Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Saturday, April 1, 2023
When I was growing up, I put people in uniform on a pedestal. Police, firemen, soldiers,... They were all "more than" other people. They were more noble and brave and disciplined. They were better than other people.
Then I joined the Army National Guard. I became one of those men in uniform. I met many other military men in uniform over the next 10 years. I discovered that they were all just human - like me or anyone else. They were not inherently better or stronger. They were human.
I bring this up for two reasons. I was wondering how much we look down on other people who we think of as "less than." If I was putting people on pedestals, are there people who put other groups in the ditch, as not as important as us? I think it has to be so. Hearing about people on the other side of the world suffering from natural disasters or war, how does that relate to me? I have no connection. As for people who come here from other countries, I've worked side by side with them. They are the same as me. Some smarter, some less so. But all are worthy. So in this country, even if you are born here, it's not uncommon to see your group as more valid than other groups, or races. If you never connect with people from Southeast Asia, or even Native Americans, you have nothing to inform you that these people are people just like you... human.
And more troubling, if you put some people on pedestals - like police officers, and others in the ditch - like African Americans, it's easier to see a victim of police violence as deserving of that violence. If a policeman wouldn't harm me, then if they do harm someone - it was justified. But for me - there's a difference. If someone is on a pedestal and I consider them "brave," but they shoot an unarmed human because they "feel threatened," then how brave can they possibly be?
So my end conclusion is that we need to wake up - to be woke - and put every human we encounter on a level playing field. No more pedestals and ditches. When you meet someone - give them the same right to exist as you. Why is that such a radical idea that it would become a punchline about being "woke?"