Friday, July 28, 2017

Essay in Verse

I debated myself on whether to post this one. It may offend the person who triggered it (if he happens to read it). It also may offend other people. My freedom of speech argument won the debate so here I am jumping into the deep end. Some days I am brave. Some people call it lack of common sense or unfiltered. I call it being free.

Essay in Verse

Where to start?
I should start at the very beginning,
   because, as the songs says,  that’s a very good place to start.
But which beginning should I start at?
The beginning of time?
The moment of truth where
  reality collided with fantasy?
So many beginnings,
Who knew?

This story will start with yesterday,
   just another normal day in the life.
Work, a little exercise, dinner, the news, some music,
   and a little internet surfing
   ending up with pulling up a dating site
   I hadn't looked at for a while.
I had tried another site
  Half heartedly, pun unintentional.
Out of curiosity a few months ago,
   and maybe some hopefulness,
   I looked at this new site
   after a friend mentioned it.
It was free,
so nothing to lose, right?
Filled out a profile, took a couple of the quizzes
   and trolled the site a little.
Got some messages,
   wrote back, nothing came of it.
Got curious again last night,
   pulled up my messages and responded to a few.

And that is the true beginning of this story,
   which I wish was fiction,
   but unfortunately,
   it isn’t.
Not to worry about me,
Nothing bad happened
to me. 
What got to me was seeing firsthand that
on the surface we seem similar
people like this really do exist,
and laughing at the absurdity of what they say and think
    doesn’t change anything
    or make it any less scary.
Yes, there are people living in our world, country, state, city
who think and say things
    that make me cringe
They think and say things
    that are so hateful, so close-minded, and so baseless
        [By the way,
religious precepts are not a valid base for hate.]
They think and say things that are a direct insult to
    me, my children, family, friends.
We don’t live in a world where people think I have horns,
but we do live in a world where some people
    Believe I am the devil,
    Believe that people I know are heathens,
The devil?
A threat?
To who?
To what?
I don’t advertise my beliefs.
I don’t shove them down anybody’s throat.
I don’t expect everyone to think exactly the way I do.
All I expect is the freedom to choose what to believe
   and to not be put down for my beliefs
   or my values.
And I will admit that this person and others like him
have the same rights and expectations that I have,
So he/they have the right to believe whatever they want to.
But they don’t have the right to
   post demeaning, hateful statements, jokes, and graphics.
   to propogate hatred
   and question someone's loyalty to the good old USA
  because they don't like the person.
 [I thought that hatred wasn't Christian]

How did this happen?
How do people like this thrive and seem to be proliferating?
   Or maybe they’re just getting more vocal?
How did such behavior become normal?
I don’t know.
I don’t understand.
I can’t accept that people can think these things
and spread such vitriol and hate
just because of differing beliefs.
Our country was founded on the principles of freedom
And liberty
And justice
For all.
What part of “for all” excludes certain groups or individuals?
If our country’s founders didn’t mean "for all",
   they would have listed who it wasn’t meant to include.
They didn’t list exceptions.
All means all
And we need to figure out how to make that a reality that works.

And since religion seems to be such a big part of the equation these day,
Does God say to hate people because they believe something different from you?
Does God teach to spew hate because you don’t like what someone says or how they dress or who they choose to be or love?
I’m wondering,
Where did the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer go?
I think they’re still referenced in some form in western religion
   I can almost understand how the Lord’s prayer could be corrupted,
  “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
    But, who determines what is evil?
    And just because I believe something different from you,
        Does that make it evil?
        Does that mean I am tempting you?
            Unless of course, you are tempted because you want to believe,
Or you don’t understand what I believe.
        So you call it evil.
But the Ten Commandments?
Really, how can those have been so corrupted?
    It is pretty simple really,
    Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Most religions say you should be righteous.
Morally right
Morally good.
I can see how maybe these definitions of righteous can be interpreted in rather negative ways,
But only if your moral compass ignores the Love Thy Neighbor portion of the program.