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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Voice

One Voice
Before Columbus, before the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving the New World was a country of many languages. With every tribe of natives was another language spoken. Those languages have long since drifted to silence and we no longer hear them echoing on the winds of the world.
Yet today, America is still a nation of many languages. Immigration is not a new concept, a sudden happening on the shores or the borders of our lands. Immigration is as ancient as travel itself.
Just as the tribes and families of natives; fought for position and ownership of their lands from each other, and then from the new comers, we find ourselves taking a stand. And just like them we are conflicted by the barriers of language.
Everyone wants a common language, a constant. As we teach our ways and our views to the world we must also be willing to listen and to learn theirs. This cannot be done without common ground. As we all struggle to hear and to be heard let us not forget that with understanding comes acceptance and only through acceptance can we find that place of compassion and tolerance.
If my Irish family members wish to speak the ancient language of our heritage I say “tha” , if those of Hispanic descent wish to speak the language of their heritage I say ‘claro’, if the children of the Sioux tribes wish to express themselves in their native tongue to them I also say ‘ai’. However if the world wants to continue to deny ourselves a common ground, a place of understanding then in my German heritage I say ‘nine’!
I have a group of friends and we don’t agree on many things. One says she’s not a racist yet she thinks of every Hispanic in the grocery store as an ‘illegal immigrant’. I have a friend, he’s a veteran of long ago, he too says he is not a racist yet he views every Asian as an enemy. I have a friend who is a veteran of another kind of war and he too claims not to be a racist, yet he sees every easterner as a potential terrorist.
Why do I call these people my friend? Because we share one common thread, the common thread of language that allows us to share our varied view points and express our position. This common thread of language allows me to understand them. I do not have to agree with them, which I often do not, but because of language I can understand them and accept their right to a varied opinion.
Claiming one language as a universal language is not an attempt to discriminate or allow for prejudice. One language allows for each of us a voice. A voice that can be heard. A voice that can bring with it understanding, compassion and acceptance of our differences.
What can we do? When we find ourselves angered by the voices we do not understand, when we find ourselves frustrated by the barriers of speech we must take responsibility and we must teach the universal language to those who cannot speak it. We must offer patience and encouragement to those that struggle to become one of us
Like our ancestors, they come to us today for the promise of a better way of life. They come for the promise of greater things. Yet, Immigrants of today are not like those of long ago. They do not come to take our way of life from us. They do not come to destroy our belief systems. They do not come to force us into their way of life. They come instead to be one of us. They come to embrace the freedoms we take for granted. They come to be an AMERICAN.
So this Thanksgiving let us not only be thankful for all that we have, but let us be thankful for all that our country allows us and make a promise to keep the promise alive!
We must come together as a country. We must come together upon common ground.
It is only with ONE voice can we as a country embrace its diversity. It is only with ONE voice will we as a country Lead the world, and it is only with ONE voice that we as a country can move forward.

t.r mugler 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Triangle or the Square

Iowa's Asphalt
Labels, categories, slots, boxes, corners, identities, sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, political beliefs, blah blah blah!
Our society is so hell bent on labels and categorizations that anything unable to fit perfectly in one place or the other cannot be dealt with.
Some people are feminine but not female, some masculine but not male. Some have disabilities, but all have abilities. Some people believe in a god, some in many. Some stand for something, others fall for anything.
For these people society can not find a place for them, a place they can neatly put them. A box they can hide them in, a corner to stuff them. Instead society takes their turn degrading them, oppressing them, raping them emotionally and mentally. They try to force them into place, like a child with a sorting toy, trying to cram the triangular piece into the square compartment. It’s similar to the square, but different.
Our society has become so adamant and obsessed with sorting and segregating our society. From oranges to apples and people to genders they act as though without the power and ability to sort no one can function.
Are we so ingrained with the expectations of what is thought normal that none of us can see past the package and hold what is inside? I dare dream NOT.
Yet everyday reverberates with the headlines of the world. “Hate crime takes two lives”, “Boy left to die on fence post”, “Employees file sexual harassment suit”, “President seeks an amendment to ok discrimination”, “Stem cell research banned; no cures allowed”, and the list goes on. Whether it is the actual headline or a story between the lines, prejudice, racism, sexism, all of it, are alive and well here in the United States.
We must take the insults, the hate, the non-understanding and reclaim it, make it our own and in doing so we remove the negativity, the hurt, the shame, the tears and the loneliness.
We as a society have to stand up and reclaim ourselves, our world and our way of life. We need to resist the norm, and refuse to subscribe to the blatant separations and categorizations of our friends, lovers, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. We need to stop the insanity of sorting human beings like they are no more than inanimate objects to be used and thrown away. We don’t need words to explain ourselves into someone else’s understanding. We need only be, be who we are, express ourselves and just be.
With living comes understanding, with love and compassion comes acceptance. The dictionary cannot tell you who I am. The almighty Webster cannot even begin to recite where I have been, where I am going, and all the reasons why. Words alone cannot describe a persons self.
When asked if you are heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, transsexual, trisexual, or republican, democrat, independent, white, black, Hispanic, Indian, Jewish, Christian, pagan, Muslim, or disabled, handicapped, handi-capable, able, limited, challenged, male or female how about just loudly proclaim “I am me”!
I am a member of the human race. I owe no one anything. I do not have to explain myself to anyone. I am here, you are there, we both breath, we both dream, we both aspire to do and be great things. We are the same, but different. We are the triangle and the square.
t.r mugler2002