From the MOV to Milwaukee

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 07 2012

Just because I think we should lift one another up…

Doesn’t make me a communist, a proponent of class warfare, or a hippie.  I don’t even think it makes me a “liberal”.  I think it makes me a fighter for my fellow man and woman.  Doesn’t that sound much better?


Got it?


Instead of writing in my own journal, I want this to be read.  I’m so, so frustrated.  No, not with Teach for America.  Or with education.  I’m mad at the world.

You see, on Sunday, a gunman killed worshippers at a temple not too far from where I live.  Beyond that, I’ve read article after article talking about gun violence and the politics behind fast-food restaurants.  And while these seem like completely different issues, to me, they all boil down to the same thing.

Some people can’t STAND their fellow human being.  Maybe its because they’re gay.  Maybe they’re a “foreigner” [a term which I love, because, unless you're family traces back to Native Americans, we were all foreigners once].  Perhaps they’re of a different religion, race, or political ideology.  For one reason or another, I’ve noticed that we like to draw lines in the sand of who is “us” and who is “them”.  Whoever is “like” us is “with us”, and to hell with those who are not.  And its upset me more than anything in my life.

I’ve been told that I care too much about the world, and its probably true.  I recognize that this world will never be perfect.  But does that mean that I shouldn’t do everything I can to make it just a little bit better?  To hope that my work will lead one more person to find success or happiness when they’re likely heading for despair?

Of course, I, like everyone, think that my values and beliefs are the right ones.  And if you’re reading this, you at least recognize my right to have them.    So, here they are.

I believe that the Second Amendment was never supposed by interpreted the way we see it now.  I don’t at all understand why weapons capable of killing many people quickly should be marketed, sold, and protected so vehemently.  Shouldn’t we be protecting each other?

I acknowledge the right for anyone to think that homosexuality is a sin.  I also acknowledge the right of fast food CEO to exercise their rights.  I would like to exercise mine by not eating at an establishment that donates to some of the most hateful groups I’ve heard of in the name of God.But even moreso, I put my full faith behind the First Amendment.  No one’s religion should dictate the legal term of marriage.  If you want religion to dominate the government, please, move to Iran.  Or start campaigning for laws the prohibit premarital sex.  Or adultery. Sin is sin in God’s eyes, and I don’t believe that we have the authority to decide what He sees as “more” wrong.  And just one last thing on this.  See, many of my friends are gay.  And that’s great.  I will love them as fiercely as any friend who isn’t.  Because a person is a person.  When we start thinking otherwise, we get ourselves into big trouble.

I believe that just because someone is Muslim doesn’t mean that they’re a terrorist.  Anymore than being a Christian means that I have blue hair or something.  How dangerous an assumption.  I think that we have so much to learn from those of Islamic faith (The Koran refers to Christians and Jews as “people of the book”) and need to understand that affect that Americans have had on their culture and government.  They’re humans, too.

Finally, I think that no one can should EVER judge another person until, as Atticus Finch tells us to do, step in their skin and walk around in it.  We spend so much energy putting each other down–because you’re a minority, because you’re a woman, because you’re gay, because you’re overweight…that we end up alienating the best resources we have to make our world just a little bit better.

This is a rather scattered collection of statements.  But I needed to get them off my chest.  I think that we have so much to offer one another.  Imagine what a world would be like if we (shhh, TFA-ism here) suspended a little judgement.  What if we acknowledged our own shortcomings?  What if we embraced the best in each other?  I’m going to take this from a Christian perspective for a second.  What if we did in fact love our neighbor like God loves us, and let Him be the judge of our fellow human?  I thought that was what I was supposed to do.

Let me sign off  by saying that I’ve witnessed and experienced the best of what humans have to offer.  I’ve experienced compassion, kindness, and the purest form of love on this planet from those closest to me and from complete strangers.  We are capable of so much more that what the news tries to tell me.  I know we are, because I’ve seen it.  And I won’t rest until all the world experiences it.

2 Responses

  1. Connor

    As a writer, I am supposed to be able to put words down that explain how I feel about things. Well, for this post, I can’t. I love it that much. Keep up the great work Emma! You are EXCEL-lent!

  2. BECCA

    Enduring. Thank you for sharing, and I totally AGREE!

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