May 31, 2020

Enough...Actually Way Past Enough



The following was written by my youngest daughter and posted on Facebook. She has given me permission to use it here. It deserves a place on this blog as a heartfelt plea for change as America faces upheavals after the death of yet another unarmed black man at the hands (knee) of one or more policemen. The message is a spotlight on our national failure. 
"As I sit in my bed, tears streaming down my face, I have these thoughts:
Hate is fear and ignorance. Someone taught you to hate, you weren't born with it. Think about that person. Think about who taught them, and the others before them. Think about how that fear and ignorance shaped their lives and how it spread. Hate is easy, it's weak and it's lazy. It's just a repetition of those before you.
Now think about someone who taught you to love. Think about the way their example of compassion, curiosity, and kindness made you experience joy and fulfillment. Love can be hard. It takes courage and commitment to learn about that person and accept them into your life.
You have a choice. You can break the cycle of hate that has been passed down for generations, or you can continue to spread it.You can honor the person who taught you love, or you can throw away that gift.
If you are a parent, you have that power to choose for your children now. They will see you, hear you, and emulate you. You have to mean it.
If you are a teacher, highlight the people who may not be in the standard curriculum - Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Ada Lovelace, Ann Hutchinson, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, Elizabeth Blackwell, Kate Sheppard, Vigd√≠s Finnbogad√≥ttir. Don't know who any of these ladies are? Exactly, that's the problem.
If you are in entertainment, write and cast fully-realized characters from all genders, orientations, races, ethnicities,  and religious affiliations. And don't stereotype them and perpetuate the fear.
Elect leaders who reflect your values of kindness and respect.
Don't elect sociopathic, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, lying bullies.
Travel. Talk to people who aren't like you. ( not right now of course, but when you can ) Some with a different race, gender, orientation, hobby, ethnicity, religion, pet. Anything. Just talk to people and educate yourself. It becomes so much harder to hate."

The key person in the cause of this death  has been arrested and charged; others may follow. Justice has started its slow process of accountability.

The fires and rioting are not to be condoned and have no place in our society. They are counterproductive to the long term goals they are meant to highlight. The vast majority of police officers are honest, dedicated, hard-working people who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve all of us. They are essential to the lives we live. The men involved in the death of Mr. Floyd do not represent this profession. They are aberrations.

That said, as a privileged white male I can't possibly feel the fear and separateness that this segment of our population experiences on a daily basis. But, I can try to understand the rage and helpless feelings that has driven this behavior. 

Thank you to my daughter for saying something that needs to be said and repeated over and over and over until the message is heard.

19 comments:

  1. I like your daughters travel advice: to talk to people who aren't like you. I guess you have to travel outside your comfort zone since most readers of your blog are mostly the same. There is no blendation here.
    As to elections, we usually get to vote between two candidates at the end. The choice, someone like yourself or "sociopathic, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, lying bullies".

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    1. Traveling like a local, not a tourist, is important. It does little for self-growth if you don't spend your time eating where locals eat, sightseeing with fresh eyes, and talking with others whenever possible. Staying in a travel cocoon will teach us nothing.

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  2. What a wonderful and insightful post. Yes, someone teaches you how to hate by their fear and ignorance. But someone also teaches us how to love our neighbors, ALL our neighbors and I can see that in your daughter's writing. Congratulation on raising such a wonderful person. As the saying goes she certainly didn't fall far from the tree.

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    1. Thank you for the double compliment, RJ. We are taught how to react to others. She makes that point very well.

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  3. Bob, your daughter's plea is well-written and powerful. The fact that it was published on social media and reprinted here tells me that she is a person with the courage to stand by her convictions. You and Betty have earned the right to be proud of the woman your child has become.

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    1. We are proud of her strength of conviction, even when it may differ from ours on some subjects. She has powerful emotions that drive her forward; more power to her.

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  4. You did a good job, Bob, raising a compassionate, caring and well-rounded human being. Thanks for sharing her essay. We need all the voices of reason we can get to speak up at times like we're in right now.

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    1. Thanks. She and her sister have become remarkable adults. We couldn't be happier or more supportive of the paths each has chosen. This essay was so strongly felt. I may ask her to be a semi-regular contributor to this blog. Her perspective and words are important ones to be heard.

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  5. Well-said from your daughter! Just on a counterpoint positive note -- We are a presumably privileged white couple that lives next door to a biracial couple (white and Korean) on one side, and another biracial couple (white and African American) on the other side. We all get along just fine ... even with the Trump supporter who lives across the street and mows the grass for the 92-year-old widow who lives next door to him. So it IS possible to all live together amiably in the U.S., and despite the current turmoil, despite the legitimate grievances of many people, I think harmony happens more often than we think.

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    1. Examples of harmony are important to share and remember. I believe they represent the majority of us.

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  6. Your daughter is very smart and gracious. Our sons were raised in the same way you raised your girls. I'm proud of all of them. In this ridiculously insane time it makes me proud to know we have raised caring, intelligent children. Let's hope intelligence wins in November!

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    1. The one joy of parenthood that cannot be realized until after the initial job of raising a child is done is the end product: a son or daughter, nephew or niece, or even grandchild who have become a caring, considerate, productive, loving part of the human race. They are our hope.

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  7. Great advice from your daughter. I too see hope in the next generation. And as Tom said, there is a lot of hope in the actual day to day life of many of us. I am very discouraged at this moment, but the next generation gives me hope.

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    1. Whether real or a pen name, your name says it all: hope springs eternal.

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  8. You must be very proud of your daughter. I agree that the rioting and looting are disturbing, but we must remember that one man's peaceful protest of taking a knee before a football game was loudly condemned in some quarters and actually lost him his job. Although I have my doubts that all of the destruction was done by those who support the BLM movement, maybe some people have given up the idea that peaceful protests will get them anywhere.

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    1. There are many examples in history of peaceful protests evolving into more violent situations: The American Revolution, The Civil War, Civil Rights Marches, Vietnam War protests....maybe lasting change needs a physical expression of deep felt hurt and anger after society ignores the underlying issues for too long.

      Since those in power will do anything to hold that power it seems that marches and signs are just not enough to get them to loosen their grip.

      Looting, however, is absolutely a wrong, regardless. That activity cheapens and distorts the real issue, and gives those opposed an easy target to condemn the entire movement.

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    2. Agreed. I just wonder who is really instigating it and carrying it out.

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  9. What a powerful post. As you already mentioned, this is reminiscent of times of protest that you and many of your readers lived through in the 60s and 70s. And protests we have seen in other countries since then. I would add that your daughter's admonition to parents was clearly taken to heart by you and Betty since you raised such a compassionate, eloquent, fully realized daughter.

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    1. Yes, I am reminded of the 1968 Democratic convention fiasco in 1968 in Chicago, the marches on Washington against the Vietnam War (I took part in one of those), the Civil Rights Marches.....peaceful protests have been a vital part of our country going back to the Boston Tea Party.

      I have passed your comment along to my daughter. She thinks the world of you so your words will have even more meaning.

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