Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No more room to push people away

It used to be that when people weren’t happy with the way things were, they could get up and move.  If the official religion was to their liking, they moved.  If they didn’t like the people in office or the way the government was run, they moved and started their own. 

This was the reason the Europeans came to the New World other than to find wealth or follow wanderlust.  People from a religious sect that was being persecuted in the “Old World” came to this new land.  They set up their own communities and declared their religion the official one.  There were waves of them each finding a beach to settle.  Of course, they had to push a few Native Americans around, and, in the end killing more than a few.  But, each group made themselves a home and could dictate what the cultural norms were in their stretch of real estate.
Soon, the coast became too crowed.  People were bumping into each other and religious and social conflict arose.  The early settlers than began to move inland, pushing even deeper into territory they convinced themselves was rightfully theirs.  Before long, Americans moved deep into the west.  There they found plenty of resistance from the Native Americans and the Spanish who moved up from Mexico into the southwest and California.  Wars were fought and people died, all in the name of freedom and expansion.

Well, we have run out of room to explore, conquer and declare our own.  Now, there are all kinds of people living in the same space, especially here in America.  Religions, cultures and personalities are bumping into each other.  We can’t expect the same old solutions, that everyone conform or go find your own piece of real estate.  There is nowhere for anyone to move. 
This isn’t happening to just one small town.  It is happening across America.  What was once a country made up of states with hundreds of small communities, is now one big market. 

Our reactionary instincts that are being articulated by many of our more conservative politicians are asking us to save the country of old.  They are asking, demanding, that we dampen down the errand cultures that have invaded our communities (or worse yet, have been home grown by liberals that want to destroy America) and force everyone to conform to an idealistic America that somehow got lost.  Just vote for them and they will fix what is wrong with America, as if there is something wrong, and return us to the glory days of old.  What, to again return to the days when we explored, conquered and then declared someone else’s land our own – to make room for more freedom?
We can’t do that anymore.  It won’t work, as if it really worked in the past.  Look at the Trail of Tears and tell me that by moving the errand cultures out of our idealistic American communities made us a better land, a better culture.

It’s not stiff backs that stand up to change that we need, it is acceptance and tolerance.  Even if it was right in the past to push cultures and religions that challenge the local norms out of the community, it isn’t the solution now.  There is no place to run anymore.  (There wasn’t then, but to cover all the people that were killed and cultures that were destroyed in this blog would have lost focus on the direct point.)  There does need to be standards – people can’t be harmed.  But what harm comes from allowing people to express their own personalities and that of their religion and culture in a peaceful way?
None, is the answer, none.  The better way is to learn from all the other cultures that live around us. 

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