Like the rest of the country, I’ve been beset with so much thought, pain and regret over the events of the past week. Each one of us has a different way of reacting. While some of us have taken to social media, decrying what happened, yelling out our disappointment in the human race, others like me, have remained quiet. While I’ve discussed it among family and friends, there are things that I’m keen on trying to avoid, aside from the fact that I’m not really the preaching type. Others are better at it than I am, and so I leave that arena open for those who are more adept at word to word combat. Believe it or not, I am highly political. I’ve campaigned for candidates in the past, given my time to various organizations. But I believe that these are all personal matters that I don’t care to discuss in public.
Here’s what I’ve been avoiding. To even pretend that I’ve walked in the shoes of the victims, their families and even the law enforcement officers embroiled in this mayhem is absurd. Because I’ve lived a sheltered life and can never attest to the experiences of the more unfortunate. The persecuted, the maligned. Sure, I’ve seen firsthand how the color of your skin used to matter, and sometimes still does. After all, I grew up in the 70’s, was the only Asian in a private high school in Vancouver, became a wallflower at every school dance, gave birth to three children who despite the fact that they’re no longer alone, are still teased for being different. I’ve combated these differences by over achieving. By teaching my children that they need to make a difference. Accomplish something that the color of your skin can’t mask, do something with your words and your actions, and the colors, they just all fade away. I ran away from home when I was 16, moved back home to my country because I refused not to fit in.
Some people live with the scars of bullying and can’t get past it. I don’t pretend to know how that is.
Second, I don’t think we’re a hopeless race. These acts were committed by people who weren’t well. What we could have done is to help them assimilate into society by recognizing their illness and helping them out. By offering various programs that could help those who are suffering, especially those we’ve asked to fight for our country and then left them alone to deal with their pain.
Those who have come to the conclusion that this country is going to hell, need to get out more. They need to experience the beauty of humanity that is evident each and every day. From the time I leave my house each day, to the hour that I get home late at night, I see it all around me.
The train conductor who believes me when I say that I left my monthly pass at home.
The homeless man who calls me by name on the bridge every day.
The lady who stands on Canal St reading the scripture out loud, through the winter, the spring, the summer and the fall.
The people at work who look out for one another. Loyalty, service, hard work.
The man who stopped his car in the middle of I90 to help me change a flat tire.
There is love and humanity everyday, everywhere.
This is all I will say on the matter. Talk is cheap. Collectively, we can help eradicate small minds and hatred and ignorance by opening our world up to other cultures, other beliefs. You will find that the heart is our saving grace. We all have it. And we all have an innate need to keep our loved ones safe.
Years ago, the boys hung a huge poster of my political candidate on the door to our garage, a running joke in my family. “Thanks for believing in ‘merica, mom!” It said. I have kept that poster on the door ever since. Because I do. I believe in America with all my heart.