*please note all links contained within are to supporting documents of statements made*
It is impossible to turn on the news without hearing some absurd happening within communities of these united states. Trivial things turned vicious, ignorance turned deadly, and tolerance turned intolerant. The number of stories have increased tremendously especially over the last 8 months. It seems as if there is something America has forgotten. A phrase, saying, and steadfast pillar of peace and tolerance; practice what you preach, treat others how you want to be treated, turn the cheek, or even bite the bullet. The amount of specific examples where this phrase or collection of phrases could have been used to promote peace is astounding. Following are a few examples.
In 2011 Florida state highway trooper Donna Watts arrested a Miami police officer who while driving a marked police car led her on a high-speed pursuit for over four minutes with speeds topping 120 mph on the highway. After the arraignment and judicial procedures the arrested officer lost his job. Though he broke the law, other law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies searched police archives (privileged information) to find her address and contact information in order to harass her.
If the other police men and women took a second and said, “practice what you preach,” they would have found no need to try and intimidate an officer who was actually doing what they are all sworn in to do. Maturity would have allowed this phrase to enter their minds before they reacted blindly. It also should have stood as a testament to the fact that they are not above the law. Of course there are many other current situations where this applies to the cops as well, so please, officers start asking yourself if you are practicing what you preach.
LGBT community and supporters
We all know the fight for equality has been difficult but has seen some amazing steps forward with the repeal of DOMA and Prop8, along with the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell. The past few years have been great, there is still, however, a very real struggle underway. In some places the fight is going backward. Let’s think Memories Pizza in Indiana. They refused to make pizza for a gay wedding. It is their constitutional and living right to choose who they serve. If they decide they want nothing to do with it, try some other business, or think of some other cuisine. The backlash created for this family run business is sickening. If we allowed the phrase, “treat people the way you want to be treated,” to run through our minds this wouldn’t have happened.
No we don’t want to be looked down upon, or berated for who we are, so why would we do that to someone else. Just because their beliefs don’t align with what the rest of the world is trending toward doesn’t give us, the same people who only recently have made some serious milestones, the right to tear their business to shreds.
Those screaming RACISM!
It will be a very dark page in the history books when the stories of Ferguson, Garner, and many more hit them. It is a time in America when we can say that unfortunately racism still exists. It is with all of my heart that we can get this to go away, but it won’t if the reactions continue to be less than appealing. There is no need to shoot and kill an innocent officer because of the color of his skin. There is no need to attack and refer to all police as killers. If it weren’t for the police force we would be in a world that stinks way worse than it does right now. So even in these rough times, when it seems there is new evidence being turned out about some other wrong doing every single day, we should be asking ourselves, can we “treat others the way we want to be treated?” Racism exists, yes, but we need to be able to come together and live life devoid of the ignorance that creates the terrible idea called racism. You may never know when you meet someone that’s racist, but as long as you hold true to yourself and let your light shine, you may never know who you converted away from it either.
I don’t know your story, nor will I ever, but the color of ones skin doesn’t equal the caliber of human you may perceive them to be. In a clear, unaltered news story that recently came up a few Florida police officers were fired because of the slanderous way they talked about black people. Sure it can be easy to lump individuals together by a common feature, but you are doing yourself one of the worst injustices you can. Don’t be narrow minded and allow yourself to think, “treat others the way I want to be treated.” Who cares what your thoughts are or what you think of people. Do the most human thing and think for a second and treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. It is, after all, ignorance which breeds intolerance.
The Unyielding Religious
It doesn’t matter what religion you are, most religions preach peace and love. Yes there are certain abominations, but it is also up to God, Allah, or whatever god you pray to, to judge those in abomination. So keep that in mind when you want to judge someone for the way they are. Recently a lawyer in California, who claims to be Christian, posed a ballot that encourages homosexuals be punished by a “bullet to the head.” This is an extreme case, but in every day life you will run into someone who’s views or life you don’t agree with. It is already stated in the bible that you aren’t to judge anyone, but leave that for God. So why can’t you say to yourself a phrase taken from your book, the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)
To Those crying No Immigration!
Recently President Obama went out of his way to pass a law that would allow illegal aliens to gain citizenship in the United States. This was a double edged sword. If the people didn’t meet all the criteria chances are they could be deported back to their country. Some of you reading this may be happy about that, but I ask you, where did you descend from? In 2013 only about 2% of Americans were native, which means your family came from somewhere else. We are constantly flooded with reports on how immigrants get a free ride, let me tell you this is false. Understandably there is concern about foreign criminals and such reaching our soil and staying, but the government has many practices in place to limit that from happening. So think about those families who want to come here and are willing to take the jobs you don’t want, along with another, just to make ends meat and support a family away from said criminal and brutal activity. Practice what you preach. If it weren’t for immigrants chances are you wouldn’t be here.
There are many groups that weren’t touched on here but the point of the essay is to increase the internal dialogue of everyone. This is America, home of the free. Of course there will people that don’t agree on one topic, life, religion, or creed. That’s the point. Take that and realize we are merging into a new era, a new generation, and the last thing we need to be guilty of is creating a hostile environment for our young ones, let alone our neighbors and ourselves. We are united with the respect of each living person, glorified in the knowing that we can live harmoniously together.
There will be times when the simple phrase, treat others as you would like to be treated, will go to the way side especially when someone threatens what we all stand for. An enemy of our rights. A true threat to the freedom that we have to be able to argue about such values. But when it comes to person to person, neighbor to neighbor, community to community we must stand united with a respect to each human to have their own thoughts, beliefs, life, and religion. This is America. These are our fundamental truths that we must not let pass.
May God Bless America!
Caleb A. Mertz