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America the Great

A very smart person once said to me marriage/relationships take one of three roads. Either two people grow together through many obstacles, and stay the course, split up or move apart while not leaving the relationship and grow back together or hit a bump in the road splitting for good. If you are lucky, and rare, to be the couple that sticks to the tough, thorny road of long time commitment (which is all marriage really is) that is wonderful. And not likely. I have not met one couple, including my grandparents whom were married for nearly 60 years when my grandfather, aka Bucky, died, that do not have rough patches. Not everyone has to separate but life is treacherous. I believe a successful commitment weathers the storms, no matter how rough, and rejoins to fight the good battle. Yes, I mean battle, because relationships are hell. And heaven… but it’s through our hard times that we evolve and grow. It is not a measurement of our success that we merely stay together, but that we stay together as partners. Why am I bringing this up? It’s funny you ask. The reason I bring this up because another super smarty pants person I know (I won’t mention any names, but I will just drop an initial or two, ahem EJ) said to me, while talking about many hot topics in the news as of late, that when someone says “Live and let live” what we are really saying is, let’s be stagnant. And that is so true.

The definition of stagnant is showing no activity, dull and sluggish. That is what we are when we “live and let live.” That might be confusing to some, because it sounds like saying I won’t judge you, don’t you judge me. But what it really means is don’t ask, don’t tell. Clearly, I don’t mean in a militarian sense. I mean in an every single way-sense. I don’t want to live and let live, when I live in a country that has to pass laws ALLOWING people, US Citizens, tax paying, law abiding, productive members of society, rights. This is confusing to me. It is confusing to me that I should be proud to live in a land that has to make a law so Black members of society are seen as equal or that one citizen may marry another, which is even more ridiculous because the basis by which we have kept them from marrying was religious in nature, and I happen to remember a separation of state and church thing that occurred just a few years back. Oh, and if all that isn’t just peachy, my stomping grounds also was kind enough to pass a law that allowed me to vote, so I would have a say in where the money I paid for taxes was used (HA right!), from the job I have to support my family, and pay my bills, which by the by, I did not have to have a law passed to make me pay. Please do not misunderstand my true feelings; I do believe I live in the best place in the World. America is America the Great. We just aren’t as fully advanced as we would like to be.

Before Caitlyn Jenner, there were transgender individuals. They were ignored, terrorized, hated, made fun of as well as loved, work, and lived amongst us. We turned our blind eye, and live and let live, which meant the average person did not take the time to understand or know what it meant to suffer from gender dysphoria. I have the privilege of having someone in my inner circle that is transgender. I say privilege because it is an honor to be trusted with the gift of witnessing someone transition from something they weren’t to what they were supposed to be. I was opened minded prior to meeting this person, but I became educated as a result of knowing them. Just like this person had a different perception of drug addicts, until this person realized JoDee was an addict. And then this person saw addiction much differently. That’s the way life is. It’s scary to think, in this world, in a society so smart I have a tiny computer with a touch screen I can put in my pocket, and use to make calls; we can’t grasp human rights without tragedy. We didn’t need all phone communication to cease for someone to invent the cell phone. We certainly didn’t need popcorn all over the world to be in danger to develop a microwave but when it comes to the human race, we don’t validate the injustices happening to our fellow citizens, until something horrifying happens to shed light on it. And, human to human we have a perception that it doesn’t matter or it’s not important, unless it happens to you personally. America is founded on the notion of free will. We all should be concerned about how the world at large treats anyone. Everyone. I’m guilty of it. I have been judg-y about how a person looked. If I saw someone looking like JoDee did, or noticeably high out on the street, I definitely would have thought loser, scumbag, thief, prostitute or some other horrible insult. That’s not ok. I should not have to endure the hell of watching my child struggle with a heroin addiction to find common compassion.

The confederate flag controversy is another great example. I don’t live in the south, and I have never been prejudiced against because of the color of my skin (that I am aware of) so I don’t feel that my opinion about whether the flag should stay or go has any bearing but I can understand what the fight is about. As American’s we have been “picking sides” since the second we were born. Someone has to be wrong for someone else to be right, which is so far from the truth. I don’t see The Dukes of Hazards and think of racism and slavery. I think of my grandfather who mildly resembles Ennis. And when I think of the confederate flag I think of a time in history that American’s fought for the rights of others. However, I wouldn’t want it waving in my backyard. Now, before all you haters attack like Cujo after the bunnie bite, keep something in mind. I am not saying I think it should banned from everywhere, just from common grounds. From land that is supposed to mirror the founding fathers (more men) fight for equality. I believe it should be in a museum, it’s a huge part of our history, and I want my kids to learn about it, and understand what happened in the past so it won’t repeat itself. I also think that if someone has some other fundamental or sentimental attachment to such an item s/he should be allowed to own and display it on their own property, because this is America. And as American’s we are encouraged to be free thinkers and agree to disagree when necessary.

People will continue to evolve. Someday, hopefully when I am still alive, there will be no racism. Color may truly not matter, people stop saying “the gays” deserve rights, and realize people have and will exercise their rights and freedoms without being labeled something that is supposed to sound supportive but really sounds ignorant. And people will realize transgender is not about sex, or sexual organs, but about whom a person is- because a person’s character is the most important thing. Addiction will find its place as a medical condition and we will stop trying to use social programs to cure a medical disease. In the meantime, we all have a duty as American’s to better our country, to not pit each other against one another, and realize that when we live in a society that stands around phone-videoing transgender women being assaulted on a subway, and old women being shoved to the ground, a mother being beaten and kicked in front of her child, without stopping it or helping but making sure to post it on Facebook to watch the Likes flood in, we are disgracing each other. In a vile, irreversible way. Just like in any other relationship, we all don’t have to always get along but what the hell happened to common decency?

 

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