by Linda Van Treese
Who knew that a brief three months ago I would re-connect with people I haven't had contact with in almost forty years? Thank you Dubby for finding me and including me in your circle. You have no idea how excited I was to see your 'friend' request. I had thought about you over the course of years and wondered what had happened in your life.
Then I discovered you had within your circle of friends others that I have thought about as well and wondered how they had faired in this game of life...Jo, Rick, Reya, Danny, Wade, Dan, Janie, Vickie, Nancy, Lowell...I remember you all. I'm happy to have you in my life again so many years later and even though I didn't know you well way back then, I hope to know you better all these years later.
Excellent posts by Reya and Jo. Lowell's reply to Reya's post I found thoughtful and logical. Logic, for me always wins out over emotion when someone is trying to make a point. That's not to say that there isn't room for passion in any discussion, but passion can be expressed without having to resort to name calling and using labels to make certain people or groups of people feel uncomfortable about even expressing an opinion for fear of being labeled a racist, homophobe, socialist, communist, redneck, liberal, conservative, feminist, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.
I've tried to determine when all the 'labeling' began. When I was a kid growing up in California I don't remember ever making a distinction about my friends or the kids I went to school with based upon their skin color. True, we didn't have any black kids, but there were plenty of Hispanic and Native American kids. My best friend was an Indian girl named Rosemarie and I thought she was so beautiful with her long hair that was so black, it looked almost blue and doe brown eyes...I was envious of her 'uniqueness'. We were Yin and Yang for sure and inseparable as friends and companions until she left our public school to attend Catholic school in third grade. This was years before political correctness or diversity training.
Then, we moved to Kansas City the summer of fifth grade. It wasn't long before it became apparent to me that people segregated themselves into 'groups'. That was the first time I'd ever noticed it or was aware of it. Even in school, kids seemed to 'group' up and I never felt like I fit in anywhere in particular. One incident I remember occured in sixth grade. Most of the kids had a 'history' and had grown up together. I, on the other hand, was the 'new' kid. One popular girl in one of the other sixth grade classes let it be known that she wanted to 'meet' me during recess in the girl's bathroom. This was not a request as much a summons issued by the sixth grade 'It' girl. I went to the 'meeting' not knowing what to expect really. Phyllis was there before me with her cadre of syncophants. I had with me two of my friends, Shannon McMeen and Kathy Cox. Phyllis started to give me the third degree wanting to know where I was from, where I lived, why I wore the clothes I did and weirdest of all...why I didn't wear bobbie socks with my tennis shoes. I told her I'd never worn socks before because if you did (being from California) you'd have a tan line. She also informed me that if I so even looked cross eyed at her boyfriend, I'd be sorry. Evidently that was the real reason for the meeting. Rumor had it that her boyfriend had smiled at me or something. Phyllis and I were never friends, but she never beat the crap out of me either...it was an uneasy truce.
I guess that's why as I grew into adulthood, I made a concerted effort not to fit into any particular group. I would describe myself today as conservative on fiscal issues and libertarian on social issues. That's not to say that I might or might not approve of someone's choice of lifestyle, I just don't think it's any of my business how someone chooses to live as long as they respect my choice not to embrace their choice as some kind of 'right'. I think part of the problem we have today is this propensity for politicians in BOTH parties to encourage this idea that we, as Americans, are really just 'groups' that they can exploit and pit against one another for their own purposes. I believe that purpose ultimately ends in control and loss of freedom.
I don't know about you, but I grew up and left home a long time ago and I don't need any government to tell me they know better how I should live my life. I also don't appreciate the legions of 'victims' the politicians insist on creating. Without victims they can't propose rules, regulations and seemingly endless entitlements for one group or another that are imposed with the intended purpose of creating a political class that will insure their continued power and control.
What we need are real leaders, not politicians and I say, a pox on both their houses. Even though I didn't vote for our current President, I had genuine hopes that somehow, maybe, we were ready to move forward as a nation and to finally realize our true potential as a people and I wished him well, I truly did. Sadly, I don't see any improvement over the past administration and the continued path toward insolvency as individuals and as a nation fills me with a dread and foreboding.
I see this blog as a good place to start a new conversation based upon respect for each other and in recognition of the fact that we have much in common regardless of our individual ideologies. I consider it a priviledge to be included in your circle.
P.S. Jo, you can 'cut' in line anytime my friend. I don't think I have a particular place in line or order of posting.