As Americans ponder the Thanksgiving Day holiday expectations are high. Young children look forward to all the activities loved ones plan. School age individuals are told tales of the Pilgrims and the Indians that befriended early settlers. Most imagine that on this November day, people come together peaceably. That, for the little ones is a welcome thought. Too often, tension exists in the parent child relationship. Some say angst increases as the offspring age. Whilst many wish to believe the strain occurs over time, as a child becomes more autonomous, indeed, recent research shows early interactions give rise to the relationship that will be.
Toddlers and tots rarely have opportunities to quietly, calmly, and genuinely converse with parents or the caregivers they are fond of. Hence, lads and lasses feel a sense of loss. By the teen years, the thought of another Thanksgiving celebration with relatives evokes an almost automatic response, "No thanks."
Update . . . A bell rings. The sound reverberates. A sentiment shared aloud resonates within the heart, mind, body, and soul of persons who heard the message. No matter the actions taken afterward, sullen statements are not easily erased from memory.
Days before Congress was asked to pass the stimulus package, the President uttered the now famous phrase; "I won," Republicans, as could have been expected, expressed resentment. Immediately, subsequent to President Obama's statement Democrats were said to have followed the Chief Executive's lead. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked if he thought Republicans might block the initiative. Empathically, he replied; "No." Today we know differently. In the House, the measure received no support from the Grand Old Party.
As we await approval from the Senate we may wish to consider, the past. Words that evoke division have a lasting effect.
Please peruse a missive penned shortly after President Obama reacted to pressure from the "Right."
It was a cool Fall evening in South Florida. The breeze was gentle; the sunset glorious. As I approached the intersection where, each weekend I stand in support of peace and tranquility, I did as I do when at this crossroad. I placed my arm out the window. My digits were extended and formed the symbol associated with serenity. When I am in a vehicle, at the locale commonly considered the Peace Corner I work to preserve the intent of my Saturday mission. I strive to advance awareness for the notion, this nation remains at war. Soldiers are slaughtered far from the shores of home sweet home. Civilians, in their native country continue to lose their lives for a want of war. I crave global harmony and will work to restore some sense of civility worldwide. However, as I sat silently in contemplation cries of "Country First" startled me.
Welcome Home Netroots Nation attendees. You may recall, it began with a dream, an impossible hope for a future unforeseen. It was your wish, his want, her desire, and my aspiration. Together we were the inspiration. We imagined greatness would be if we worked together. The issues of import to us were and continue to be the Environment, Education, Energy, Ethics, Wars in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and of course Peace. Health Care, and the fragile nature of medical coverage in the United States, does not escape our gaze. While we may embrace Free Enterprise, we are not ignorant of the inherent flaws within a system that rewards the rich and punishes the poor. The Courts, and Congress do not escape our scrutiny. Those of us who are far from apathetic examine the Executive Branch of government as well. Indeed, citizens that actively care inquire of and study every subject, deeply.
Days ago, United States Commander-In-Chief, George W. Bush reminded us of the need to remain vigilant. He admonished anyone who might think to talk with those who politically, philosophically, or perhaps physically have the potential to oppose "us." The President of the world's superpower 'wisely' proclaimed ""Some seem to believe we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along." America's leader addressed Israeli lawmakers and said, "We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history." As a protective parent might alert an easily frighten child, the Mister Bush forewarns his citizens. "Do not speak to strangers."
“The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness; it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy; it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death; it's indifference.”
~ Elie Wiesel
It was February 14, 2008, Valentine's Day. Love was in the air. However, the expressions of appreciation offered were mournful. Doctors informed the family and his friends, Lawrence King, 15, was removed from life support. Two days earlier, young Larry was in the computer lab at E. O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, California. He sat with 24 other students when Brandon McInerney walked into the room with a gun. The armed classmate, fourteen-years of age, approached Lawrence with intent. Brandon aimed his weapon, pulled the trigger, and shot Lawrence in the head. Without hesitation, the shooter ran from the building. Circumstances led observers and police officers to conclude the act was intentional, calculated, and a conscious choice. Brandon committed what is commonly defined as a "hate crime."
The world is crowded. Six billion, six hundred twenty seven million, three hundred and sixty six thousand, three hundred and fifty people populate this planet, or did a short time ago. In this moment, there are more humans than there were seconds ago. The number of inhabitants increases exponentially each day. Everywhere we look, there is another person being born. Yet, at least in America, people feel more isolated than they did in the past.
Americans are more connected. Cyberspace calls us and draws us in. Electronic communiqués flood our online mailboxes. Cell telephones ring. It seems everyone has one and uses it to speak with someone, even when they are with another individual. Conversation is ubiquitous. However, when in a crowd, Americans feel more socially isolated.
We each experience many obstructions everyday of our lives. There are physical fences we cannot or will not climb. A roadblock might impede our progress on the thoroughfare. Distance does us in. Many do not wish to venture beyond familiar neighborhoods. Proximity can limit our travel. Time is an interesting concept. Although, man created seconds, minutes, hours, and days, few of us seem able to separate ourselves from this obstacle.
As difficult as it might be to ford the river or sea, nothing compares with the challenge we feel when we know there is a need discuss subjects that cause us to feel defensive. Delicate topics are taboo too. Conversations of all sorts are difficult. Personal or professional, what we say aloud and what we do not can cause palms to sweat, hands to clam, pulses to race, and a person to pace. The heart is easily torn to pieces. The head hurts at the thought of what might be a threat. Communication can cleave, or calm; it can be the greatest bridge or the barrier that destroys a connection.
Again, I stood alone on the corner, as I had for months. My intent was as it has been for years; I seek to achieve world peace. However, after a short while I realized, today was like no other. I received the usual smiles and signals of serenity; nonetheless, the number of shuns, shrieks, and screams were as they had never been before. I held the same sign that I embrace each Saturday. The words "Love Not War!" are displayed for all to see.
In recent days, I am reminded of my own life as I watch the Democratic Presidential candidates quibble, over the timing of peace talks. Throughout the airwaves, and in every periodical, reports discuss the divisive dynamic. Senator Hillary Clinton thinks Barack Obama is naïve. She states the comparison he makes when discussing her point of view is silly. Thus, the former First Lady emphasizes a theme that has haunted the junior Senator. Is the Senator from Illinois too young and inexperienced to be President of the world's superpower?