Inspired by: Freedom – Amos Lee
My heart has been heavy in the wake of all the recent violence in our country. I rarely post about world events. Opinions are so varied and vast and I don’t believe in arguing to force a point on someone though others are huge fans of such arguments. You have your beliefs, I have mine. If we differ, okay fine, don’t beat me to death over the disagreement. I couldn’t sit quietly on this. Recent events moved me too much. From Orlando to the two men killed for following a police officer’s orders to the Dallas shootings. Shooting seems too tame a word for these events but they will do for now.
I am by no means a scholar; just a person like anyone else with their own set of thoughts and feelings on the issues. To think that in all this time, our country and its people. all people, are no closer to freedom than they were in the sixties—a time well before mine—is saddening and discouraging. To think that we may not see equality that is not restricted by gender, race, religion, sexual orientation in my lifetime is further discouraging. In this sadness, my thoughts turned to our weekly prompt for the figment. Whether she intended it or not, our fearless leader struck a chord with the image she posted with me.
Take a look at the image above. What do you see? Tools, right? So this got me thinking because, I honestly never consider anyone’s race, orientation or gender when I meet someone. If anyone is willing to debate the point with me that you ‘always consider it’; you are welcome to do so and I will answer your challenge with a smile. When we were children; neither one of my parents ever really used racial or ethnic descriptions around us to discuss the people they knew, they worked with or anything of the sort. As I age, I think this is the most amazing gift my parents could ever have given me. None of us ever consider these things when speaking about another person. Perhaps that…uniqueness…I guess is what makes it so much harder for me to wrap my head around someone who does see these things; let alone acts on them.
That brings me back to the image above. Tools. I think I was given different tools than what most people have in their arsenal. With that being said, why would it be so hard to pass those tools down to our children? Do I think we can fix the current state of affairs? Maybe. I think no amount of legislation can change people’s hearts or minds. Maybe those words are bitter or cynical or perhaps more realistic. My mind comes back again and again to “what would it take to change the hearts of men, women, children? What would it take to give them the blindfold I was given, so to speak.” I do not have any answers, I wish to God I did. I can only be me and hope that is enough.
My hope was challenged today; this week. I watched every video posted about the two shootings. I watched a video of a Cleveland area officer more or less chewing out other officers and telling them to “take the uniform off if they aren’t willing to give their lives for their fellow man regardless of race or religion or orientation”. If you saw this video, I I wept right alongside that officer as she spoke. I listened to a friend of mine talk about how she has to teach her sons to “get home alive” if they feel an injustice is being perpetuated against them. It’s what I do, I listen. I gauge, I consider every side. It hurt my heart to read this. It heart my heart to hear this friend’s frustration but, at the same time her bravery floored me. In a time when things are so volatile and one has to tread so very carefully; she spoke her mind in a clear, succinct way that made me proud to know her. I can only hope to be that succinct and clear.
Lastly, while I still have the composure to complete this post. Keep something in mind. It’s not a them. It’s not a their. It’s an us—men, women, children, bi, gay, straight, trans, who cares? If you put a blindfold on and talked to someone without the benefit of sight, how would you know? Could you evaluate your opinion on that person without your sight? Would you know what their orientation or religion are at the word “hello”? All of us are sharing this world. How much could we change and impact that world with the right tools?