At the corner of a very busy intersection was a small gathering of the brightly colored fowl type gossipers. And with them was another who was much more common, not nearly as colorful or spectacular. And yet, there they were all assembled together.
You see, there was a sprinkler watering the grass and part of the sidewalk. It was there that a small pool of water was gathering. And like humans gathered around the breakroom water cooler, these birds were huddled together.
Not being familiar with their language, I don’t know what they were saying to one another. However, I noticed they were all gathered for the same purpose – to quench their thirst. And so, there stood both male and female mallard ducks and the common blackbird.
They weren’t pushing or shoving, taking cuts in line, arguing or bullying each other. Despite their noticeable differences, they were just standing together enjoying the afternoon sun and drinking some water.
So What! You might exclaim.
Even though I’m human, the similarities struck me immediately. Here stood five distinctly different feathered creatures all sharing the same experience. Shouldn’t we be able to do the same? Shouldn’t we be able to assemble together for the same purpose without pecking at each other? Why is this concept so difficult for so many to understand?
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
We can’t go through one day, and sometimes not even an hour at a time, without hearing immeasurable accounts of unnecessary violence, hatred, bullying, prejudice, and judgments of all kinds! And let’s be clear. I’m not talking about principles based upon some religious or philosophical teaching or concept. This is just about being a decent human being. That’s all!
If my neighbor wants to dye their hair bright pink and wear a tutu every day of the week, who cares! What they want to do with their lives and their body is their concern, not mine. If the waitress in a local restaurant has numerous piercings, dozens of tattoos, and is wearing “go-go” boots (yes, I just aged myself), who cares! If they can do their job, then it’s none of my concern (I just want my plate of freshly made pancakes!).
If a close friend of mine decides to practice a different faith which requires them to worship on a different day than myself and they are required to wear overalls with orange socks, who cares! It is none of my concern. It’s not keeping me from practicing my own religious beliefs.
Ridiculous? I Think Not!
Sure, to you and me these may seem like extreme examples, but are they? What one person considers completely acceptable another person finds ridiculous. Well, that’s fine. We don’t have to agree on this. In fact, we don’t have to agree on anything. And that’s my point!!
Let’s bring up some of the hottest of the “hot buttons.”
- Politics – political parties, presidential candidates, laws, measures, et. al
- Religion – specific faiths, practices, beliefs
- Gun Violence – 2nd Amendment rights, anti-gun advocates, laws, screenings
- Gender Identity – cisgender, transgender, non-binary, et. al
- Sexual Identity – heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, et. al
Have I Gotten Your Attention Now?
I know for 100% certainty that there is something on this very brief and inconclusive list that gets you fired up, that gets me fired up. So, let’s get back to my feathered friends getting a drink together.
Those birds all wanted the same primary driven need – hydration. The fact that they could do it together without incident and while they visited politely is the very example that we all need to pay attention to and follow.
If someone is different than me, does that make their needs and wants any less important? Of course not! And just because they’re different from me, does that mean that I’m better than they are? HA! Definitely not!
But, more importantly, just because everyone around me is different than myself that doesn’t mean they need to be like me. This means that I don’t try to change them. In fact, I don’t even mention it. I don’t tell them who to vote for, whether they should own a firearm, how to worship, what gender they should identify as and who they can have a sexual relationship with.
Personally, I would be very upset if someone was treating me in that manner. So, I’m not about to treat someone else that way. When, as a population, as groups of people, are we going to figure this out?
What makes someone else so right and someone else so wrong?
Ultimately, who decides what is right?
If something doesn’t directly affect me, and I mean directly (like preventing me from getting hydrated from that pool of water), then what gives me the right to tell someone else what they should or shouldn’t do? NOTHING! ZILCH! ZERO! NADA!
It’s so easy and natural to be nice, to smile, to extend a warm greeting to someone. It’s a hell of a lot more tiring to be hateful and angry all of the time. Let’s just go about being the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be and not concern ourselves with what everyone around us is doing!!
We have the power and ability to complement (and compliment) each other in a way that can ultimately affect the positivity of the health and well being of everyone on this planet. Why not choose tolerance, respect, acceptance, and equality? There’s nothing stopping us but ourselves!