there is a difference of opinion, especially one which evokes strong emotions on both sides of the aisle, this causes either opinion holding party to immediately view the opposite party as an “enemy”.

In definition, given by Meriam-Webster, an enemy is “one that is antagonistic to another; especially: one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent.”

These feelings towards someone who opposes us are strong and can overshadow the good nature we hold inside, creating ugly behaviors, misplaced rage and poorly developed arguments.
We must stop looking at each other as the enemy. Before there can be unity the easily hurt feelings and misunderstandings, mainly due to a lack of desire to listen, must stop. We have to learn to not only hear each other out, but to accept that we each, no matter the side you’re on, have a right to our feelings, our lives, our beliefs and our faith or lack thereof. These are not only God given rights, to those of us who believe in a higher power, but they are inalienable. We each have a place in this world, we have hopes, dreams and a willingness to survive. We want our children to grow up in a better world, we want them to be educated and to strive for their dreams, to be who they were meant to be. If you stop and you listen, not just to yourselves or those who agree with you, if you open your eyes, heart and mind you’ll see we have more in common than you may want to admit.
The bitterness and the cruelty goes both ways. The name calling, which is NEVER okay regardless of the term used, goes both ways. The bigotry and hate go both ways. No one from either side is innocent here. If we keep pretending that we are, the divide will only grow. This country, that one side says is “already great” and the other says “needs to get better”, is going to continue to divide until, not unlike the times of the civil war, the divide is irreparable.

This country voted and, as with the majority of the elections in the past, we have a new President. If you don’t like him, don’t. You have that right, but others have a right to be proud of the choice they’ve made too. No one wants to hear they’re wrong and no one wants to hear they need to learn to get along. Yet this is what we teach our children. That they need to accept people as they are, they need to get along with them and be kind to them even if they don’t agree. That disagreements are okay and they should not hinder your ability to converse with someone. I have found that you can meet some amazing people and learn some amazing things if you open your eyes wide enough to see past the things you disagree with, to see the person as they are, their battle scars and their quirks, the little things that make them just as human as you. That make them your equal, another human being placed here on this earth with a purpose, with a dream and with all the hopes and desires of the future that lay before them. No one has the right to take this away, especially not for their own personal desires or gains.

Among his many insightful and enlightening quotes these three are my favorites of Ghandi’s and that I feel match up closely with what we’re seeing throughout the world in these troubling times.

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Everyone wants to remake the world to suit them and this is causing much of the strife we see now. Just as I said earlier, everyone who disagrees is the “enemy”. But they should not be, no one is innocent and we must look to ourselves to lead by example for change and not force a change. Forced beliefs and ideas only lead to more anger and bitterness, and once again no side is innocent.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” –Mahatma Ghandi

We must learn to forgive the short comings of the past. Remember it and its many lessons, but leave behind the hate and anger that stems from the actions of those no longer here in this world with us. Their mistakes do not have to define our future unless we allow it to. We must as a people be strong enough to forgive each other and to move on as One Nation, without malice in our hearts.

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Ghandi

If we continue to claw and snarl at each other, we will slowly make the world blinder and less inhabitable. We will no longer be able to open our eyes and see the beauty in our differences and the beauty in the world around us. We will not see our neighbor as our equal but as our obstacle, an hurtle we must bypass to get what we want as individuals instead of as a whole.

This country has been through a lot and we live in a different time and place then those who came before. Even so animosity still lives, it’s a part of our humanity and it has thrived through all the ages, it is up to the individual to stop it in its tracks. To be that which you wish to see in the world. If you wish to see more vulgarity, violence, less respect, less understanding, and less acceptance, then I suppose this is what you should be in the world. I’m not going to get political here because what’s happening in this nation has gone beyond that. Property destruction, vulgarity, spitting, physically assaulting others, name calling and defamation are the absolute worst of the human ability to express themselves. It’s all negative and does little to forward any cause because it leaves no room for respect of the issues your representing or the argument you wish to present. Solidarity only leaves room for a single point of view, we must come together as a whole with respect, but to get respect you must first give. You must allow for difference of opinion, culture and beliefs.

As I said earlier I’m not taking any sides in this writing and if we are to come together as a nation there should be no need to. Stand for what you believe but afford the same respect you wish to receive to others who wish to do the same, regardless of whether their beliefs align with yours or not.