When you don’t know me, but label me anyway, I get the Truth.
When a thing is broken some people want to fix it. When a person is sick some people want to help them heal. Some people are motivated to help any kind of suffering, be it plant, animal or human. They would stop at nothing to make improvements to circumstances affecting their loved ones, even if it means sacrificing a personal want or leaving their comfort zone.
This is what can be. It is not what is. It is too easy to ignore the experiences of others.
The thinking is that if didn’t happen to them, or if they didn’t personally witness it, or if their life experiences and customs barricade them from exploring the greater world, what is happening around them is not real.
People are negated. They are provided with labels and assigned all sorts of behaviors that are incorrect, baseless judgments.
We label the people we don’t want to understand and know.
It takes effort to educate yourself. When you don’t choose to learn, others make decisions for you. How do you know if those decisions are correct? What if someone decides to take something away from you because in their experience, they don’t understand why you would need it?
The USA has left or threatens to leave the most vital global bodies created by countries that share this planet for the benefit of mutual agreements on things like health, trade, peace, and security. Rather than taking a leadership role to fix something, our country simply leaves, or erects a wall, or enacts restrictions that create a new set of problems.
When we leave the decisions to others, we lose our right to participate, have an opinion, lead in recovery, advance technology, and improve life.
You don’t need to agree to being manipulated this way.
It’s important to believe the experiences of others. Denouncing or ignoring claims by someone who has suffered is wrong.
We can’t possibly have every life experience there is in this one lifetime. Some people see aliens. Some people are paid less because they are women. Some people are discriminated for their age, gender, religious beliefs (or lack of), disability, skin color, education, and political party. These are real experiences that people have.
Just because you didn’t personally witness it or experience it yourself does not mean it doesn’t happen.
There are life experiences that our ancestors had. Their stories are handed down to us through the ages. People made decisions that cost lives and destroyed entire civilizations. We can learn from those experiences or erase them as though they never happened. At the moment, the choice by millions of people is to erase the stories or worse, come up with a new version that alters the truth.
Tearing down statutes is not a way to heal. It is a set up to have to go through the lessons again because we are removing the records of previous horrors. Some people don’t believe millions of JEWS were murdered by Nazi’s, even though the proof is out there. They probably are unable to name the countries with concentration camps operating today and the forced removal of humans and untold mass deaths that occur on the orders of leadership.
I was reminded by a friend, however, of all the statues that don’t come with the story, such as in a museum. These are public statues without any reference to why they are there. My friend wrote, “But instead, these statues are out there in public spaces — not as historical references or learning tools — but as a glorification of some person, as though we should all be proud of this person, or this person’s mission in life, which of course, is not what we should be proud of.”
She is absolutely right.
It’s probably unknown in the USA which President hated Native Americans so much that he very nearly wiped them off the face of the earth. Even today, those that managed to survive are neglected, and dying.
There is a tradition in the USA that allows government leaders to decide who lives and who dies and if you’re not born on the right list, your life and those of your children, will suffer.
There is a difference between listening to someone and really hearing them.
I feel sad when I realize you are not hearing a damned thing. Even when the suffering is right there, smack dab in front of you.
If you feel compelled to change anything, it only raises us up when it is done with compassion and wisdom. I admire heroic people asking to know more about the pain of those whose experiences may never be their own. I am sad that people think it’s acceptable to judge, sort and label their neighbors and friends.
At least I know you better now.
Originally published in Medium, Jun 18, 2020