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A few months ago, during yet another chaotic political uproar, my son, Alex, who typically is the target of my "I don't understand" rants, quietly and patiently asked me "why does your generation continue to argue with walls?"
That sentenced stopped my rant for about 2 seconds and I, in my usual loud, confused and often hysterical way proceeded with the "what would you say to..." - "wouldn't you...?" - and on and on until he once again, this time with a bit of cautionary irritation, replied "I don't argue with walls."
He doesn't argue with walls.
I can't argue with that.
He gets his charming personality and stunningly good looks from me, his patience and wisdom, not so much.
I've learned when Alex talks, I listen, (after a few go around with myself), which brings me to walls and doors.
Once again the smoldering division in this country has been re-ignited by fingers and knees.
Fingers belonging to a habitually mindless tweeting fool taking aim at a protest begun by an American of mixed race NFL player taking a knee during the National Anthem in pursuit of social justice for all.
While Americans were still mourning and worrying about the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria, the embers were burning just enough to set aflame another path of destruction that didn't need Mother Nature's assistance to wreak damage of biblical proportions.
No, this firestorm was reignited at the fingertips of an attention-grabbing, rating loving, draft-dodging hypocrite who chose to focus his attention not on those devastated by Mother Natures wrath, but on those who, in peaceful and constitutionally protected protest seeking social and racial justice for all.
Once again, the man with dancing fingers decided to jitterbug on his Android inflammatory remarks against a certain group of Americans rather than recognizing the devastation of our American Territory, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Apparently kneeling on dry land is more dangerous to this country and its people than floods and hurricanes.
We as a country stood toe to toe, flag to flag, white to black, belief to value, friend to friend, debating whether or not an American's right to peacefully protest racial and social injustices can be done on a football field.
Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and its people don't hold a candle to a group of people on bent knee.
The tweeting of a proud draft dodger have sent this country into a total divide and the NFL became its focal point because once again we have shown that we aren't capable of scratching the surface of an issue deeper than that of a scratch and sniff car deodorizer.
The man with the dancing fingers once again used his childlike skill set to blast off a frenzy of brotherly hate in the heart of brotherly love.
Yes, he decided to use this time of true peril to lead astray many with misguided tweets of patriotism.
He sent his lit matchstick right into the hearts of those who believe in the representation of the flag and anthem in such a way that they forgot what it is they really value.
See if we were to take a moment and really think about what we as a nation and whole value rather than what we believe we would quite possibly have had a different outcome.
We have been led to believe that our flag is our country rather than the symbol of what our land, people, our constitution hold in value.
Our country is valuable because of its people.
Our Founding Fathers realized this and set forth to create a country that represents this in its constitution, not its flag.
Our flag has changed many times over, our constitution has not.
It still remains our constant north star.
I have read and listened to many people on this matter and I have often found myself hearing the words that Alex said to me a few months back.
He is right - there are people who are walls and will never be doors.
They will believe what they believe and no matter what is presented to them.
They value their beliefs more than they value their values.
It pains me to hear the words and read the words that some seem to follow so closely and it pains me more to see the destruction that these words are leaving in their wake.
It pains me to see how many people are walls in a world full of doors.
Walls will tell you that an NFL player is "just a rich, ungrateful, paid entertainer" and therefore have no right to protest on the job.
A door will remind you that athletes work extremely hard to hone their craft.
Talent may be inherent, but without the will, drive, persistence, and determination the desire will never come to fruition with any person in any job with any talent.
A door will also remind you to imagine a life without any form of entertainment, be it sports, Hollywood, toys, books, etc.
Remember Burgermeister Meisterburger?
I don't want to live under his rule.
Walls will tell you that "kneeling is disrespecting our veterans" even though a large majority of veterans will tell you that peaceful protest in any form is absolutely appropriate and entirely what they value.
A door will offer a glimpse into another point of view for consideration which would be kneeling is a form of humility.
We kneel in reverence, we kneel in hope, we kneel in prayer, sickness, to Mother Earth herself while we plant our seeds every spring and hope for harvest every fall.
Yes, we as a nation kneel when we are seeking answers, kneel when we are seeking help and hold out a hand to those who are rising up.
Walls will tell you that "they have no right to protest during work hours" even though they are walking the picket lines as teachers, nurses, postal workers, union workers, etc. seeking better and safer, more profitable and equal work environments.
Protesting brings about change.
Public protests with larger groups of people bring about change more rapidly than singular protests will.
Remember the lunch counters at Woolworth's when a black man sat there?
The water fountains, women's right to vote, Selma, Alabama, 4o hour work week?
This one hits close to me as well as many in my generation-
my Italian grandmother married an Irish man and his Irish mother refused to come to the wedding.
My Aunt married a Jewish man whose mother refused to come to the wedding and my own father who lived in Adams married a woman from "the wrong side of the tracks", North Adams!
EEKKK! The horror!
Walls will tell you that "athletes are not heroes" and therefore deserve to be paid less than those that they deem heroes.
Does Superman, Mighty Mouse, and Underdog fit into the hero category because these characters were certainly heroes of mine? How much do those characters get paid because I know their values helped mold me.
Does the child who lies in Boston Children's Hospital not see Tom Brady as a hero when he comes to his bedside with a football or a jersey?
Do the people of Houston Texas not view J.J. Watt as a hero for raising over 31 million dollars and still counting for the Houston Relief Fund?
Is Eli Manning not a hero for his undertaking of a 5-year campaign in 2007 to raise $2.5 million for the construction of "The Eli Manning Children's Clinics" at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children?
Are we not heroes in our children's eyes even though we don't go into burning buildings or saving lives on an operating table?
Are we all not heroes in some form or another?
Walls will always tell you, but they will never listen and that is fine for them, but it isn't a way for a democratic society to function.
We see that over and over being played out in Congress.
It isn't working.
It will never work.
Democracy and change occur when there is an opening of free thought and honest debate.
America was not founded by walls, but by doors.
Doors that were at one point closed but opened ever so slightly when the values of our Founding Fathers overruled their beliefs.
We must as a society, stop falling prey to those who seek to destroy our unity by dividing our United States with misleading words and hateful actions.
I write this blog with deep passion and quiet humility.
My desire is not to incite anger, never to promote ill-will, disrespect, alienate or force my opinions, but to possibly turn on a light aimed directly at the deep values that we as Americans are rooted in.
Rights for all or rights for none.
We can disagree, we can debate and we can stand firm on what we believe to be true for us as individuals, but what we can not ever do is confuse the value of every American and the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, in a safe and equal way with our beliefs as to what the symbol of those rights are.
I'm choosing to be a light in all that I do on this earth, and with all lights, sometimes they burn to touch and hurt to sometimes look at but are a necessary form of illumination, and here in America, I have that right.
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