I’ve been thinking a lot about America of late. One thing that I believe about my homeland is that overall, we’re kind, generous, hard working, and we share many basic values. This is true of humanity as a whole in my opinion. Most of us want to be able to spend our lives in the company of the people we enjoy, (or not), while pursuing our passions. We all have things we’re passionate about. We may share about them with anyone and everyone we encounter. Or it might be something private and done in isolation that fuels you. And everything in between.
I’m passionate about computers. I put forth great effort at all times to refrain from speaking about them to other people. The desire is there. Unfortunately, few people I encounter on a regular basis are interested. Some people humor me. Thanks. But life (and by life I mean occupational therapy), taught me how to detect whether or not the person I’m speaking with is interested in my topic. It was difficult to master. In fact for a while, I gave up on talking to anyone about computers, because it seemed like I was the only person who finds them fascinating. That sucked. So I went back to working on detecting interest. I’m still working on it.
I think there are few Americans who when alone, discover another human who is vulnerable, and in need of their immediate assistance, and instead of helping, turn and walk away, (or worse). I think they’re a small minority who have no compassion for another life. I hope. It’s hard to gauge. I think most Americans would help whoever they encountered that needed them. I don’t think they would refrain to assist over things such as sexual identity, gender, skin color, religion, disability, etc. I think it wouldn’t matter in the moment, and they would set aside their fear, and rise to the occasion to the best of their ability. I want this to be true. I need this to be true.
I know there are people in my country who despise me on sight for being black, autistic, female, and dressing like a nerd on Garanimals. I can sometimes tell which parts of me they find so offensive in that initial momentary gaze. I’ve met some people like this on my journey so far. Racists make me want to disappear at first. Then later I rage at myself for having such an ableist reaction. It’s unsettling. But I think what has struck me hardest is the fact that it’s really fear. This epiphany has tempered how I react to blatant racism. When I think to myself, “Wow, I scared the shit out of that guy!”, instead of, “I hope you die in a fire, you racist piece of shit!”, you can see that it’s a pretty good attitude adjustment. One that leaves the door open for that guy to realize being a racist is wrong.
That guy would likely help me get my shoe unstuck from the railroad while a train is coming. Even though he hates “them colored folk”. I’ve always held strongly that people can say whatever they want to me, and how I choose to react will be based on whether or not I detect malice in their words. If I think they said an awful thing because saying awful things can be funny sometimes, then I’ll probably laugh. If I think they said it because they meant it, then hid it behind a neutral to positive emoji, I’m going to come back to them for clarification, reaction pending. Might be an asshole. Might be ignorant. Probably both. No reaction. But if someone says something to me, and I’m sure they’ve said it with malice, then there’s a good chance I’m coming back mean. Not overboard, shatter your world mean. Intentional mean that I think you can handle without crying.
I don’t like conflict, but I’m not afraid of it. I notice things to the point of being weird, so when it comes to verbal conflict, I can pack a hefty punch if I’ve observed for a bit. I firmly believe that insulting the content of someone’s character in retaliation to malice is fair game. But insulting something that they have no control over is kind of the definition of asshole. I red card that mess. I think others who come from large families know what I mean when I say we tend to go through life expecting things to be divided equally and fairly between everyone. So much of our childhoods were spent hovering over a knife while Mom cut a candybar into equal portions so that everyone got the same amount, and WWIII was again avoided. It’s hard to let go of a law that was absolute in my formative years.
I guess I was raised in a social monarchy, so I’m a natural social democracy supporter. I think deep down, it’s a human trait. I like nice things. But not when my having nice things means someone else gets none. I’d rather we both have nice things, or both have kind of nice things. Or even both have nothing. I feel connected to society when I get my fair share, and sacrifice my fair share. I feel a sense of rightness about it. It’s peace. And much like many parents of multiple children state repeatedly, if you can’t share and play nice, you can’t play at all. I want this to be a universal law. I think it would make the world better for humans. Also, I think if my Mom ran the world, Palestine and Israel would both be somewhere else, and the entire concept of holy land would become a forbidden topic, as well as a quick way to find yourself in bed with no dinner, Missy! Or something.