Breathing Room

4

January 17, 2023- Fifteen people graced the Founders Room, in Prescott Public Library’s main building, this evening, as Prescott Peace Builders presented a documentary on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film reviewed what each of us present have lived, with regard to Civil Rights era and Dr. King’s role in the attainment of Civil Rights for African- Americans. What those rights boil down to is space for a physically, economically and politically hobbled people to breathe, to live full lives.

No one has said that anyone is entitled to a perfect life; no one IS. There is, though, plenty of space for freedom from being the target of assumptions from those in power and those who enforce that power. I was raised to not cross the street, when approached by a person of colour, or a person dressed in tattered clothing, or any given individual who was not acting in an obviously menacing manner. I was taught that when anyone asked for directions, they were to be given clear directions, in the most polite language possible. Essentially, every human being who crossed my path was to be treated fairly.

Those teachings became part of my being- and made getting over the subliminal messages, from the wider community, a whole lot easier. I have made my share of mistakes and have had to root out many microaggressions, but the foundation I got from my parents has eased the recognition of the Oneness of Mankind. It also made incorporating the admonition about never ASS-uming anything, about another person or group, a whole lot easier.

The day as a whole was marvelous: Safe drive to Phoenix and back; excellent dental check-up; three great meals-breakfast at Wildflower Bakery, lunch at Local Jonny’s and a bowl of soup for dinner, at Mob Burger-each served by a congenial soul. Then, there was the above-mentioned gathering, the second of three such meetings, honouring Dr. King and his legacy.

There is much breathing room, for yours truly, so far this winter.

Staying Independent

5

July 4, 2019, Saugus-

I will continue (go back to) my photo blogs, in the next few posts.  Jumping ahead to the Fourth of July just seems best, though.

I had a conversation with someone very close to me, during the family gathering at a niece’s home, this afternoon.  One thing rings very loud and clear, from this discourse and from other conversations I’ve had, these past few months:  Many people are feeling put upon by aggressive individuals and groups, who take a point of view opposite that which they happen to hold.  Many individuals and groups ARE resorting to the use of force, when confronted with those taking such opposite viewpoints.

I was raised to hear other people out.  My parents, social conservatives, made a great effort to understand even the most seemingly ludicrous viewpoints.  I have maintained an open mind, as a result, throughout fifty-six years of adolescence and adulthood.  Civil Rights have long been a matter of supreme importance in my life, and that cuts both ways.  The Right cannot bully people of colour, of Faiths other than that of the majority in a community, or those living a lifestyle different from that which is conventional. The Left, likewise, cannot deprive people of more traditional bearing, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Violent behaviour, on either side, is the stuff of fascism (even when the bully calls self “Antifa”)

I am, as it happens, an obstinate soul, when people without authority try to force me to do their bidding.  Additionally, I question those who DO exercise authority, as to the ethical basis for their actions.  That is what I get from both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.    That is what I get from my Faith.

So, to my family-my elders, siblings and cousins:  You all matter, greatly.  Your point of view has at least some validity and is worth hearing, and pondering.  Our family is large, so there are all points covered, on the political spectrum. I will not plug my ears to any of it, so long as you do not ascribe to a coda of violence or or a policy of defamation against your opposite numbers.

To my children, nieces/nephews, and “grands”- You are, one and all, a great hope; you are people of immense promise and, especially if you are feeling vulnerable,  are worthy of all the support and love that we, your elders, can muster.  We cannot spare you from life’s ups and downs, but we can point towards the light. This is the very least we can do, in building and safeguarding your own sense of well-being and independence.

Most of the problems we face, when it comes to intolerance and reactive violence, seem to stem from the violent ones acting out of insecurity.  In truth, though, i have to ask, “How does a person expressing an alternative point of view, in and of itself, constitute a threat to my well-being?”  It may be annoying, but it is not a threat-unless accompanied by force-which then makes it an entirely different matter.

Staying independent means, to me, that one takes the time to carefully examine issues and evaluating a variety of points of view.  It also means extending that right to independence to every one else.  These are my thoughts as the Sun goes down on another July 4.