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.

Unblocked

14

April 8, 2018, Prescott-

I dreamed, last night, that two of my students were on a planet where people looked like us, but were not able to communicate verbally.  The boys watched people talking to them, and to one another, but noticed that there was no sound coming.   Photos were taken and sound waves were visible on the pictures,  looking almost like bubbles.

I wonder if this is how the students feel, sometimes, given their own speech difficulties.  We are usually able to determine what a student wants, based on body language, requests made in basic language or, in one case, apraxic compensation.

There is another takeaway from this dream.  People have been talking past one another, for nearly twenty years.  It’s almost as if they are afraid of “catching” a disease, just from hearing a contrary opinion, similar to the way some white folks would wash their hands after contact with a person of colour, or some Native Americans would shake their hands in the air, after a handshake with a white man.

Society is constipated, to put it indelicately.  How else can we be in a situation, where anyone can see racism as the reason behind  “Black Lives Matter” or fascism as the reason for expanded background checks for gun owners, or for denying a firearms purchase by someone who is known to be mentally ill?  How else can a woman be seen as the perpetrator of her own rape, or sexual abuse that stops short of rape?  How else can teenagers, on both sides of a debate, be viewed as mere pawns of the same adults who have punted the school safety can down the road, since 1990?

My students, in real life, are loved and well-understood, even with speech impediments or non-verbality.   Those around us, regardless of viewpoint, have the right to speak and be heard- as well as hopefully being understood.

Let’s start thinking outside the bubble.