Tuesday, November 13, 2007

taking time to stop and read the signs

we have a friend (who shall remain nameless to protect his identity) who said one time that he finds it much easier to hold on to all kinds of stereotypes and generalizations because it just doesn't require him to think much....i actually think he said it freed him from having to think so much. he also said that he learned this in the armed services, but i want to clarify that this is just what HE said and in no way reflects my opinion...but i did find it interesting.

because his statement about stereotypes struck me as very unusual. see, when i come across an area that i'm having a hard time in, and realize it's because i'm generalizing or stereotyping, i'm kind of mortified and feel like it's so hard sometimes to realize where all of our thought processes come from and weed out the ones that just aren't helping things any. and then this friend goes and says that and all of a sudden i'm pulled through the looking glass...challenged to look at the issue from the other side...a side i'd never really even considered the existence of.

a mama on a board i'm on posted a question about peace activists holding up signs at a veteran's day parade. their signs said things like, "peace is patriotic," "wage peace," "thank you, veterans," "honor the warrior, not the war," "full funding for vet's benefits," and "honor our troops--bring them home safely." i don't know if this is offensive. i can't know everyone at the parade and how they would interpret this...what experiences they bring to the interpreting. i can say that i don't personally find anything offensive about these sentiments, and even find them very appropriate for an event centered on supporting veterans. but would i carry them? would i have faith that those around me would understand my good intent? and if i don't, then what am i bringing to the table in the way of my own expectations?

see, there have been times in my life that i really, really WANTED the easy answer. that i wanted to just go with my gut, if my gut was kind enough to give me a twinge one way or another. but there's some part of me that says whatever i THINK i should do, i should probably consider the other option. i used to think it was self-doubt to the core. but then my dh asked me how i grew up to be the woman that i am, well, out of the life that i lived. and it wasn't a terrible life. but it's not one i'm going to volunteer my children for either... and i guess i realize that part of who i am is someone who has always had an inner compass. and while it may take me awhile to decide what to do...and it may look like i'm not doing anything...or when i do, it just isn't pretty (i have some mama friends who could back me up more than i'd probably want on this one)...but it's there. and thinking each thing through isn't easy. it's really, really hard. (not that i'm saying a life with stereotypes or just plain old quick thinking isn't...i wouldn't know...i don't live that kind of a life)

anyway. it's just an interesting thing to think about. i do have thoughts about why someone might be offended by those signs...but they all involve a lack of faith on my part. and i am not comfortable with that. i want to believe the best in people, be they peace activist or pro-war (and i think veterans would fall in all along that continuum). i mean, i don't want to get my ass kicked or anything....but why would i be afraid of that? why do i feel, somewhere deep down, like signs are less likely to be read at a veteran's day parade than somewhere else?

maybe science could get involved and study who would be more likely to take the time to read signs before reacting emotionally...

i don't know...it's just an interesting thing to think about.... (that's kind of like an echo...)

well, that was a whole lot of rambling. not like i don't give fair warning.... ;)
peace out

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