It is not someone else’s fault that some of us are not making the living that we thought we would make. We cannot (and should not) be blaming anyone for our own short comings. We have learned this lesson economically, in the family dynamic, academically and in society in general.
Some of us have learned the art of blaming someone else for our mistakes and missteps. And yet, we all know that when we find someone else at fault for what we think should be rightfully ours, our response can range from minor annoyance to visceral anger.
Right or wrong, this is what we’ve become. We are a nation living our worst with the potential to be so much better than what we are or even what we aspire to be. There are too many of us that think we’re better than those that appear different than us or are a culture/race that we simply don’t understand.
We are ready to give a side eye to people that worship different than we do. We want to lay harm to people that love different than we do. We don’t want history to be taught in schools for fear that it will negatively impact white students. We want to dictate what sex a person really is rather than allowing them to become who they really are. Some believe in theories that may make sense on paper but when said aloud sound outlandish at best and downright crazy at the worst.
In short, we have become a nation of intolerance. We have become obsessed with money, sex and power while ignoring the plight of the homeless and the poor. And you would think that I would be referring to the Far Right or Evangelicals.
I am not.
This covers all of us…rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight, male and female, young and old. We may not be extreme in our personal beliefs, but we have all fallen short of being our brother’s keeper. And we are better than all of this.
Many of us believe in embracing our differences rather than alienating other people that we don’t understand for one reason or another. We truly believe in racial and societal equality. We believe in a woman’s right to choose as well as tolerating various ways to pray. We believe and understand that someone may be struggling with how they identify and want to present themselves.
I don’t have to understand everything to know that I don’t have the right to impose what I believe on anyone else. Because at the end of the day, I can only share what my beliefs are and that’s only if my opinion is asked for and welcomed.
We have forgotten the basic unwritten rules of tolerance that makes our democratic society great. We assume the best of someone different than us and not the worst. We reject living in a nation of fear and instead embrace what scares the hell out of us.
We realize that the world will not stop turning if our lives are impacted by a major change of any kind. We are a resilient people with goodness at our core. It’s just that sometimes, we forget how good we are or even how good we want to be.
We forget that we have learned how to love. We have learned how to give. We feel empathy just like we feel fear. We cannot allow a smaller group that may be louder than us to tell or even dictate how we should believe, live, and love.
We are so much better than this.
We should be able to instill morals in our children and not be afraid to lead by example. We should be able to talk to our children about the truth of our country…that our history is full of incidents where we were not at our best and have done wrong to other groups of people based on nothing more than race.
We should always speak the truth since the truth is easy to uncover and be revealed as factual if we do our own research.
We have been taught to face our fears rather than to run from them because this would be an example of us being our best.
We know how to be better; the question is do we really want to be better?
I think we do.
~ J.L. Whitehead
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