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When will we understand... differences are GOOD

June 16, 2016

Today a member of UK parliament was shot and stabbed to death while representing the people she was elected to serve. Four days ago one hate filled individual slaughtered 49 carefree, loving people who were just living their life and having a dance. Tomorrow a disturbingly misguided man might just build a giant wall along the border of his country and start a register of all Americans who believe in a certain God. My heart bleeds for the state of the world. My heart bleeds every time I read the news.

 

The heartbreaking occurrences of the past week, thousands of which I have not listed with the two above, most of which I won’t even be aware of, have all taken place... they’re done and cannot be undone. But this last one, the onslaught of a truly terrifying “politician,” a truly horrific person, and disturbingly the potential leader of the free world... this can be stopped. It has to be, doesn’t it?

 

The thing that scares me most about what Trump is saying is that we have heard these things before. It may seem a drastic distinction to make, but we need to remember that the Holocaust didn't start with someone saying “Let's murder all Europe's Jews.” It started by a finger pointing at a group of people; it started with someone drawing a line in the sand and declaring a distinction between a perceived "them" and "us." In that case, as well as so many others, and in the case we are seeing unravel now in the United States, we need to understand that it all comes down to nothing more than that... a perception.

This perception is not reality. The reality is that we are all people, we are all humankind and yet yes, we are all individuals. This is a beautiful thing. The differences between each of us are not something to be threatened by or angry about or fearful of... I literally cannot fathom how people consider these differences as affecting their personal lives AT ALL. The thing that does affect us directly and does pose a threat to our own lives is this very perception, which very easily turns into a misguided hate. Only then does difference become a personal danger. Only then does it make someone feel the need to harm and to kill, just in order to eliminate said difference, whether it be a difference of who you love or what colour your skin is or what God you believe in.

 

Can you imagine a world when we all lived by the same exact world view? I can’t. I don’t want to. Yesterday I saw the below ad and its message resonated with me big time. It may be an ad, it may be acted, but its message is straight up beautiful, especially in light of the hate that is becoming common to the point we are practically accustomed to it.

 

Travel. I know it doesn’t seem like much but in my opinion, it is everything. It allows anyone and everyone to experience diversity firsthand. I count myself very lucky in life, to have the family and the opportunities I do, to belong to the country I do. My life is good and comfortable, as are the lives of so many people who never leave the place they call home. It is easy to view other people and cultures from your comfort zone and start making assessments. Let me spell it right out: you cannot possibly keep these ideas intact once you leave the bubble of home. Once you become the “other.” It will change your view on the world. It will give you appreciation for cultural and lifestyle differences and see them as a thing of beauty – something to be celebrated and enjoyed rather than feared and despised.

 

I know this is a rant and that I’ve said a lot here that many, many people will disagree with. I know it is just one opinion. And I know that my writing this will change absolutely nothing. But when something distresses, frustrates, confuses me... I write. I don’t even know how to end this other than to implore anyone who does read this post to reflect on it – no matter how you choose to do so. And while you’re at it, go see the world. Go get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the cultural differences which make this world so rich. Go and explore the Italian quarter of town you didn’t know your city had (one Canadian friend of mine did this last weekend), go and eat at your local Japanese restaurant and make yourself use chopsticks rather than a fork and laugh when the noodles slip hopelessly between them and splash all the soy sauce on your face... Still haven’t mastered those. Go and be the other and realise, differences are GOOD.

 

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