Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What's So Funny (and Difficult) About Peace, Love and Understanding? -- or, Seth Saith: "This Is What I Believe"

How human beings treat one another is a subject I think about pretty much every day.

Lately however, I've been prompted to give even more acute thought to human sociology, from what famous people say publicly to how kids interact in schools to centuries-old international conflicts over about matters of race and religion.

I don't suggest that the recent stimuli I cite below, from news stories to notable anniversaries, are of congruent consequence, nor that all have direct linearity toward the statement that will follow.

But these are some of the factors contributing to me doing a lot of thinking about interpersonal propriety and the lack thereof:

- Ozzie Guillen's comments about Castro and the controversy that ensued (Viewpoint | Viewpoint)
Ashley Judd rebuking criticism of her appearance
(I should note that I still haven't seen any of the purported criticism of her, only stories about it and her response)
- Bully - a documentary about teenage bullying, including some tragic consequences. The movie is worthwhile though could've been better; the subject is one I think about often.
- Campaign trail discourse about gay rights and gay marriage
- A friend's Facebook post denouncing an incident of gay bashing she had witnessed
- Stories of racist tweets concerning The Hunger Games movie
- Bloodshed in Syria and continued debate about Israel and Palestine
- The ever increasing divide between Wall Street and Main Street and how the intent of the Occupy movement--as I understand it--often seems to be wrongly characterized; it's not about material envy or a hatred of capitalism so much as a disdain for criminal corruption, soulless greed and an unfair playing field
- April 15 being the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, a tragedy made worse by classism
- April 15 being the 65th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke major league baseball's color barrier
- April 29 being the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles Riots - I was living there at the time and remember when Rodney King went on TV and said "Can we all get along?"

Of course, what I'm about to say is always relevant (especially for those who agree with it). It doesn't take topical news or nasty tweets to make it so, though it is never hard to find reminders that the way I feel isn't shared by everyone.

And in a way, that's fine. While I'll never condone blind hatred, I also wouldn't want to live in a world where everyone agrees. Discourse and debate is important. Plus, while compelled to share my feelings derived from some of the topics above, having referenced the Ozzie Guillen situation I should clarify that the statement below is more about human rights and general decency, rather than directly concerning employee rights. While there should be some overlap, I understand that employers cannot always condone all behavior or affirm all freedoms.

I apologize if it sounds highfalutin' or trite or obvious or beyond my reach or already said much better or whatever, but...

This is what I believe:
Every human being, regardless of gender, age, appearance, race, religion (or lack thereof), color, wealth, political beliefs, sexual orientation, physical capacity, mental prowess, national origin, place of residence, social standing, language spoken or manner of dress, is equally entitled to live free of harm, harassment, fear, insult, indignity, hunger and discrimination while enjoying peace, liberty, comfort, courtesy, respect, privacy, opportunity, freedom of expression and the pursuit of happiness so long as they do not actively deny others this right.
Rules to live by:  
1) Feel proud but not superior 
2) Treat everyone with grace, dignity and kindness 
3) As said Gandhi: "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

No comments: