What has become of the America I grew up in? I have never seen this country so fragmented, so fractured. Not ever.
Not during Watergate; not during Vietnam. Not even during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. Sure, there was division then, but not like this.
It’s almost tribal, and the tribes are split into so many pieces! And if you believe what you see on Facebook, most of those tribes hate each other.
It’s never been like this.
Sometimes it feels like we are split into those who are just plain angry and those who are oppressed and angry at their oppressors. So much of it seems centered around the desire for simple respect and civility.
Why can’t we be nice to one another? Why can’t women wear what makes them feel pretty or confident without fear of being harassed or worse?
Why can’t African-American men drive to a friend’s house without fear of being pulled over and harassed or shot because of the color of their skin?
Why do our own Dallas police officers have to wear less protective gear instead of the kind that would have saved five lives in July 2016, because they worry that the mere appearance of that type of equipment may incite violence?
Why can’t we love each other?
Life is too short, too precious and just too damn hard already.
I believe part of the problem is a lack of time plus information overload. We just don’t have time to figure out WHY football players are kneeling during the anthem. It’s so much easier to just hate them for doing it.
We don’t know that maybe the person trying to get around you on the freeway that you are blocking like a NASCAR driver might be someone like my dad who was racing to the emergency room with chest pains (yes, he was having a heart attack).
A woman who seemed distracted or rude to you today may have found a lump in her breast this morning in the shower and was just scared to pieces.
Why can’t we understand that each of us leads a life that has joy, sorrow, triumph and tragedy? Can’t we just give each other the benefit of the doubt?
Yeah, I’m liberal, and while I strongly support a woman’s right to choose, I’m not “pro-abortion.” I really don’t think anyone is. It’s a hard decision, but unless you are that woman, it’s not yours to make.
I don’t care what religion you espouse; no one is trying to take it away from you. I will fight anyone who does.
But making a cake for the day when/if Katie and I decide to get married doesn’t threaten your ability to worship as you please. Why can’t you just bake the cake and wish us well?
A doctor provided care for me when I needed five stitches earlier this year, although the state of Texas has made it legal for him to refuse me medical care because I’m transgender. I am really glad he didn’t, and I really hope others won’t, because when I get cut, I bleed — just like you do. And I hurt.
When someone is hurt, where is our compassion? I’ve seen so many “Me, Too” posts, and it breaks my heart. I want to cry for each of them. And for the record, “Me, Too.”
But I have also seen enough posts from men who try to minimize the experiences of women, or to say “Not All Men.”
Yeah, but that changes the narrative: Women have been hurt — our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends. In the face of that hurt, are there really any arguments good enough to preserve the status quo?
Why can’t we love and respect our women?
Burger King ran an interesting anti-bullying ad that is similar to the show on ABC, What Would You Do?” They used actors to portray high school-age kids in a Burger King restaurant who were bullying and humiliating a younger, smaller classmate while diners looked on, for the most part, doing nothing.
At the same time, the food made for these bystanders was smashed and torn up, then wrapped up and served, looking like a giant fist had been pounded into the middle of the burger. (A worker actually had punched the food, in fact.).
Ninety-five percent of the diners had some pretty strong words about their 99-cent hamburger being “bullied,” but only 12 percent of people thought a helpless kid was worth speaking up for.
What have we become as a country?
This isn’t a gay-or-straight thing. It’s not a black-or-white thing, a Christian-or-Muslim thing, a liberal-or-conservative thing.
Spirited discussion? Count me in. Disagreements? Sure, but let’s keep them civil, respectful and coming from a place of love for our fellow Texans and fellow Americans. To me, that’s what makes America great.
It’s a big country, there is room for all of us. But there is no room for hatred.
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.