Saturday, November 12, 2016

I Live In A Blue State

Where there are pretty white clouds and endless blue skies. Where, after someone celebrated by the KKK is elected, the stores and shopping centers are bare because of grief-stricken people.

I live in a state where being Jewish or black or brown or unable to speak any English is protected.

I don't even deal with real racism. Unless you count the fact that most of my neighbors wear a badge of pride because they live next to me and they haven't been racist at all. Which is cute and funny and a little weird.

I don't deal with being bullied or talked down to. At work, I am surrounded by the most open-minded people in the world. Where in friends, someone could say something that might not be totally straight, and no one even bats an eye.

This is my sheltered bubble.

But it wasn't always like that.

I've lived in other states, supposedly blue too, where race is a cause of monetary tension. Where race divides us as if we really were in different continents. No one EVER in their lives say something that wasn't wholly heterosexual.

I lived in a world where being a different religion meant that you're probably a terrorist.

And I can tell you what you already guess. I don't miss it.

I'd never want someone to need those suicide hotline numbers. No one to be harassed or hurt over things they can't change.

But it's hard.

I keep wondering how to avoid all this conflict. I'm not used to it. I don't like it.

But the alternative is not standing up for someone who's being knocked down. The Alternative is to do nothing for the people who need help.

I can't live with that alternative. No matter how many times I try to flinch away from this. I can't. I might fail. Actually, with the responses I've been getting today, I think I will, but the alternative is knowing that I backed down.

I am a scaredy cat. I am the biggest kitty in the world.

The thought of a haunted house during October made me run for cover.

But the alternative is painful. Not scary. I can live with getting startled, but I can't live with being quiet.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
[Martin Niemoller]