Sunday, January 22, 2017

Be The Change

Wow, has it really been a year since I posted a blog entry?  Doesn't seem like it's been that long, but that's what the date on my last one tells me.  Many things have happened since my last post, some deserving their own entry, but tonight I wanted to write about something that's been weighing heavily on my heart since yesterday.  I know I'm going to get a lot of flack from this, possibly some hurt feelings and negative comments, but I hope that most of you will understand my view point even if you don't accept it.  If you don't accept it, you can do like I spent part of yesterday doing on all my various social media outlets:  hide posts, unfollow, and even unfriending (in very rare cases).

After the inauguration took place on Friday, the sights of the world were set on various cities throughout the world (mostly this country, though) where women gathered to march.  Depending on what you watched, read, or who you asked, the reason was different.  I'm sure most had their own personal purposes, but the main original reason supposedly was to march to support the rights of women.  Now I, as a straight white male, can never claim to know what it's like to be anything but that.  That doesn't mean that I can't be empathetic towards people, feelings, or causes.  But as I saw pictures, as I read posts and tweets, and as I heard broadcasts, I wondered more and more what the hell this whole movement was trying to accomplish yesterday.  Most were in support of women, but others were displaying completely different agendas.  Some wanted to display their thoughts on climate change.  Others wanted to call our new president names.  Yet others unbelievably dressed up in hats or costumes that looked female anatomy.  I wanted to laugh and smash my head with a brick at the same time.  The thought occurred to me that if any aliens were monitoring our transmissions here on this planet, yesterday was not the day we'd want them to have as a snapshot for representation of our people.

At what point does a protest or movement do more harm to their cause than good?  It's one thing for a group of black Americans to link arms and stage a sit-in at a restaurant where they were not allowed to eat.  It's yet a totally different thing for a woman to wear a "pussy hat" (their words, not mine) while yelling that no one has rights over her uterus.  Last time I checked, I don't want any rights over a uterus.  I've seen how much problems women can have with theirs and I wouldn't have any idea what to do with the rights to one.  I will say that I was glad there were no arrests, which is extremely positive compared to the protests that took place on Inauguration Day.  But "pussy hats"??  Come on!  Before you start sending me comments saying, "Shaun, that wasn't the majority of the people.  Most were there peacefully with tasteful signs.", I know that not everyone acted in the garish manner that was being shown all over media.  However, if I'm with a group of people and one of them starts acting like a complete fool, if I don't say anything that makes me look bad by association.  The women there who were trying to be a positive influence and call attention to their cause should have sent those other women packing.

Most of you know that I have a seven-year-old daughter.  She is beautiful, bright, and has a huge future ahead of her.  It is my job to support her, to encourage her, and love her no matter what she chooses to do.  As long as she applies herself, works hard, and stays confident, she can achieve anything.  I am so grateful for her to be alive in the United States in 2017.  There has been no better time in history and no better country ever in existence for her to be growing up.  I look at other countries around the world today and so many women are suffering.  They're forced into marriages from a young age, forced to wear garments from head to toe that cover them up, treated as second or third class citizens.  In some countries, they look favorably upon allowing spouses to beat them as a form of control.  The United States is not a perfect utopia by any means, but it's still the greatest nation on Earth.  We have some work to do to make it even better, but try living in another country anywhere else in the world and have the same rights you do now.  You'll find it's way more difficult elsewhere.  In America, my daughter has an opportunity at a great life.  After a great education, she can go into any field she chooses.  In no other country can you find as many women in high-ranking positions of authority or held in reverence.  My daughter can be a teacher, a lawyer, a self-employed businesswoman, a CEO of a huge company, she can run for AND BECOME President of the United States...or she can be a *gasp* housewife and mom, if she so chooses.  My wife and I are instilling that confidence in her to make her way and make her choices.  It's up to us to do that, not to rely on a movement to gain attention.  If we do our jobs correctly, there would be no need for feminism.  Self-empowerment, self-reliance, a sense of self-worth...those are truly ideals that should be gender-neutral.

I've had the opinion for a long time that one man (or woman) cannot change the world alone, but through being the change they wish to see they can be an example for others.  Eventually that example can lead to change in the world, but it has to start with making yourself the best person you can be.  It's teaching your children how to be the best they can be, too.  It's telling them that their life can be what they want it to be, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks or does.  The chorus from a song called "The Change" by Garth Brooks has been going through my head the whole time while I've been writing this.  "It's not the world that I am changing.  I do this so this world will know that it will not change me."  Gathering with like-minded individuals who share your thoughts, opinions and agendas to call attention to issues in your neighborhoods, towns, states, country, or world can be a great thing, but I'd rather see one person who stands apart from the crowd, working hard to make a difference and not caring what anyone else thinks, just wanting to do the right thing for themselves, their family and friends, and others.  To me, that's REAL movement.  That's REAL strength.  That's REAL change.

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