Ten days ago was the celebration of America’s fight for independence from British rule. A lot of people did their darndest to make it about a whole bunch of other things, and were successful . . . a bit like the celebration of Christmas has become, politically speaking.
Luna and I were by ourselves, without plans, a place to go or people to go with. Honestly, I was pretty ok with that. I don’t like crowds and neither Luna or I do well with loud noise. The day before, I’d had an encounter with a fellow human, which seemed to be a God ordained appointment and a reason to expand my thinking and concerns to be about more than just me getting though and getting by. So, I’d set a meeting with his daughter for about 1 pm at a local park where I could let Luna run and play. I figured if something happened and the meeting fell through, at least Luna and I would be out of doors and away from the television.
Upon arriving, I was confronted with facts I had failed to consider: 4th of July + public park = people gathering and eating food and hanging out with family and friends. I’d been under some misguided assumption that everyone would be celebrating at their homes or various destinations where they could settle in and prepare for fireworks to be seen. Without really ever thinking about it, an expectation of relative solitude and isolation had been formed. So, I was caught a bit off-guard to see a large (to me at least) gathering of people in the main picnic area and salivating a bit at the smell of the meat grilling off to the side. There were smatterings of other groups throughout the park and a significant number of children and their parents utilizing the playground. It wasn’t crowded by any means and it was nice that Luna had other children to engage with. It was a good thing.
It turned out that I had made a good choice in planning the meeting to happen there, since the person I had arranged to meet was a no show. I had considered that would happen, so it was no big deal. I did what I tend to do and struck up conversation with various other parents. I may have difficulty forming lasting and significant relationships and struggle against myself to be around folks who have known me a while, but I’ve seldom ever met a person I couldn’t strike up conversation with and establish rapport and common ground with. I enjoy meeting and learning about new people and their lives. I just have difficulty dealing with people after they get to know me well and I them, go figure.
One couple was from the other side of the city and had come to this park because a family member would be performing at an event happening in another part of the park. They invited Luna and me, along with another family to come over to hear the vocal and creative talents of their loved one and their reason for us having met them in this place, at this time. Sure, why not?
It turned out that it was a kind of rally. An alternative event for those who have experienced social injustice throughout the generations due to things like racism, sexism, and the oppression of and by the powers that be . . . typically white men of money and means. American Independence and Liberation cannot be celebrated by those who are still experiencing the generational effects of injustices visited on their forebears by America’s forefathers, especially when it is clear and apparent that while progress has been made in significant and constructive ways, there are trends and patterns which indicate the oppression has become more subtle and subjective and much less obvious to the naked eye.
Initially, I was smirking inside of myself; internally shaking my head and thinking to myself, “Seriously? Whatever.” The speaker was powerful: Assured, Assertive, and Absolute in his certainty and mission. The rhetoric was questionable, but plausible and more than possible. I began to listen and hear. The message that came through to me, loud and clear was:
- If even one person in our community is experiencing social injustice, then we are all experiencing it.
- If we allow our personal distaste for style of presentation or disagreement on one or two points to be our excuse for not seeking solutions and engaging within our communities for growth and change, we are perpetuating the problems.
- We can agree to disagree on some of the details and still find ways to effectively work together for the good of all.
- Everyone has something, regardless of how big or small, to contribute and offer: time, talent, influence, encouragement it’s just a matter of willingness to believe what we have to offer can make a difference.
- We need to be open to the reality that regardless of politics, agendas, beliefs, and traditions, we may have come a long way as a country, but there is still farther to go in making the ideals of Life, Liberty, and Justice for ALL a possibility for future generations.
Hearing all of this, affirmed the initial reason why I wound up at this rally and I realized that even if the reason I thought I was there didn’t happen, there was still a reason for me being in that place, at that time. I have mixed feelings about what I heard that day, but I’m certain of one thing, even when my plans and purpose seem to go awry, there is a plan and a purpose beyond what I believe it to be.
Those are some pretty good talking points to come away with. And true. I wish more people would follow the old golden rule. We all learned it as kids, but most people seem to have forgotten it or don’t actually understand what it means.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. I’ve been guilty of forgetting it myself, but I’m trying to remember. Here’s hoping the rest of the world remembers, too.
Thanks Mary. I’m a firm believer in the art of mediation and recognizing the value in opposing views while realizing no singular or dual pov encompasses the whole picture.
The other adage I remember from childhood is, “if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” I don’t think that should mean keep your mouth shut if you disagree, but rather find a way to respectfully voice your opinion without denigrating the one whose opinion you disagree with. I think I’m an idealist at heart.
Thanks for commenting.
Whew, quite a post. I had to take a deep breath reading it, to be honest. Some of the stuff in there — *sigh* — I agree with you about some folks making the Fourth to be something it isn’t, and well there’s the rub. I’m a DAR member, you see. And a Mayflower descendant, and a whole host of other things: my husband calls my family tree a “who’s who of early American history”, and he isn’t wrong about that.
So yeah, I know this country was basically created by a bunch of white guys. I’m not negating that at all. But I also know what they were fighting for: freedom as they understood it to be, not as we of the 21st century do. A TON is different now, and thankfully the Founding Fathers were intelligent enough to allow for a flexible Constitution. Because of them, America was able to come as far as it did with regards to sexism, racism, etc. “Long way to go?” yeah, likely. I’m disabled and I know how short a time ago really the ADA went into law. It’s within the past twenty years — twenty out of 300. They didn’t really think of things like that back then either.
I liked the way your post was written, yes. I count myself among others in being willing to read stuff that’s uncomfortable or that makes me angry for one reason or other, because I want to see other sides of an issue. But yeah, I also have a problem with folks forgetting the actual reason Independance Day exists.
Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate how you expressed yourself. To have the kind of connections to know the roots and branches of your family tree, must be a comforting and inspiring thing.
I personally believe that the 4th of July celebrations should be more about creating opportunities to teach our children and remind ourselves why there was a fight to separate from British rule and what the economic & political realities were at the time. Maybe even use it as a starting point to discuss current event here and throughout the world.
I understand why these alternative rallies and viewpoints exist. I would even venture to guess that while some of the forefathers saw nothing wrong with owning servants and women as chattel, that there were some who were questioning and uncomfortable, but chose the thing that would become the foundation for all persons to believe there was hope for freedom for them or their descendants. Had the war for independence not been won, there would have been no Civil War, because those fighting against slavery would have still been subject to The Crown.
It is important to understand that there are steps and stages in learning and growing into independence and freedom. It’s human development.
Yep, you’re correct. Unfortunately, history gets taught here a lot of the times in black and white terms (not referring to skin color). Only because of my heritage do I know, for instance, that there actually was a judge who went and made sure the families of people who’d been hurt in the Salem Witch Trials got recompensated in some way. I also am descended from perhaps the first woman in the Colonies to hold land all on her own, without needing a husband or a brother’s assistance (it just wasn’t done most of the time in the early days). I do agree with you, human development. I also agree that the Fourth should be used as a time to educate!
It will be a wonderful day when one such as yourself and one such as the speaker I heard could sit at a table with one another ~ learning, sharing, and working together to offer a bigger, more complete look at the history of our country and setting a foundation for the future our forefathers may have envisioned.
yes it will be:) I’m looking forward to that day.
I’ve nominated you for some awards. Please see the post here http://ldsconvertblog.com/2012/07/14/awards/. Take what you like, you deserve it.
This is a a great post and your sharing of the rally sounds like it had a great message.
Excellent post, Kina—and I am a regular at similar types of rallies.
I think we should all step outside of the box and do things a little different every once in a while, and listen to others that we might not necessarily agree with on every little point. If you stick to your own opinions all the time, you learn nothing.
2nd attempt (Alessa) I had commented that unfortunately regardless of country or origin that injustices have always been and will always be. It is sad but I think the survival instinct that is programmed in leads to that. Of course some of us treat others more fairly than others and I am hoping you get your share of fairness…. 🙂
There have always been and will always be injustices regardless of country, origin, etc. It is a sad but true reflection of human design: survival. Some of us just try to be fairer than others. Hope you get your share of fairness 🙂
Hi! I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Blog Award. You can find your nomination here: http://palomasharma.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/the-sunshine-blog-award/. Oh, and by the way, belated happy Independence Day. 🙂
Thank you very much. I greatly appreciate it. It will be a few days before I can do a post for it, but it will be done. By the way, do we answer the same questions you did or do you make up different ones? Oh, congratulations on your second award!
You deserve it and yes, you have to answer the same question. The rest of the procedure is the same. Thank you. 🙂
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