As it often does, Billy's blog made me think. He is almost young enough to be my son and yet, he wrote of some of the same human development (or lack thereof) issues that frequently make me toss and turn and mumble to myself.
Youth is the time, it seems, when that lack of awareness is expected, if not forgiven. When I was in my 20s, I didn't care about politics or human rights or health insurance - I was in THE ARTS, too busy traveling the world bringing the light of dance into places I never would have seen but for Hubbard Street Dance Company. I was fat, sassy and invincible.
Now, at the age of 53, I know more about how our government works (or doesn't), more about how bodies age (for better or for worse) and more about the gaps in the way people perceive and respond to their specific realities while ignoring or dismissing the realities of others. Sometimes I just want to find the biggest Mr. Microphone in the world and yell, "STOP IT!!!" at the myriad of people perpetrating what I consider to be heinous acts of stupidity, lunacy, hatred, and needless violence.
But there's the rub. My Divine Guides have taught me that if there's one lesson we all have to learn in order to evolve, it is NOT TO JUDGE THE BEHAVIOR OF OTHERS BY STANDARDS OF OUR OWN. I struggle with it every day when I see a pack of teenage boys with their ass cracks hanging out, TRYING to be offensive as they shove past me on the sidewalk; when I stand in line at the grocery store and watch a woman slap her crying child; when I hear someone who knows better resort to the use of double negatives; when a scraggly homeless guy follows me home making obscene requests; when I have to beg my landlord repeatedly to fix the toilet, the shower, the sink and the electricity in an apartment I pay almost half my income for; when I am forced to endure the ear-splitting cacophony of some jerk in a convertible who thinks the world wants to hear what he calls "music." And on and on and on. This is not a lesson of "cultural competency" or ideology of any kind. It is a human lesson. It's the lesson Barack Obama is trying to teach two men, who have BOTH been racists, today over a beer. If you're human, you need to learn it. And until we all do, the human mass consciousness will continue to keep calling it back to us.
And yet, can't we be capable of using our ability to judge others and their behavior choices for the greater good? Instead of allowing ourselves to be forced into compliance with the arbitrary rules of "political correctness," wouldn't it serve humanity better if we looked at the elements of so-called "culture" and agreed that the ones that create forces that hold us back from realizing our human potential be eliminated? Could we not ALL agree that the "culture" of materialistic acquisition in America is something that needs to be deleted from our national lexicon? Is the black and Latino "culture" of gang intimidation and violence something that should be accepted and respected? Is the current youth culture of using "texting" language and replacing books with constant video images really serving the next generation well? Is the culture of entitlement and dependency on government resources over personal responsibility and a good work ethic ever going to advance the lives of those living in poverty? In the HIV/AIDS community, is the fear of disclosure and the submission to stigma ever going to do anyone any good?
None of us are perfect, obviously. But for those of us who have a conscious awareness of making progress through the course of our lives, I say it's past time for us to bow to the lowest common denominator, the most ignorant, the least progressive. If we continue to do so, we will have no one but ourselves to blame when a more advanced civilization looks in on us, sees millions of us breathing through our mouths as we gaze, zombie-like, at "I Survived a Japanese Game Show!" and vaporizes us instantly.
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