I attended the Stop the Hate Vigil on Thursday night at First Baptist Church. One of the best things was that we sang “Let There be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me.” It inspired me to get back into the swing of life, and got me to thinking about many issues. Today is Friday and I’m writing my column after missing the September one. I got depressed, stopped functioning except for going to work and just didn’t get much extra done including the column. I think I got down because of the hot weather, and I didn’t do enough positive things for myself to get out of my hole. I know better than to let myself get depressed, but it just happens sometime.
Enough! On to life. I have been thinking quite a bit about what is happening in our country and three things stick out in my mind that make me angry, but I know that does not help, so I am trying to put a positive spin on everything and let go of the negative and the people who seem to be doing so many thoughtless things and taking less than positive action.
The first is the absolute negative thoughts and action against Muslims. Our country was founded on religious freedom, and who do these zealots think they are to determine who, what and where religions can build community centers and mosques. I will never be able to understand why and how they think the way they do, but maybe one of the answers is what I heard when former President Jimmy Carter was on Nightly News with Brian Williams. He said very quietly, in his mild mannered way, he thought Fox News was partly responsible for the lies and half truths that too many Americans have picked up on. I always wonder who and why so many watch that rabble rousing station. Every time I go into a waiting room that insidious station is on. I usually just get over in a corner and read, but I am going to ask that it be turned off from now on. I am usually waiting for an appointment for which I am paying my money for, and I am going to refuse to listen or watch Glen Beck and other hateful word mongers.
I know and hear all about freedom of speech, but I remember learning in school that free speech was a freedom for all, but not when it harms others, and it has gone too far when those who twist and lie are bringing about serious damage to our nation. When it is obvious that many of these “radical free speechers” try to twist and convert their “Freedoms” and limit those very freedoms. I know we can just refuse to listen or turn off the channel, but I am concerned about those who are truly just not thinking, and allow these rabble rousers to put thoughts into their heads. There are moderate views in the market place and if we read carefully and think about what is really right and truthful, we can decide for ourselves without these right wingers putting erroneous thoughts and beliefs into our heads.
On to my second concern. The Tea Party and those who say they want a return to the Constitution of early times. Do they really want to do away with amendments that allow women to vote and provide equal rights to all citizens? Our founding “Fathers” wrote the words of our constitution in a different time and place and it has to change to reflect new freedoms and new knowledge. I wonder how many women who support this movement have thought about it taking away their right to vote. “Please people think about what a return to earlier times would mean for all of us.”
My third concern is the hurtful words that are written in so many letters to the editor and other places. We all have the right to write and say what we think and feel, but what good comes from calling others names or mocking a religion or beliefs. A basic respect for all religions and those who are not religious is what we should practice. What good does name calling or derision of others get us? It should make us feel bad if we have a conscience. I know that the Constitution guarantees my right to believe as I choose, and I believe that being an American makes me responsible for respecting all others. I don’t have to agree with them, but calling them wrong is not my place or responsibility. I hope everyone can learn to be proactive about that responsibility. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could learn to love each other and practice the ‘Golden Rule?’ No I don’t have to eat your kind of food, wear your type of clothing or pray the way you do, but I can honor your right to do so. I hope everyone begins to think about the harm they do to others by their criticisms and belief that their way is the “only way.”
On to my life. I have read a great deal in the past two months, but fiction and non fiction, light and heavy reading and enjoyable and not so enjoyable. I’ll just mention four titles. Two are by Stieg Larsson in his recent trilogy. These are really books you can’t put down. They are fast-moving suspenseful and well written. The first is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the second is The Girl Who Played with Fire. The third is out, but I haven’t read it yet. It is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” I saw the first two movies at Independent Theater and they were will done, with good acting and very enjoyable. The author who was Swedish died of a heart attack at age fifty which is a tragedy. I also read “Corduroy Mansions,” which is Alexander McCall Smith’s latest and not any of his series, but a new one which takes place in London and is a light-hearted look at a group of people living in a building in London with four flats. It’s a fast read and fun.
Remember to get the whole picture before you decide what to believe!