Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Unity-

I saw a bumper sticker on a car this morning~

It got me to thinking about my country, the United States of America.

About our freedom, our way of life, and the things that have made our country great...in it's very, very short life time.
As a nation some of what we have "in common" are resources we have simply come to expect...clean water, good roads, abundant access to food, shelter, and transportation. The right to an education, to medical care, and fair treatment regardless of sex, religion, or color. But we have so much more in common~

Then the bumper sticker I was staring at began to bother me.



I sense a problem. We are so focused on what makes us different that we forget to take a hard look at all the ways we are the SAME.

I can identify with a mother, a sibling, or a child.
I know what it is to be hungry, or cold, or to be a lover, a friend, alone, to want to be held, to be afraid, to weep, to lose, to win, to be poor, to have money, to ache, to grow, to stretch, to breathe, to live, to almost die.

To want to know God, or wish there wasn't one, for my heart to race when I get excited, to cry over songs that make me miss someone I loved, to inhale deeply when the grass has been mowed, to look up at the Moon and wonder...

These things are universal. These things connect us without tethers to skin color, or genitalia, or worhip preferences. The basic ebb and flow of human existence...we must remember how we are all connected.

The principal that holds families together is the idea that what makes us "ONE" is of greater value than what makes us different, though our differences are important.

It's the feeling we get at a ball park when our team scores a home run, or even loses. Our elation, or sadness, is a result of our feeling connected to the team- made up of pitchers, and batters, in fielders and out fielder.
We are rooting for the family, the team... our country~

I wish I had a bumper sticker that said,

Appreciate Diversity-
Honor and Respect our Unity

I just might have to make one for myself...

34 comments:

iamnot said...

Amen Baby!
We live in a culture where every difference, or even perceived difference, is grounds for special victim status and a skin so thin that there's no way in hell we can get along.

ThursdayNext said...

Cora, its been a while but what a great post to come back to. ;) Agreed. A teacher used to tell me that we are 90% all the same and should celebrate those commonalities in addition to the diversities! Well said!

exskindiver said...

i agree with you.

leelee said...

Cora...I love this post...

Oh and the books came back today with all those lovely goodies tucked into the package..you are too sweet. I love those wine glass thingy's and the cards and journal...How thoughtful you are..thank you so much and I am so glad you enjoyed the books..I knew you would..

BIG HUGS!!!!!

puerileuwaite said...

Why, I never! Even though I do Celebrate Perversity, still, (even in the southeast) it's highly "inappropriate" content for a bumper sticker.

DIVERSITY? Oh. Nevermind.

Hold the phone. I just realized "Celebate University" would be a cool name for a Seminary.

the.red.mantissa said...

perhaps part of this is all the focus on 'me/not me' in our society/culture? everyone just lives in a friggin vacuum - forgets that they share the planet with other humans. just ride a crowded subway @ 0715 in the am. they all act like they are the only one on the train. gawd! losing that complacence might be a first step to recognizing our connectedness?

not sure what else to say here ... nothing particularly brilliant comes to mind.

a funny l'il story ... my husband, years ago, was refused entry to rhodesia (ie in africa) because on the form they give you to fill out he wrote 'human' in the spot that asked for 'race' ... haha. that was over 20 yrs ago. just some useless tidbit.

Lee said...

Yes, too much focus is on the individual and not enough on community. Thoughtful post, thank you.

X. Dell said...

A friend of mine, a naturalized US citizen, felt that Americans want everyone to be the same. As someone from that mythical place called "Middle America," I was always troubled by the heavy emphasis put on conformity. I've also come across a number of cults (very destructive ones, ones that heavily indoctrinate) that place a heavy emphasis on conformity, which they equate with unity.

Thus, I have always thought of diversity as a wonderful thing. After all, all groups depend upon diversity for their survival. Think of it this way. I wouldn't do very well in golf with a bagful of drivers, or a bagful of putters.

Or, as the old saying goes, "It takes all kinds to make a world."

Sure, we have much in common with each other, even if some of us have problems identifying with the rest of us. But there is much about the American experience that groups do not share. A unity out of dialogue or understanding would be one thing. A unity forged from compulsory acculturation would be catastrophic.

While I agree that we have much in common, and reckognizing such would have its merits. At the same time, there are differences in experience, history, outlook, opportunity, etc.. What diversity we have, that which makes us strong, should be celebrated as well. If our differences cause strife, we should begin to work on them, not wish them away or force compliance into one group's way or another.

Scary Monster said...

Me loves the feeling of brotherhood or comraderie when among me fellow monsters, but reseve the right to maintain me individuality. It be the tings in which we are the same that enables us to live with each other, but it be the differences that force us to learn,to grow.

Besides, who wants to look like me?
STOMP.

Gardener Greg said...

Well said. Bravo Bravo Cora. I agree with you totally. As long as people keep focusing on differences and not similarities, nothing will ever change. Best post I have seen in a long while. Thanks,
Greg

Best bumper sticker: "If you can read this, thank the teacher that learned you to read" :)

The Grunt said...

That's a great message, Cora.

she said...

dammit i was just on my way to a diversity festival sponsored by

D.E.A.D
(Dykes for the Eradication of American Dicks)

M.O.R.O.N
(Muslims Organizing Ramadan Over Newyearseve)

L.A.M.E.A.S.S.
(Liberal Americans Making Everyone in America Super Sorry)

W.E.A.K
Women Engergized Against Kidsbeingborn)

D.U.M.B
(Dubyahaters United with Mahmoud and Binladen)

T.I.T & T.A.T.
(Tyrants in Tinseltown & Treehuggers Against *christmas* Trees)

now i dont feel like going.

the.red.mantissa said...

x-dell -- you r a genius. well said. my european friends/family have expressed quite exactly the same sentiment as what you have written here in your comment ... that north americans seem like sheep, wanting to reduce all to the lowest common denominator, to melt everything down to some unrecognizable paste.

one only need observe the consumer choices we make here in NA (ie as compared with EU, for example) - cars we drive, clothes we wear, music we choose, the media available to us (ie film/television/etc) - to see some truth in this.

mayden i get the sentiment of your post ... but i really feel what x-dell has said - feel it in my bones. it makes me think of all those people who hate the fact that they're different - viewing differences as flaws.

when i was growing up, i had dark olive skin, an ethnic name ... and interracial parents. kids, being kids, let it be known i looked different from the rest - taunting me with names like 'brown crayon' and some parents did not want their kids playing with a 'mixed' kid. i hated myself, my ethnicity, my name (i now legally use what was my middle name @ birth - roxanne), the colour of my skin, the fact that my eyes aren't blue, and that we never ate meatloaf or pork chops in my house. i wonder how many other people who are 'different' from the group have felt this way. i guess that's why i like vancouver so much. everyone's different here ... no one cares about it.

all that said -- i do hate how everyone who's different now expects to get the red carpet, exceptional treatment. i think it only fuels the problem, rather than recognize and address the diversity issue. for example, i, for one, don't give a shit what colour your skin is or what kind of childhood you've had if you are on trial for murder. ya do the crime, ya do the time. this applies to all. end of story. here in canada our judiciary appears to have some trouble with that. grrrrr.

sorry to be so long winded. each time i come back to your blog ... i find i've thought a little more.

enjoy your weekend. :^]

she said...

i think the focus of this post is about celebrating the things we hold in common as a nation. it doesnt advocate that people should think dress or do anything alike or that diversity is a negative. it merely states that the incessant massaging of the us-vs-them mind set is not in the best interests of ANY of us.

Mayden's Voyage said...

Imanot- Interesting point you are making. The thing that gets me is that the people who want me to celebrate diversity are never talking about MY diversity...only theirs.

Welcome back Amy! I know you have been very busy...I gave you a nod after the VA Tech heartbreak- I sent people over to read your post- it just could not have been more appropriate. Thank you :)

Chesca-
Personally- (and this is where I get frustrated with blogging- I'd love to actually talk to you! lol) I wish I could discuss this with you at length- because I know you are not from the US, but came later (right?). And you are not of European descent. A person from England or France pretty much looks like 75% of the rest of Americans, but you aren't in that catagory- so your "fitting" in would be a more unique experience. Also, what I've found is that some European transplants are often arrogant and not terribly nice (not all, but some)-while I have never, ever had an occasion to meet someone of Asian descent who was not a lovely and dear person to know. It can't be just me...or the Asian response to me. There is a gentleness and accepting spirit in Asian people that is rare to find in Americans, Africans, and Europeans.
At least, this is what I have experienced.

Leelee- and a big hug to you too~ Thank you :)

Pug- "Celebrate Perversity" LOL!
You know exactly when I need a laugh! :)

Roxanne- I do similar things...I write "Human", or "Other" and then fill in the blank with German, English, Irish, Native American, Norwegian.
Also- and this one is funny-
"Race?- Yes, but I NEVER win!" :)

Lee- Thanks, I appreciate the differences in people, but I honor that we are all (or mostly all) humans.

X~ One of the things that I notice is that the people urging me to celebrate diversity- are always wanting me to celebrate their diversity. The word "Celebrate" in this case, has come to mean "Accept, or embrace"- and yet, there are some things I simply can not embrace. However, I can accept that we are humans on the same planet trying to make a life for ourselves. I appreciate that- I honor that.
I respect and admire other cultures, races, and religions- but some of those experiences are things I will never be able to identify with...and I choose to focus on the things I can.
One of the things I love most about blogging is that our words stand alone- sex, race, and color don't play into our conceptions of people we meet here.

the.red.mantissa said...

she - you know, initially, very initially on reading this post that is quite exactly what i thought (my first comment even reflects this). i do agree ... blogging is sort of like a prism - takes a thought and then refracts it into so many different views. i see many views here, just from this one thought.

i agree the us vs them does not serve any interests. i see this, though as a manifestation of the 'me, me, me' philosphy that commercialism and the like has carved into our society. we have become the 'me-first' generation or society, haven't we? that's where the me/not me antagonism comes in ...

just my verbose way of saying i see all sides of this ... not disagreeing with anyone, really.

love, me

Gary said...

Great bumper sticker. I wanted to make one that said "Don't blame me, I'm a victem too." :)

she said...

red: i understand.

my first comment is a satirical listing of fake organizations to see: will readers celebrate this "diverse" point of view? my "diverse" sense of humor?

i think some of the groups that say they are marginalized are the actual cultural bullies. celebrate me or you are an unsophisticated thinker. a sheeple. a hater.

do we all have to constantly be on the same page in order to recognize the greater truth that we are all members in the human being club.

i agree with you, it can be looked at in a myriad of ways. thats why it is a good post.

love to you too

Nea said...

I saw a little league game once, where one parent got out a gun and brandished it at the opposing team's coach....(my husband was the coach)...so much for your theory on the "baseball family" as a cohesive unit. Each team for themselves, there isn't much unity in sports.......unless you are on the same team.

LADY LUXIE said...

The best line was when you said "...we forget to take a hard look at all the ways we are the same...."

I have the very very same sentiments for my country where diversity is at an extreme...Imagine to live in a place with hundreds of dialects...A two hour drive from where I live would bring me to a province where people speak so differently...Even going from one island to another is like a trip to a different country.This diversity of language is one major factor why our country can't seem to just merge into one unified front...

So many countless of my country men have left for your home to settle in...I guess because for Filipinos ( I can't speak for every single pinoy but being a true blue one and living here and having numerous relatives and friends there I can safely claim to have a balanced concept..) the word America connotes a concept of freedom and wealth...A euphoric place where people can grow abundant.It is not uncommon to hear.."ah'in America we can have this or that..."

Such a sad statement really because to have this or that can happen anywhere... My people who speak this forget that each person has a responsibility for the state of his nation..and that the greatness of America for Americans is so because of its people who shaped it into what it is right now..

The clean water, good roads, abundant access to food and shelter and transportation...the right to an education, to medical care and fair treatment regardless of sex, religion, or color can only be fully materialize when indeed a people of a nation work together shelving personal differences for the benefit of the whole...

The greatness of a country lies within one individual and another looking within and finding freedom from selfish ego and seeing how he is one connected to everything...thus working in love to create beauty...

a beautiful road..a beautiful park... a beautiful dress...a beautiful house...a beautiful relationship...

a beautiful nation...

a beautiful planet...

Mayden's Voyage said...

Monster- where, oh where did you get so wise?
It would be a sad thing if my kids were exactly alike, and exactly like me...I love how different they are- even in appearance. I love that one enjoys playing the piano, and the other is a gifted artist. I so enjoy the "individuals" they are, and I love that when we need to work as a team- regardless of personal preferences- they jump in and help out.
BTW- you are a very cute monster... but I agree that I want to keep looking like me ;)

Thanks Greg...and I will find my Kindergarten teacher and thank her for all the learning she gave me!
LOL :)

Hey Grunt...You made Tim's day today with your note- thank you :)

She: LOL! You are trying to kill me! Ok...here's something I found interesting. When I googled "Celebrate Diversity" I found everything from Civil rights info to Gay and Lesbian Christian organizations.
When I googled "Celebrate Unity" - I found page after page of Church sponsored meetings and get-to-gethers.
I thought that alone spoke volumns- but I didn't mention it...and then you came along and did just that!
My diversity does not count, nor does my sameness matter to the Diverstiy group. It's frustrating. Unless I give in and "Celebrate" them...I'll never get into their circle. ANd if I say, well, why not celebrate me? They think I'm coldhearted or stupid. Blah!

Bardouble29 said...

excellent post!

exskindiver said...

hi mayden,
will email you now.

Bone said...

Wow. Wonderful post, Mayden. I think, as with most things, there should be a balance. Sadly, it seems some have mistaken equality and acceptance for special treatment and privilege. I love your points about about family and how people can so easily pull together to support a sports team.

*hugs*

Gardener Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gardener Greg said...

Great post Cora. I mad a long reply but then deleted it. I haven't seen this much activity since Pooh got his nose stuck in the honey tree. Keep up the great work,

Greg

HANNIBAL said...

DIVERSITY IS THE KEY! SO WHAT IF SOME OF US HAVE DIFFERENT DIETARY REQUIREMENTS? ROOM FOR ALL, I SAY!

Aunty Belle said...

THis here is well stated, sweetie pie....an' Aunty always has a lot ter day, but others done said it all...but go on and make thea newe bumper sticker--we'uns need it.

the.red.mantissa said...

mayden;

i find that the GBLT community does this. its a sort of reverse snubbery, or something. like, they want the larger community to recognize them ... accept them ... blah blah. cool, we can do that. we do do that. they have their own neighbourhoods, businesses they frequent, bars, etc. (note this sounds like segregation -- if so, then its self-segregation). mainstream vancouver embraces differences, diversity ... blah blah. but ... indeed, like many 'cultural' groups, they stick to themselves. they do not assimilate into mainstream society. like ... they only watch gay television ... frequent 'gay' businesses, hang out with 'gay people' ... now i know it sounds like i am whitewashing here ... but there is a very sizeable gay community here and i know several people in the community. all have the same behaviour wrt the 'outside world.' in fact ... its like they embrace their own culture exclusively ... at the expense of others around them. not sure if this is coming out right ... but .... guess i'm saying what you are saying. one never gets into the group ... if one is not 'one of them' ... but they insist on always gaining entry and access to the larger group. it is not as blatant as i am describing it, of course ... but far more insidious. to the point where ... such groups create a self-fulfilling prophecy because they are so closed off from the mainstream, no one can relate to them! its like praying for rain and then cursing it when it finally comes down!

IMHO. (speaking form experience ... my brother is gay and big into the GBLT community - i could not relate to any of his friends ... really. i mean they're all nice, and fun to hang with ... but ... i found the exclusive focus on male gay stuff/culture almost ... sort of mysogynistic ...). a twisted irony, indeed.

now ... please i hope no one will misconstrue my comments here. just speaking from personal experiences i have had here, in vancouver ... and what i observe.

do i sound like i am all over the map on this one? lol ... i this issue as a many-sided entity.

iamnot said...

I likes me some She....

"i think some of the groups that say they are marginalized are the actual cultural bullies. celebrate me or you are an unsophisticated thinker. a sheeple. a hater."

Mayden's Voyage said...

Red- You keep making good points :) Thank you :)

Gary- Oh...A victim mentality is one I hope I never fall into- it's rather hopeless- isn't it?

She-
Beautifully stated!
"do we all have to constantly be on the same page in order to recognize the greater truth that we are all members in the human being club."
And the answer, of course, is no. Being human makes you a member of the club- and that should be enough...should be~

Nea~
OMgoodness! That's awful! I did mean people rooting for the same team though~ The Yankees and the Red Sox are not 2 groups I'd ever want to find myself in the middle of- ever. Sorry to hear about such things in little league :(


LUX!
My dear, dear friend...you could not have said anything more perfect or beautiful~
"The greatness of a country lies within one individual and another looking within and finding freedom from selfish ego and seeing how he is one connected to everything...thus working in love to create beauty...

a beautiful road..a beautiful park... a beautiful dress...a beautiful house...a beautiful relationship...

a beautiful nation...

a beautiful planet... "

I simply love your heart- your mind- the way you understand.
Thank you, so much, for your words here...sometimes I think our hearts beat in the same rhythm :)
(sorry that sounded mushy! lol)

Bardouble- thank you friend-

Chesca-
Yeahhh! I got it, and sent you a note...hope to catch up with you soon :)

Bone, thank you- I return the hug :)

SJ said...

No need to be diverse. Everyone can be like me.

boneman said...

the same
different

dang! I reckon it all rests on what yer perspective is, eh?
Me? I look at m'sis and say "yer short" but when she looks at me she says, "yer tall"

No, yer short.
no, yer tall.
Short
Tall
Short
Tall

and so on and so on...
dang if both aren't the truth. Indisputable truth.
But dang if we ain't both wrong, too.

Bird said...

hear hear x-dell.

celebrating diversity isn't about being the victim, or focusing on how our differences sometimes create conflict. celebrfating diversity is reveling in what makes us - us. and enjoying each other because we bring a different perpsective to each other.

we can have unity and community and still honor and cherish that which makes us unique. and alhtough we may all have common experiences as you speak of cora, we also may have a different approach to them. we may weep and love and fear and revel in joy - but what informs those emotions and how we frame those experiences may be quite different.

'course, i have this outlook because as a teacher, my job in the classroom is to help students see different perspectives - so of course, i dig the diversity. yet at the same time, i have to build common ground in my classroom, else no one will respect or appreciate the diversity that is present.

so we can't possibly celebrate diversity if we don't also have community. need both.