|Statue of Liberty|
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I spend a lot of time on my computer, and subsequently, on social media. It's a by-product of hoping to get some writing done and even do a little marketing. While it's true that I could spend less time on Facebook or reading Twitter posts, it's a hell of a good way to gauge what is going on in the world and how people are feeling about it. It's also a great way to depress and discourage the hell out of yourself. Everyday I log on with a knot in my stomach. I know it sounds silly. If it's so bad, why bother? Well, for the aforementioned reasons, of course. Also, I really do care about my friends and like to keep up with what they're doing. It is what it is. Sometimes though, I would be far better off not knowing what people think. Everyday it's the same: Hatred, Islamophobia, violence, anger, black and white, more violence, paranoia, blame...and my mind and my heart are like...no. Us vs. them, money money money. Money is such and all-powerful and pervasive motivator in this country it never occurs to anyone to think about how messed up that is...NO. War, death, fear, more violence, guns guns guns, people starving to death, people being hated for who they are, death, terror, more blame. War on women, people dying because of their color, gender identity, economic status, legal murder. Why have laws because they just get broken.........NO!!!
I see people I love and respect who have lost their common sense and compassion. That's the part that's the toughest to take. And they go to great lengths to tell me I'm wrong because I still have mine. To tell me I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't think or feel like they do. It's not about right and wrong. It's about the choices we make for ourselves, and we each have a right to that. I spend a lot of time on my computer. I spend a lot of time taking it all in, and digging around for the truth. Enough time to understand that anger is a consequence of fear, and anger is weakness. It's why a cornered animal is the most dangerous. Violence is an extension of that anger. I reject all those things that play on my fears to manipulate me to feel anger. That's a choice.
I choose not to let the worst behavior of the worst people dictate who I am. It's a choice I make every day. I choose to believe the best in people. I chose not to penalize any group of people for what the worst of their numbers has done, either in my mind or my heart, and hope to receive the same understanding. If I can help somebody, I do it. I don't attach strings or conditions, I don't have expectations. People who need help the most need it because they can't help themselves. If I can't help, I say so, but I don't blame. I will not be robbed of my compassion; not by fear, greed, or pressure. It's a choice. I'm not naive, I'm well-informed. I choose love over hatred. I choose humanity over us vs. them. We need less divisive language, less that separates us. It's not blind idealism, it's reality.
We need to prioritize each other, to extend our hands to those reaching out to us in need. You can call me foolish, you can call me a bleeding heart, you can call me whatever you like. As long as you understand that your opinion of me is an opinion and not a fact. I wish more people knew the difference. I wish more people let their inner compass dictate their behavior, and not the opinions of others. I still believe in us. I still believe in humanity; I believe that enough people still care and can look past their fear and anger and hang on to their love and compassion. I have to believe that.