Recently a family member threw a term (not a term of endearment) on me which was common and expected back in the protest era of the 1960s and 70s. My broad shoulders back then and determination to live my life as my conscience dictated deflected comments and words meant to belittle and diminish. Our cause became a mantra for equality in the courts of law and acceptance in our communities. I thought we had made great strides. But the election of 2016 exposed through the candidacy and subsequent election of Trump an America still saddled with bigotry, hatred, and intolerance for people like myself who follow the beat of a different drummer.
Thank God I am at an age when I truly don’t give a rat’s butt what others think of me. It’s a blessing. But insensitive language from a family member still hits home. As a society which promotes itself as the bastion of egalitarianism and tolerance, which claims to be the greatest people of the world, which boasts the largest Christian population anywhere, perhaps it is time to evaluate and do a self-inventory. Are we what we think we are? Is there honesty within us or do we deceive ourselves?
I have found peace through a lifestyle which teaches an inner search to truth and enlightenment. It is not found in the church I attend or the people with whom I associate. It’s an inside job which painful names or hurtful people cannot touch. That revelation within continues to tell me, even when behavior and speech of others attack, that we are indeed a universal brotherhood dependent on each member of this earth’s humanity, dependent on a healthy ecosystem, and equal in all respects.
“Solidarity: I am you, you are me, we are one.”
The current political atmosphere and social divisiveness are a test of what America truly is as a people. Our responses to the challenges we face will determine if this great experiment of ours is real or merely a flash in the pan as so many great societies before us. Let’s celebrate Flag Day remembering that our ‘red, white, and blue’ represents all of us, not just those who have assumed an exclusive and intolerant brand of patriotism.