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This time of winter when shoveling snow has lost most of its fun appeal my thoughts stray to climes of balmier appeal. I wave at log trucks. I do this out of respect from having seen them on the road early and late in all kinds of weather hauling logs they’ve carefully loaded. I know some environmental types shun loggers as despoilers. That’s incorrect. Loggers I’ve known have shown a deep feeling of appreciation for the forests. They care. It is a very small act of recognition to wave. I don’t need to know the driver to recognize their contribution. I wave also because I’m glad to not be the one behind the wheel. I don’t think I’d handle the demands of the job or do them very well. My wave carries appreciation for others doing work I can’t perform.
The political climate (on both sides) of late has reminded me of the Mark Twain quip from long ago that ‘Nothing needs reforming as much as other people’s habits.’ I meet lots of folks who live strictly according to that precept.
Have you ever noticed that people who bring up the inquisition in a discussion sound like they’d happily impose their own form of heresy regulation? Every winter reminds me there is someone in Detroit I’d like to go and assassinate. That is the person who decided the car heater and defroster intake should lay flat under the wiper area where the maximum of snowy wet can get sucked into the interior. A partial remedy comes from pre warming the vehicle. I did that the other day and got a whole three miles before some blob of wet shook loose, hit the heater core, and fogged the windscreen as if I needed privacy for a shower. Have you ever noticed the face some people perpetually wear of looking like they’d lost $10,000 but won a turkey in a charity raffle? The expression somewhat reminds me of a neighbor we had in Chicago who looked like he’d just run head-on into a wall and enjoyed it. He could never quite understand why others didn’t relish bouncing off brick walls as he did. Maybe you’ve met him. If so you’ll know he takes marked offense if you hand him a football helmet. It’s for his own good, of course, but he still doesn’t like it.
As I got older I began to take it as a serious sign when a dog takes an instant dislike to a person. I don’t mean guard dogs or ones made vicious by an owner. A typical pooch getting its back hairs up over an individual is as telling a sign as is the person who hates dogs. Considering the many varieties of dog its likely canines were domesticated a very long time ago. Our two species have a history. A dog’s reaction probably has a solid ten thousand years of experience backing it up. Might be worth heeding; if a dog doesn’t trust someone why should I? I like the idea behind social justice, but too often the meeting I’ve attended turn more toward the social judgment area. They’re really not the same.
Remember the bad ol’ days when Sheriff Jim-Joe of Nottingham followed his own slant on the law of the land? Sanctuary cities and campuses follow that pattern, but I doubt they’d appreciate the comparison.
Diversity is good, but it definitely is not simple. To show my point I’ve devised a little diversity quiz. Take four people one is in identifiably religious attire, another wears ethnic dress, the third is in casual wear, and the fourth wears a US military uniform. Now let’s review what is multicultural or diverse. The overall group could be called diverse, but its parts could represent anything but. The easiest to question is ethnic dress. Worn to separate one’s self from others this can be a mark of division. You and I can’t change ethnicity, so this can be very exclusionary and not diverse at all. Religious garb calls attention to some distinction or other allowing identification of followers and possible discrimination.
People do not dress religiously differently to be diverse. There is a reason behind it that separates or divides. Casual street dress by not identifying any particular cultural or belief identity could be show diversity if the person is actually accepting of others and is not simply doing a civilian version of the other two. The wearer of military uniform is sworn to protect the other three and in my view steps well forward as functionally or actually most representative of diversity. Of course those who feel wearing a military uniform is fascist will not likely agree, but they’ll find out who is on their side when someone else’s religious or cultural or political supremacy has them in its sights.
Have you ever notice the special sneering tone used when some people remark on the faith or beliefs of others? Having classes or groups needing protection from possible offense seems to ignore individuality. Does this not stick the individual with a problem? If I cannot step aside or out of a designation put on me I think I’m being demeaned and limited. Protecting others can be a commendable act, but it carries the risk of treating others as inferiors incapable of facing the ordinary challenges of being human. Protector knows best isn’t much different from saying father knows best. Changes in wording do not alter how things work or the ways in which individuals can rise above a circumstance. If someone reacts to you or I as a victim or treats us as a protectorate we are being seriously diminished by being thought incapable of handling things. The placing of individuals in protected classes or groups may not be as helpful as we’d wish. Trying to protect an idea or belief as if it was a person turns something that was merely questionable into a truly bad idea.