Turn. Turn. Turn.
I’m 73 and my life is a microcosm of the evolutionary scale.
I was born and raised in the south. A Methodist. My life’s early experiences were defined by white friends, neighbors, schools and relatives. White, seemingly normal people.
When I encountered anyone who didn’t look or act like me, I was unable to ignore or accept it. “Those people” stirred a wide range of emotions in me from fear to superiority; all unsettling and unfamiliar. These were persons of color: Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Native Americans, Asians, etc.. It also included “not normal” people such as gays, the physically and mentally challenged, Jews, Buddhists, atheists…all the way to poor people, the homeless and the terminally ill.
My world was small. Insulated. Complacent.
As I aged, I became more independent and more intellectually curious. I graduated from High School and traveled to Europe to attend College.
My world grew and I grew with it.
Then I turned.
My world became more colorful. More diverse. More challenging. More meaningful. My comfort level broadened and became more tolerant and welcoming.
My filling melting pot changed my attitude from fear and discomfort to accepting the reality that my life was unfinished. The more I learned the more incomplete I felt.
The more diverse my relationships, the more I realized how little I knew about “Those people” who are unlike me; their life’s experiences. What did they fear? Was I “Those people” to them? If so, was I more friend or foe? How did they view their place in the world? Their future? Were we all part of the same Grand Plan or were we on separate paths defined by who we were and how we looked?
The “curiouser” I was, the more I learned. The more I grew.
Then I turned again.
Not only am I comfortable living in a diverse world, I accept, painfully, that it’s not evolved along with me. While I live in an evolved segment, I see the ugliness of white supremacy; the medieval values of so-called evangelicals; the appetite for idolatry, intolerance and vengefulness; the acceptance of lies; the propensity toward hate and inflicting harm on others….
The road ahead remains long and fraught with danger.
The unevolved are a clear and present danger to the rest of us. They perpetuate the wickedness of racism, racial injustice, anti-Semitism, social Darwinism, violence…all obstacles to our collective pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
When will the darkness, the hatred, the vengeance turn?
It’s past time.
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