On the surface what follows may seem antithetical to the theme that we are supposed to be concentrating on this month, that of “Joy”. And, perhaps, it is. I would argue, though, that there may be real, true joy to be found when we can kick the ass out of some of the issues that are currently plaguing our communities, our country, and, yes, even ourselves. And, really, there’s nothing like a good ass kicking to put one in the holiday spirit, is there?
After more than thirty years together I am still sometimes surprised that my husband and I are having the same conversation again. Really it’s not a conversation, it’s an argument, I’ll call it what it is. It could be about how I never exit a car gracefully or quietly. It could be about how I’m terrible with money. It could be about any number of things. My point is that whatever it’s about, we’ve been down that road before. Probably more than either one of us would like to admit.
Still, I’d like to think I’ve gotten better about the issues that we seem to revisit. Sometimes he’ll even admit that I have, but as I’m still a work in progress on the door thing or the money thing or the (fill in the blank) thing he feels the need to mention it yet again. I’m sure that anyone reading this who is now or has ever been in a long-term relationship knows what I’m talking about.
It occurred to me the other day that if Fang and I can’t break out of the mold in our personal relationship, why do I expect that, on a national level, we, as a country, should have been able to move forward on issues that are far more important. Let’s face it, we are still having some of the same conversations that we’ve been having for years.
Still, I expect more from us collectively. I don’t know why, but I do.
Maybe I’m just crazy, but I cannot believe that here in 2014 we are still talking about things like racial equality, gender equality, domestic violence, and gun control. Some days I think that we haven’t evolved at all. Like we’re all still slamming the car door. It’s maddening. More, it’s pathetic and sad. And I worry about our staying power if we can’t get over these hurdles.
We need to stop having conversations and do something about it. Really. I mean it.
It would seem to me that agreeing and putting into practice something as simple as “We are all equal” is a no-brainer. We are. All equal. Really. Except that we’re not. Not really.
People of color are overrepresented in places like jail and in situations like poverty; underrepresented in far too many categories to enumerate here.
Women are actually STILL paid less than their male counterparts and victimized more. Many of them by their significant others.
Domestic violence is on the news every single damn day. Every. Single. Damn. Day.
And the gun thing? Come on, people! Even those of you who carry on about your Second Amendment rights — rights that truly only grant you the privilege of gun ownership if you plan on forming a standing militia to protect yourself and your fellow citizens from tyranny — have to admit that gun violence is out of control. Out. Of. Control.
It all just seems so senseless, doesn’t it?
Could it be as simple as respecting each other? Could it?
I think it could. Sure, Fang and I argue. Who doesn’t disagree with their spouse from time to time? But, I’ll tell you what else we do — when we argue, we do so respectfully. We don’t name call, throw things, or punch each other out. We just don’t. What purpose would that serve?
It would serve no purpose whatsoever.
And guess what? Sometimes I don’t like him much. I’ll bet that road goes both ways.
Maybe you don’t like black people or white people or women or men or your wife or your husband or your children or your neighbor or yourself. That’s fine. Like who you want, but respect the fact that they, too, have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Really. Do that. I mean it.
Who knows? Maybe it would go a long way to ending those conversations that we are still having. Those conversations that I cannot believe we are still having. Let’s just try not to have them anymore, okay? It’s really not that hard to do. Just walk away. That’s what my husband and I do.
Read a book. Watch a television program. But, just shut up already. And put your weapons away. Really.