The Problem of Not Looking…..

How many bad apples does it take to spoil the bunch?

Place a berry plant on top of a rock and do you expect it to grow?

Rioting is counterproductive. It does bring attention, but that attention is not focused on the actual problems but the emotional outrage and residual effects. Sadly for some emotions are all they have. It’s not related to race, financial status, or even the agony of defeat. In today’s United States we see destruction of property and civil unrest following a victory in the championship game of the local sports teams. Seriously, the thrill of victory has resulted in mobs in the streets, vehicles overturned, and fires started.

Emotions or not, looting and destruction of property are criminal acts.

Unless one is acting purely in self-defense, injuring or harming an individual intentionally is a criminal act and also an act performed by a coward, a thug; a nobody who has neither respect for themselves nor others. Cop, civilian, gender, race, age, orientation, economics, religion, and so on do not justify a wrongful action.

Here’s the thing though.

Some people are associating everything with race. They are upset at the President for stating that we have racial problems in the United States.  One argument is that the President is the root of the racial problems and the one dividing America.

Some people are associating everything with Christianity and an attack on religious beliefs.  They argue that same sex marriage and laws which do not allow for discrimination are threats against Christianity and their beliefs.

It seems to me that if race problems were indeed a thing of the past then nobody would feel slighted or offended by things such as Black History Month and call for an official White History Month. For quite some time we have included a lot of material about the accomplishments and failures of Caucasians in US History, but the accomplishments and failures of individuals with black skin have not been included as prominently. For the most part that lack of knowledge about can be said of any minority group or any group that was conquered or assimilated. Like I wrote previously, I do not make dramatic changes to my course content during Black History Month but I use the idea as a reminder to try and incorporate additional perspectives and information in addition to what I have on the majority. We do not need a White History Month and a focus upon Black History should not be relegated to a single month.

As for discrimination it seems like some feel that anytime they are asked to change or to not have everything to their liking then they cry infringement. When it is another, however, seeking the same that others have always enjoyed it becomes a threat to those already receiving the benefit. The reality in the United States is that couples receive benefits not afforded to singles. I think back to dances during my school days that required one to purchase a ticket. A couple’s ticket might cost $50 while an individual ticket cost $30. On more than one occasion, I took girls who I was not dating and had no desire to date. We each wanted to save $5. Being married affects your taxes, your heirs, who speaks for you if you become unable and so on. If one committed couple is granted those rights then in my opinion that should apply to all. I’ll even argue that in legal and financial situations, the couple should not necessarily have to be a couple who engage in sexual relations. The best course is probably to treat all as individuals.

As for the definitions of marriage being bantered about, if a couple is married in a religious ceremony does that make ceremonies performed by judges or justices of peace invalid? If a Roman Catholic is married by someone other than a priest is that marriage invalid?  If one gets divorced is a subsequent marriage invalid?  How easy is it to remarry?  A devout Roman Catholic and a devout Protestant will answer that one differently.

I admit that when I was younger I was critical of homosexuals.  Today I’m not. What I did not know at the time when I was critical was that it had nothing to do with the lifestyles. The homosexuals that I knew, I did not get along with as individuals. That would have been true if they had been heterosexuals.

One of the better friends I have made in recent years has a brother who is gay and married to another man. My friend’s brother and I get on each other’s nerves. His partner, however, is a man with whom I easily communicate. A high school classmate is homosexual, and honestly my opinion of the man is not any different. Actually he and I probably have more in common today with our professional experiences. I do admire him more today because he is a dedicated Dad to his adopted son along with being an involved and a positive role model for his nieces and nephews. Another high school classmate is a lesbian although most of our classmates do not know that she has been in a relationship with the same woman since we graduated.

I’m not condoning their private life and they are not condoning my private life. None of us are faceless people, and we are friends who offer one another a kind word or words we need to hear but do not want hear because we care for the well beings of the other. The same is true with people who have been divorced, widowed, remarried, or remained single. We are not the judge of others.

That’s what I think is so hard about Baltimore and these religious protection laws. When it concerns us personally we want others to mind their own business, keep their noses out of our affairs, and not to judge us without all the facts. How can they judge when they have no clue as to what we are really feeling and going through? When the roles are reversed, however, we are neither strong enough nor wise enough to resist casting judgment. We want to judge, but not to be judged ourselves.

We don’t have to condone the riots or the lifestyle of another, but we owe it to everyone to at least learn about the situations and the people before casting judgment.

If not for the grace of God or just perchance, we would know what it’s like to be the other person.

I try to ask myself if my opinion would be different if that were the case. One bad apple in the basket will cause the others to spoil more quickly. Unless the soil is prepared, whatever is planted will not take root and produce. We need to look at all the apples, and we need to take the time and perform the work necessary for crops to grow.