I am continually amused, and bemused by the concerns that are given as the reasons we need to be fearful of change.
I get them, you get them ... we all do, from our families, friends, Facebook "friends, workplace colleagues and from the media.
Fear of difference, fear of change.
So it occurs to me to ask what it is, precisely, that people are afraid of and there are a whole bunch of questions.
Let's sidle carefully past the orange thing, because that really is scary!
Why are you afraid of gay people?
There appears to be a genuine fear that somehow teh gay will negatively impact the lives of those not gay. This I fail to understand, so help me out. Do they perform tasks less well? Are gay people some kind of National Security threat? Would two people getting married negatively impact on my own marriage?
I don't see it at all. I am a guy, married to a woman and hounded by five kids and three cats. Sure, it gets ugly at times but my burden would not be increase because Jack and Dave next door are married, nor would my joy at my family life be diminished.
It wouldn't even affect the sales of wedding outfits. I mean ... no dress for Jack and Dave, but Layla and Dee bought one each ... it's revenue neutral. In every way I can think of this is one area where no one, not government, church or nosy neighbors should be poking their sticky beaks.
If it is simply the case that you are revolted by the idea of gay people having sex, then I suggest that is your problem, not theirs. You don't spend your life thinking about the sex your straight neighbors might be enjoying, do you?
If teh gay are stirring people up, the changing demographics are really freaking them out.
I believe that the White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant population of New York City (WASP) is actually a tiny minority. Traditionally this small group has controlled the power in that city, but that is changing. Indeed it may have already changed even if the WASPs have much of the wealth. Yet it is also true that many Americans, and not just New Yorkers, consider NYC to be truly one of the worlds great cities.
So is it possible that the growing minority groups in, for example, Texas may change that state for the better? NYC became a great city because it is one of the worlds greatest melting pots. It didn't sink to the lowest common denominator, it rose to incorporate the best of the people who shaped that place.
We are a nation of immigrants. I myself am one of them and no one, not even my youngest daughter, appears to be all that scared of me. It might be because I am white!
So my question to the white people is a simple one. Why are you scared of becoming a minority? You would still be the same person with all of your strengths. White is a skin color, not a species. Or might it be that you know that white people are advantaged, and that non-whites are discriminated against?
Could it be that you are scared that the new majority might treat you the way they have been treated? If that is the case, do you feel no shame?
The Criminal Justice Test:
This "test" doesn't actually exist, so I am inventing it that you may better judge your own attitudes to race, and racial integration.
Suppose you were charged with a criminal felony, and are due to be tried. You are white and generally assured of a decently fair trial under the system we currently employ. Yes, I know this is a generalisation.
On the morning of the trial the jury is empaneled ... and everyone of them is black! How do you feel now?
If you feel the slightest discomfort then I suggest that you do a little soul-searching. For generations, black men have faced the reverse of this situation. They have argued until they were blue in the face that this was unrepresentative and prejudicial. Those arguments have been rejected almost out of hand in many, many courtrooms ... even when we actually know that prejudice and racism is real.
It is unconscionable to feel regrets at your black jury if you have never raised your voice against all-white juries, and understood that the egregious civil rights violations were happening, and continue to happen.
The War on Women:
Why is this even happening? Why are politicians concerning themselves with more regulation that is gender specific and, at the same time, refusing to support measures aimed at extending equality?
I get that you don't much care for abortions. Allow me to let you into a little secret ... Neither do I! No one in their right minds wishes to see the number of terminations of pregnancy do anything but fall. Quite honestly, the more you are involved with your fellow citizens, the faster you would like to see the abortion numbers decline. As a man I cannot fathom the sense of loss and grief a woman must go through before making this tough decision ... and after ... What I do know is that they need our understanding and support. What they do not need is our elected leaders judging and dis-approving.
The way to reduce abortions is not to ban them. Prohibition is almost never the answer to anything very much. As in every other sphere of life, this is market driven. If women need abortions, they will get abortions and no amount of ridiculous laws will do anything other than kill more women, or harm more children. There is no "trickle down" to social policy any more than there is to economics.
The way to reduce abortion is to increase choice. You do that through the general raising of living standards for all, better education (including sex ed.), and freely available contraception. If you want to increase the unwanted pregnancies in teens, then you might try reducing sex education to "abstinence only", and go from there.
If our society has done all the correct things, and some women still find themselves making this extremely difficult decision, then it is none of your business other than to ensure that the process is as painless and supportive as we can make it.
This one cracks me up!
You think that one day you might be rich too? Well so you might, but I would suggest that maybe oh, I dunno, about 99% of people who think like that never will be. Almost everyone is born into a socio-economic strata, and dies in it. The reason is simple. Our economy can afford a few very wealthy people and yes, it is possible that you could become one of them. However, what it cannot afford is for everyone to be so advantaged. The economy would collapse and 99% would end up relatively less wealthy, just like they are now. It's arithmetic ... surely you paid attention in 5th Grade?
So we ask the wealthy to contribute just a little more in these straightened times. You would think that the sky fell in! Do you really think that those folk will not still be wealthy even after they help out another three or four percent? Honestly? You think that will bankrupt them?
Surely a more pertinent question would be to ask them why they are not prepared to help. It's not like they would even miss the money, they don't actually spend most of it. They put it in Trust Funds to help raise the next generation of entitled kids. It's utterly selfish, and you are concerned about their well-being. Just how concerned do you suppose they are about yours?
Another little test ..... To earn a gross income of $500 000 (not even close to the wealthiest), you have to gross over forty THOUSAND dollars a MONTH! Think about your own income for a moment, and what you might do with $40k per month. Would you feel unable to contribute just a few percent of that to your neighbor who can't feed the kids?
This is not Robin Hood ... or Communism. It is basic, human decency.
These really are the things that worry people. I see it and hear it everyday. They couch it in all kinds of coded phrases, but the reality is that they are scared of change, and hide from that change by trying to impose yet more restrictions on us all. Then they complain about government intrusion.
I have one last question for those folk:
In my life I embrace change, and revere difference. As a consequence I am happy. I have little in the way of material wealth, but I find that the older I get, the less I need. Sure there are things I'd like to do, and a little more disposable income would help. A little more, that is all, and that's not an unreasonable ambition.
My question is to all those who spend their time resenting and hating the change we seek.
What do you feel like inside, as you go about your daily lives? How do you deal with the bitterness?