Will this be the wake-up call we need? Is this the moment? As a collective group will we come together and change? No? Perhaps this time we will realize we are all human beings and deserve basic “rights?” No? Maybe next time? If not now, when?
If you are reading this blog then it is fair to assume a few things about you are true. You are: human, you speak English, you have at least some formal education. That is where the assumptions end. From where I sit (in an airport) writing this post these are the only traits I know about you the reader. Wait one more thing; I also know that you are taking time to read something I wrote so “Thank you!” I don’t know what color your skin is, if you are male, female, or transgender, and I have no way of knowing your religious beliefs or financial situation. I don’t know if you are gay, straight, attractive, homely, happy, sad, a parent, partner, fat, thin, or if you are a snappy dresser. So many things I do not know, but we are both human beings and that is enough.
In the interest of social experiment (and since you are still reading), I am going to tell you a few things about myself. I am a woman, a business owner, from the United States. I travel most of the year working with luxury brands and am a trusted global traveler. I’m middle-aged, average looking, straight, married, and have amazing children (though I may be biased). My social and political leanings are liberal, but I am also classified as a pragmatist with a talent for financial analytics. I am comfortable with public speaking and people usually comment that I am either funny or inspirational. I went to a private college, was raised as a Christian, usually vote as a Democrat, and live a comfortable New England lifestyle. I love to read, go to museums, have cocktails with friends, take long walks on the beach in Maine…
It is likely that while reading my description you identified with some traits and disagreed with others. That is fine, in fact it is in my estimation, normal. If a wide enough sample of readers find and read this post, it is likely that a percentage will have feelings of hatred for who I am, and that too is fine. They will hate me for writing at all as an educated female, or that I am average looking, or middle-aged. There will be people hating me for being liberal or Christian or you have decided while reading that I seem snobby, or spoiled, or wealthy. Lots to hate there (but someone to love as well). Faults and all, I am evolving into being. I also know that like you, much of my life and what I believe is a result of my experiences, the part of the world I was born into, and who raised me.
That’s just the point isn’t it? I’m not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee) but the human being part means you and I should respect each other at least enough to leave the other person alone. That would be nice, but that is not the new reality. Just ask the people of Nice- or Paris, or Orlando, or Istanbul, or Shanghai, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Moscow, New York, Budapest, Homs, Cairo, Mexico City, Palestine, Brussels, and on and on. So much easier to hate than to coexist, to shun and not to include.
This is what’s happening in the world today as the band plays on. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen yet the media machine tells us we should care if an actress is pregnant or fat, or having plastic surgery. We worry that our shoes aren’t the right style, and we binge watch Keeping up with the Kardashians as if it will somehow make their reality our own. It won’t.
A few decades ago, (before the internet) there was racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious extremism, and the more general term, hatred. The difference between then and now? Now groups of all sorts can get together with the click of a button and do that humanist action of agreeing and supporting each other. A beautiful, Utopian concept that mostly works well. Example: A celebrity can say that she likes a book, millions of people buy it, read it, and discuss it together. Lovely right? Way to get people reading again! But sometimes a person with hatred in their heart “goes viral” with catastrophic results. He (or she) will spew out vitriolic poison about a group of people who are different. Completely forgetting the human-bond they share, they focus these differences as reason to inspire hate. Historically leaders would influence their followers’ opinions. Now any 13-year-old with Wi-Fi can offer a manifesto of beliefs and with one ‘click’ thousands of people can read it in the ethos.
Well I am saying enough. Not because of some grand gesture or because I find myself extra brave all of a sudden. I am worried that this world is not moving in the direction of enlightenment but instead moving back into past barbarisms.
So here is my pledge: I will treat others with respect and dignity. I will do my best to help others less fortunate than I am. I will work within to elevate others and not to tear them down. Lastly, I choose causes that I believe in and work to make improvements. Who’s with me?