BY SHARON MARTIN
The travel writer had just returned from Iran and he was relating the beauty of the country, its architecture, its culture and friendly people. The people of a country, he said, should never be confused with the rulers of a country.
People the world over have similar hopes and dreams. They love their families. They ponder the big philosophical questions. So it is in our own country.
Whether we are Southerners or Yankees, regardless of skin tone and culture, we are all more alike than different. It’s the differences that keep things interesting. It’s the differences that make us fearful.
Water seeks its own level. So do people. Chances are your neighbors are a lot like you. Your friends are probably similarly employed, housed, and educated.
This can affect whom you like, what you fear, and how you vote. It is getting to know the other that is important.
How do you know how it feels to be food insecure if you’ve never been? How do you wrap your mind around joblessness or understand foreclosure if finances have never been a worry? How does anyone know what it’s like to be afraid to walk down the road or to go to school if one has always been a part of the in crowd?
Sure, in America, poor people can become rich if they have brains, luck, and fortitude. One can move up, move across the tracks. More often than not, however, where we start and what we start with determines where we’ll end up.
America shouldn’t be an “I’ve got mine, now you get yours” sort of country.
No one should have to wait for care that keeps him healthy and productive. If you’ve been denied coverage, you know that the Affordable Care Act is a good thing. Understand. It isn’t enough that only some of us have access.
Everyone deserves a place to belong, a safe place to sleep at night, and food on the table. Understand a hand up.
We all need an education that makes us employable and gives us purpose. Understand that public education is the bedrock of democracy. It deserves the tax dollars that we all throw into the kitty.
The future of America depends on understanding. For want of empathy, our great country can be lost. Maybe it’s time for some of us to travel across town and get to know the people on the other side.
Travel is the enemy of hate.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer