There have been many examples of "hate speech" reported in the press. There seems to be zero tolerance for "hate speech", even though America's Bill of Rights theoretically protects peoples' right to make speeches in favor of whatever they want, whether or not it would be considered hateful to other people.
I'm not here to defend Nazi's or the Ku Klux Klan or others who raise the public ire. However, I thought it might be nice if people started using "love speech" as an antidote to "hate speech". For example, instead of denouncing the posting of swastikas on a temple, news stations could cover people voicing their support for tolerance and the love of their neighbors.
In reponse to an article in the Washington Post about a former German camp guard at Ravensbruck facing up to her past:
The trouble with making the decision to resist as an individual is the
knowledge that most people don't believe they can make a difference.
That's why soldiers are trained to obey orders without question. We
don't want them deciding on their own that there is no point in taking
the hill. We don't want them deciding not to give their lives until
they find something meaningful to do. We want them to trust our
officers and follow their orders.
Yet we still ask them to retain enough humanity to be able to pull back
and not slaughter surrendering prisoners, not to do things to
facilitate criminal actions.
I do not want to forgive this woman, yet I cannot completely condemn
her. At least she has enough bravery to face up to where she was and
admit something of what she did. She has learned about what happened
and has sympathy for the victims. Asking for forgiveness is far more
than most of her generation have done.
I don't think that I always stand up against injustice when it is
directed against others. I am not ready to risk giving up my life to
possibly save others. I admit to being somewhat of a coward in that
regard. I have stuck up for friends in the past when they were unfairly
accused. I have tried to intervene in some situations online when
people have made hateful speech. But I am not ready to give up my life
to protect strangers' lives. I tell myself that I have a duty to
protect the interests of my family and can't afford to make such a move.
Still, I'd like to think that when a real challenge comes where I can
make a difference, I would make the right choice. I would probably let
the moment pass while thinking about it. Many of the people who make a
difference go ahead because there is a moment when there is simply
nothing else they can do. Others wait for their chances and never find
them, thinking that as long as they have never done anything
themselves, they are not as completely to blame.
The following was written in response to an email that I received called "Time for God?". (I have published that entry separately.)
Time for good is what I have. I'm not sure what God has to do with it. The email points to Jesus' sacrifice. There are mothers and fathers who make that same sacrifice for their kids every day. There are people giving their lives for other people every day.
If it is God, let him show his face. If this is all his work, let him explain it to us. It is time that he showed his face again.
If it is good, let us be proud of doing what is right, with no thought of benefit or reward. Let us free the birds, feed the hungry, give shelter to the weary, give our shoulder to the crying, and take care of what has been given to us.
It is time that people realize that what is good comes from good people. It does not come from without or from above. It comes from what your parents taught you and the love that they gave you. It comes from the kindnesses that strangers did for you. It comes from the smiles that you earned. It comes from the good that is within you. It comes from the love that you received that you did not earn. You did not deserve it. It was freely given to you by people who cared.
If people stopped thinking of themselves as evil, maybe the churches could be filled again with the people who realize that they can make mistakes but that is is a good thing to be with people who are trying to make things better.
The following was contributed by my girlfriend in response to a particularly vituperative set of emails between a father and a step father and a mother. I may share those postings at some point in the future but this post was very helpful to me.
Stop. Each of you. Think of the kids first. Wanting to protect our partner we love can at times seem the most important thing in the world, but at the expense of the kids?
Having been in the position of being a child of divorced parents (at age 12 is when the split actually occurred), I can so very clearly see this from all sides....the issue of .....is someone a "step", "husband", "wife"....etc. Wanting to protect our point of view....?.... what is the cost?.... Is it worth our feeling of self-righteousness?
What is most important in ALL instances is what is communicated and relayed to the children involved. What is actually perceived by the children is what will be long-lasting.
(my father's wife once said at a gathering that she had "9" children....well, I thought that was very interesting since my mom actually gave birth to "4" of these "9".... I think at the time I was 15. I really resented that comment she made and here it is almost 30 years later and it still makes me cringe.....)
It is important to remember....all a child wants is to be loved, nurtured and to have a feeling of security. Each and every one of these is so very vital to a child's wellbeing. Nothing new here .... to any good parent, but still....there are times that every parent needs to remember that OUR needs are secondary to that of our child's needs, perceptions and feelings of self worth.
Each one of you has valid points (be it with "steps" or other situations I have been aware of....) in so many ways as to what is needed when working through parenting in this day and age with so many adults having extended families through divorce, widowhood, basic life situations....... Communication......Cooperation .....Flexibility.....Maturity.....Good intentions.... Wanting to protect that which we cherish.....
No family is perfect. No situation is always easy to get through. No one person can be expected to always shoulder the "load".
Yes, there are "actual" definitions of the words we use....... Yes, these can be taken in, in many different ways.... interpreted as you see vs. the other party..... Yes, what we say, interpret and do with these words effects the children.
Speak wisely....... always......
Remember the saying...."little pictures have big ears".....? Every time we speak to each other, be it across the dinner table, in (what we think may be) private, in public or on the phone.... the kids hear and internalize everything.... the good... the beneficial.... the derogatory....the painful.... Our kids (yes, mine included....) remember everything at this stage in their lives. It will shape how they view themselves and others with whom they form relationships, be it now or later in life as a partner.
....again.... ...the way in which, as adults, we interact with each other.... will form the basis for the children's relationships....be it now or later in life........ It will.... It does.... It has already started.....don't forget that.
I have tried very hard throughout the past 8 years being a single mother to refrain from "dishing" my ex-husband. It took time, cooperation, communication and a willingness on both our parts to put our children's needs first. Not always easy. We too are human. I can be as stubborn and argumentative as the next person, maybe even more so. It was however, very important that my kids hear what I felt was both sides of a situation, not just my anger or frustration. I heard enough of that through my teen years with my parents. (do you each remember thinking...."I never want to be like that with my kids"....)? Every day... for me.... this can be put to the test.
To be a "step" or not....well, for me as a child it was all in how comfortable I felt when referring to my dad's new wife...... It can be just a word.... (I admit to calling her "Nancy"....vs. anything else....)
It can be just a reference.... (I, as I got older introduced her as my father's wife or Nancy) It does not have to be the beginning and end of it all..... just keep it in perspective..... Throwing names around....hurting each other for the sake of being "right" or "protecting" someone.... is it all worth it?
Well, for the 2 cents my input is worth here.... I hope that each of you (as well as myself when with your children) remembers that our reactions and verbalizations, to even the most (what would seem to us) mundane of comments, is thoughtful of the person we are speaking with and / or about....
Loving your kids should be easy...... Getting along....well, that is a "work in progress" ... ALL the time.... Making it happen should be the first and only priority in our lives as parents.....
........and remember that the kids hear more than we think....and hearing is NOT always what is heard as much as what is perceived..........
The Writer's Almanac®, a daily program of poetry and history hosted by Garrison Keillor, can be heard each day on public radio stations throughout the country. Each day's program is about five minutes long—check your local radio listings for the station and time in your area. Our archive of almanac entries stretches back to 2001.
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give - yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
Literary and Historical Notes:
Today is All Saints Day, and Pope Julius II chose this day in 1512 to display Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the first time. The chapel itself was built about twenty-five years earlier, and various Renaissance painters were commissioned to paint frescos on the walls. It was Pope Julius II who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling.
Michelangelo was 33 years old at the time, and he tried to point out to the Pope that he was known for his sculpture, not his painting, but the Pope wouldn't listen. So Michelangelo used his skills as a sculptor to make the two-dimensional ceiling look like a series of three-dimensional scenes - a technique that was relatively new at the time. It took him four years to finish the job, between 1508 and 1512. He worked from a scaffold 60 feet above the floor, and he covered about 10,000 square feet of surface. Every day fresh plaster was laid over a part of the ceiling and Michelangelo had to finish painting before the plaster dried.
Killing that girl in Boston is the single worst instance of the results of sports hooliganism that I have ever seen.
I am glad to hear that the Boston police are taking responsibility.
But the fans who were causing a ruckus too-- they should be ashamed. They are responsible too. And they must resolve to keep themselves under control in the future.
And the Mayor and management of Boston-- they are the ones who set the policies-- these policies must change TODAY.
Instead of cracking down on alcohol, how about just asking people to stay home from the damn game unless they promise to treat it as a game... No one should live their lives as if it really mattered to them in any way.
Win or Lose-- Celebrate the team's efforts. Promise to do better next year if you lost. Forget about it if you lose. After all, it is just a game. That someone like that girl was killed shows how badly out of control we are as a nation.
Show your support for peace and games and that you take responsibility and that you will work to insure that this kind of thing should never happen again-- Bring a rose to Fenway or to St. Louis to throw on the field for Victoria.
Pictures I have taken in the last few months. These include people I have met campaigning for Ralph Nader, my kids, my friends, people who have helped me for no reason...
All photos are Copyright John Bescherer 2004
Adventures in Matchland I'm 47 and the last year has been the best year of my life. It started off slowly. I got laid off from my job of 13 years but I got a great new job and have met some amazing women through Match.com and Yahoo Personals. Disaster and success stories will abound. Looking for your contributions too.
A Cranky Consumer Complaints about Cingular and other companies offering poor customer service or whose products are shoddy. Also, postings about poorly designed websites and marketing plans. For example, 1-800-Flowers.com sends out email ads on Mondays for products it won't deliver on Mondays.